It’s seven months of non-stop action. It’s over a hundred thousand dollars for five local charities. For some, it’s the pinnacle of their high school experience. What is it? The Mr./Ms. Spartan program. For the next few months, the High-O-Scope will be providing you with the inside scoop on this year’s Mr./Ms. Spartan program. Each month, we’ll focus on a different aspect of the program, starting first with this year’s head coordinators: Nate Remcho, Tori Almond, and James Wilson.
Remcho, Almond and Wilson started off the season with pies — that is, a pie to the face for each of this year’s contestants. Next, it was time to choose the charities. In the end, they decided on five. Although the program has historically been focused on local charities, Remcho points out that they’re making a larger impact in the school this year because one of the charities, Yearbook Angels, provides yearbooks at a discount to underclassmen, and free to upperclassmen, who are on free/reduced lunch. “That was one way we really thought we could have a direct impact”, Remcho adds. The other charities include the ABC House (a child abuse support center), the Grace Center (an adult care center), the Mario Pastega House (a place for out-of-town patients to stay while traveling to Corvallis for medical care), and the Regional Cancer Center.
They also want to involve the school, by promoting school spirit and encouraging more students to participate in fundraising events. “We want to incorporate clubs and sports, so we can have more students coming to events”, says Almond. “We’re hoping Danceathon will be a way for people to come and just have fun.” Wilson adds on, “A lot of the time underclassmen don’t know what Mr./Ms. Spartan is — I didn’t.” When Almond was a freshman, she and some friends went to the pageant (the final event, which ends the program with a choreographed dance and a reveal of how much money the program raised): “We didn’t know what it was, in fact, we went to the rehearsal because a pageant sounded fun… We liked it so much that we bought tickets for the actual pageant the next day. Since then, I knew I wanted to be involved.”
Besides the biweekly meetings during mentoring, the head coordinators meet at lunch some days and are in constant communication. Although it’s a big time commitment, Remcho thinks it’s worth it. “It’s really cool to go from sitting in the back as a junior crew member to standing in the front as head coordinator.”
As fulfilling as it may be, it’s definitely a sacrifice. A volunteer event of this magnitude requires lots of time, effort, and heart. Wilson mentions that “it’s always a bit of constant stress in the back of your mind. There’s always something to do, it’s never one hundred percent done.” Almond adds, “We’re always in Spartan mode.”
Almond asserts that the program “is a really cool way to get people together that maybe wouldn’t have met otherwise.” Through the long hours spent at work days, stuffing letters and planning events, contestants inevitably become friends.
When you combine the lasting friendships with the work experience, and throw in tens of thousands of dollars for charity, you can see why this program is such a success for all involved.
Tune in next month for more about the charities this program is benefitting – and how that hard earned cash with be used.