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Mr. WHHS pageant makes double its fundraising goal

Pageant contestants exult on stage. [PAT SHRADER/Blue Ridge Expressions] Pageant contestants exult on stage. [PAT SHRADER/Blue Ridge Expressions]

The West Henderson High School DECA chapter doubled the fundraising goal when it hosted its inaugural Mr. WHHS Pageant on Saturday, May 6.

The pageant was held in honor of the Aidan Burnette and Sydney Bailey families. Students set a goal to raise $6,000 and exceeded their goal with a total of more than $13,000. Each contestant raised at least $100 to compete and the girls accompanying the boys in the pageant raised at least $50. That money, along with the generous donations of individuals and local businesses, helped make this year’s pageant successful.

The Mr. WHHS Pageant is an all-male pageant created to raise money for families within the Henderson County public school community that have suffered a great loss or are dealing with major medical issues. Families are nominated by employees in the Henderson County School system and voted on by members of the West Henderson High School DECA Chapter. Families are chosen based on need.

“I am blown away by the amount we were able to raise this year," marketing teacher and DECA Advisor Alison Garrett said. "I can’t thank our community enough for their generous donations to this event. Every student involved in this event worked hard to accomplish their goal. What makes this pageant extra special is that our students take control and shine. We had 25 boys compete for the first year of the pageant and the fact that they surpassed their goal by that much is just incredible.”

Mr. WHHS is a student-run event. Students are in charge backstage, choreograph the opening dance, write the script, create the programs, design t-shirts and posters, choose decorations, ask businesses for donations and run the show. The pageant is a fantastic way to showcase what students in our community are capable of when given the opportunity.

"Mr. WHHS was awesome," Braxton Miller, a junior and a pageant contestant, said. "I loved seeing everyone show up to support this event and having the families in the front row. It is the best thing I have ever been a part of in high school."

Sophomore contestant Roscoe Greene added: "Mr. WHHS was a great way to push myself out of my comfort zone and get involved in something I typically would not do. I have Mr. WHHS to thank for new friendships, new experiences and just an overall great time."

The theme was “Mr. WHHS: Party in the USA.” Contestants competed in two “wears” as well as a talent competition. The wears portion included contestants showcasing their favorite American Icon and their idea of a perfect date night. Talents ranged from crowd favorite original acts like “Beach Ball Ballet,” “Feliz Bottom Jeans,” to a rendition of John Denver’s “Country Roads,” and various other acts. The following contestants won award:

Mr. WHHS: Allen Bartley
People’s Choice: Allen Bartley
Mr. Sexy Legs: Baylor Barrett
Mr. Money Maker: Luke Atkins
Family’s Choice: Luke Atkins & Allen Bartley
Mr. Congeniality: Baylor Barrett
Top Five: Luke Atkins, Allen Bartley, Cooper Hughes, Jackson McCraw, Trey Whitaker

The winner of Mr. WHHS is voted on by four judges from the school system. This year's judges were April Bryson, Jackie Corn, Matthew Parent and Jessica Stepp. The pageant is student directed and run under the supervision of their teacher and advisor, Alison Garrett. This year, DECA member Ellory Johnson served as the backstage director. Caroline Frampton, Holden Hamlin, Cole Reasoner, Jaylen Robinson, and Olessya Wulfers acted as stage managers. Jackson Boughter, Braydn Ross, and Sophie Ruzich ran the sound and lights, while Linda Bryant, Olivia McCutcheon, and Eva Shin worked front-of-the-house and were responsible for the set design. DECA officer Naomi Cannon and Carson Cathey entertained the audience as the emcee’s for the evening. The opening dance was choreographed by Paityn and Cole Reasoner. The event t-shirts were designed by former DECA member Taylor Moser and printed by 1st Choice Graphics. The “Man Enough” and “Family Videos” were created by Caroline Frampton and Theron Rodriguez. Students in the WHHS DECA chapter members were in charge of planning the event.

The following students competed in the pageant along with their escorts:

Senior Contestants:
Luke Atkins escorted by Paityn Reasoner
Baylor Barrett escorted by Haley McIntyre
Allen Bartley escorted by LaShea Morlu
Grayson Barton escorted by Tatum Garrett
Cooper Hughes escorted by Presley Gonzales
Lukas Kachilo escorted by Emery Sprouse
Jackson McCraw escorted by Emily Delaney
Edgar Molina escorted by Tatum Brennan
Soren Onderdonk escorted by Elizabeth Creamer
Jason Tobe escorted by Ella Pickard
Carter Wingrove escorted by Lindsay Hall

Junior Contestants:
Jackson Lynn escorted by Mellany Garcia
Braxton Miller escorted by Mya Hembree
Blake Phillips escorted by Emma Bryson
Grant Putnam escorted by Riley Frazier
Cameron Steeves escorted by Taylor Mickey
Rourke Sullivan escorted by Sofia Rodriguez
Trey Whitaker escorted by Perci Moore

Sophomore Contestants:
Drew Chavez escorted by Lexy Mannon
Jake DeBiase escorted by Kaia Filipovic
Roscoe Greene escorted by Aubrey Garrett
Jack Klein escorted by Ariel Nolan
Neil Robinson escorted by Nyla Carroll
Tyson Sem escorted by Shyann Payne

Freshmen Contestant:
Brady Merrill escorted by Katelyn Day

The West Henderson High School DECA Chapter thanked the following businesses and organizations who donated financially, gave items to be included in raffle baskets or created raffle baskets: 1st Choice Graphics; Aloft Wireless; Appalachian Pinball Museum; Asheville Alternative Wellness Center; Atkinson Elementary School; Beverly Hanks Realty: Steve Dozier Group; Big Frog Custom T-Shirts & More; Blue Ridge Real Estate; Blue Ridge Expressions; Bruce Drysdale Elementary School; Chessman Leather Co.; Clear Creek Elementary School; Colken Realty; Dr. John Strickland, DDS; East Henderson High School; Edneyville Elementary School; Elijah Gem Mine; Etowah Elementary School; Excavating Unlimited; FFA; Flat Rock Elementary School; Glenn C. Marlow Elementary School; Hamlin Creative; Henderson County Career Academy; Henderson County Early College; Hendersonville Elementary School; Hendersonville High School; Hendersonville Middle School; Hendersonville YMCA; Hillandale Elementary School; Homestead; Hunter Nissan; Kilwins; Mills River Ace Hardware; North Henderson High School; OP Taylors; Postero; Razberry Threads; Rugby Middle School; Salon Studio 25; Searcy Custom Homes; Sherman’s Sports & Army Store; Studio 191 Salon; Sugarloaf Elementary School; Tempo Music; Upward Elementary School; West Henderson High School; Wild Ginger; Zen Hen.