Mr. & Ms. Spartan 2017

Photo courtesy of @MrMsspartan1516.

This year’s contestants & events:

Head coordinators: Haley Wilson, Colleen Corrigan, and Hannah Whipple

Brad Stein & Laura Moon: Cake Auction
Taylor Hurley & Brandon Cruz: Pancake Feed
Talyn Carnes & Asha Lacossiere: Talent and Video Night
Claire Rondeau & Greg Gambatese: Hoop Jam
Ellie Belton & Sam Harris: Candy Grams/Work Days
Emily Maulshagen, Reve Cook, & Rasyida Wening: 5k/10k Rivalry Run
Jacob Brant & Laurel Nowak: Silent Auction
Nick Rolan & Livy Molitor: A Cappella Night
Claire Niemet & Nathan Campbell: Garage Sale
Georgia Hutzler & Aidan Hinkle: Rock n Jock
Ricky Carson & Kathryn Kang: Car Wash(es)
JR Crew: Dine Outs, Karaoke Nights, Charity Video
Tori Almond & Cassidy Donaldson: Treasurers
Hans Ellenson & Diana Gonzalez: Parents Night Out
Malia Allen & Emilio Magana: Dodgeball Tournament

Junior crew: Owen Shellhammer, Hailey Kellison, Nate Remcho, James Wilson, Lauren Arthenayake, Matthew Gradwohl, Tori Almond, Caleigh Paup

The annual Mr./Ms. Spartan campaign is off to a running start, with several events already done and many more waiting to happen. But what exactly is Mr./Ms. Spartan? “I knew that it was a program full of high school students that was designed to make money for charity”, mentioned senior Brandon Cruz, one of about forty participants in this year’s program. Laurel Nowak, another participant, gets a little more specific. I knew that it was a five month long philanthropy program that high school seniors basically ran to raise money for amazing charities”, she says. Taylor Hurley says that due to the huge time commitment, she didn’t think she was going to do Mr./Ms. Spartan until just three weeks before the application deadline. Others were more certain, like Nowak, who has been attending the final pageant since her freshman year. However, some have been wanting to be a part of the program for since they were little. Cruz explained, “When I was in the fourth grade, I attended the pageant and watched one of my peers that I knew via the swim team perform. I thought the event looked like a lot of fun and have wanted to do it ever since.”

Colleen Corrigan, Haley Wilson, and Hannah Whipple are this year’s head coordinators (for a complete list of contestants look under this story). The head coordinators put in enormous amounts of work, attest Corrigan and Whipple. Corrigan estimated they put in about 12-15 hours a week, “a number that will inevitably climb higher in February and March.” Whipple added, “during pageant week no one leaves the school until 8pm!” Luckily, they’re well prepared, as this is their second year on the team. Last year as Junior Crew members, they had the opportunity to connect with senior participants and learn the ins and outs of the program. Corrigan said, “I learned to work with businesses and professionals… I have already refined many of my leadership skills.” Whipple agreed. “We know so much more than we did last year.” Junior Crew was “undoubtedly the most important preparation” that Corrigan, Wilson, and Whipple have had for being Head Coordinators. Caleigh Paup, a current Junior Crew member, thinks “it’s been an amazing experience so far…  I was warned many many times about the work load, which definitely hit all at once.” As a leader of the program, Corrigan has gotten to work closely with individual participants, which she appreciates. Even though the participants are all seniors (ostensibly students that have known each other for many years), it’s a nice way to connect with everyone a last time before they all go on their separate paths out into the world. Whipple says that while the program is special because everyone is working towards raising money for the five charities they picked, “it’s also an opportunity for us to make bonds and connections with people during our last months of high school.”

The program has a $75,000 goal this year that they will most likely surpass, given recent statistics. The past few years at least the total has gone over $100k, and $123,903.65 was last year’s total. One of the charities they are donating is SAGE/Corvallis Environmental, which produces 3 tons of food each year. “Obviously Mr./Ms. Spartan is primarily focused on helping the Corvallis community, but many people overlook the fact that our efforts benefit the community at CHS as well”. For example, Corrigan states, “Many of our students probably depend on SAGE for some portion of their meals, whether they realize it or not!” Another charity, the Grace Center for Adult Day Services, provides daytime respite for caretakers of elderly patients with memory loss, Alzheimer’s, et cetera. “This year, we had several program members who were caretakers for their grandparents and Grace Center helped relieve some of the stress that accompanies the responsibility of looking after them.” Corrigan also mentions the work of ABC House, which provides support for over 3,500 youth victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence.  She added that, “due to confidentiality, there is no exact number of CHS students who benefit from those services, but it is safe to assume at least some students have relied on ABC House.” Many participants are eager to put on their events and participate in the final pageant, but they’re also just excited to continue to have fun with their classmates. Says Nowak, “I want to contribute to all aspects of the program to experience all the good that Mr./Ms. Spartan has to offer.”

The contestants are divided into pairs, like Cruz and Hurley, who are in charge of the pancake feed. Says Cruz, “Our event was originally scheduled for January 7th. Sadly, the day before the event, Corvallis was hit with a snow and ice storm and we had to cancel and reschedule the whole event.” However, he is still optimistic about turnout: “I am looking forward to running our event. We have sold a crazy number of tickets!” Hurley adds, “Brandon and I have been working hard to plan it for over a month now.” Corrigan hopes that this year will be even more successful than last. She loves getting to experience the program with so many of her classmates, and is striving to make the program less stressful for everyone involved. “I hope that we work to foster a positive relationship with our school and our community. [Mr./Ms. Spartan] is an immense amount of work, but [it] is the most rewarding kind of work… The whole experience is just incredibly humbling.”

Although the program raises lots of money for local charities, it is viewed by some students as rather elitist, since only 30-40 students in each student class, and just a handful of juniors, are involved. However, Corrigan views it differently. “The [application] process is so rigorous because we need to ensure that students can handle the extreme time commitment in terms of academics and behavior… This program keeps students on track when ‘senioritis’ hits or they lack a sense of purpose.” She argues that the program is so small because it requires substantial dedication, and most students just simply aren’t willing to sacrifice that much time (or haven’t shown that they will). Corrigan says that last year not one applicant was turned away. Plus, “when you consider 30 seniors in terms of each graduating class, about ten percent of the class has chosen to dedicate potentially hundreds of hours of their time to service— I think that’s pretty cool!” 

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