BOONE — The Mr. WHS show — a fundraiser that helps raise thousands of dollars every year for three local families in the form of a male beauty pageant — is marking its 20th annual event on Dec. 7.
Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m. at Watauga High School. Watauga High School’s Student Council states that the event sells out every year but may have tickets to sell at the door. To buy a ticket, visit bit.ly/MRWHS2019.
To celebrate the anniversary the theme this year is “Happy Birthday Mr. WHS”. The pageant was created in 2000 as a way to help raise money for Lan O’Loughlin — a science teacher and swim coach at Watauga High School. Each year Mr. WHS raises money for three local families in our community.
"The recipients are always very close to our hearts and mean a lot to this town," stated the Watauga High School Student Council.
The first show raised $4,000 and has grown since then, with last year’s show raising more than $21,000. This year’s goal is to raise more than $25,000.
In addition to the actual show, the student council also creates raffle baskets and silent auction items with donations from local businesses. All of the money raised from ticket sales and the raffle baskets goes directly to the recipient families. Additionally, all of the contestants as well as the members of the student council must each raise $200. The total amount of money raised by the show is split evenly among the three families.
"We’re looking forward to a great show this year and we’re excited to get to share this with our community," stated the student council. "If you want to witness a hilarious show with charming contestants and help to give back to our community, then Mr. WHS is the show for you."
The three recipients of funds raised through the event this year are Tracey Saunders, the Huffman family and the Trivette family.
Tracey Saunders has taught in Watauga County for 24 years. She was preparing for her final year of teaching fifth grade at Hardin Park when she received a breast cancer diagnosis in July 2019, according to the student council. The school stated that her doctors decided to first treat her with 12 weeks of chemotherapy, which will be followed by surgery in the late fall or early winter of 2019.
Saunders has taken a leave of absence from teaching to focus on her health. She has two sons that live in Boone and a granddaughter, Piper, who attends WHS as a freshman.
"Tracey is grateful for the community support she has received since her diagnosis," stated the student council.
Gray Huffman is a 22-year-old WHS alum. On Labor Day this year, Huffman was on the river in Todd tubing with his friends. On the ride back up to their vehicles, the driver hit a dip in the road which bounced Huffman off of the vehicle's tailgate and onto the road, according to the WHS student council. He sustained a traumatic brain injury and was flown to Johnson City Medical Center.
Huffman was in the ICU trauma center for 18 days and was then transferred to the Sticht Rehabilitation Center at Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem. Huffman has since returned home and is giving his brain time to heal while receiving out-patient therapy, according to the student council.
"With all of the love, prayers and support that Gray and his family have received from friends and family, he continues to get better every day," according to the student council.
Laneece Trivette is a 34-year old mother of four, and has been married to James Trivette for 13 years. Their children all attend Cove Creek School: Kimmy (Kindergarten), Lennie (second grade), Alyssa (fourth grade), and Cheyenne (eighth grade). In July 2019, doctors found a small mass was on Laneece Trivette's liver, according to the student council.
A biopsy indicated that the mass was malignant and had originated from the breast, the student council stated. Trivette was officially diagnosed with Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer on Aug. 9. The council stated that she is currently having weekly chemo treatments.