Union among many high schools that hold charity events

Talent shows and tournaments are just some of the ways local schools find creative ways to raise money

CAMAS — Kaitlyn Milliken went to school a little earlier than the norm three times this week, placed her electric griddles in a strategic location, started making breakfast, and waited for the crowd to arrive.

Technically, she was giving away free pancakes at Union High School.

Kaitlyn Milliken proudly displays her (Miss)ter Union sash as she makes more pancakes Thursday morning at Union High School. Milliken asked for donations “for the babies” as the (Miss)ter Union Pageant raises funds for the neonatal intensive care unit at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center. Photo by Paul Valencia
Kaitlyn Milliken proudly displays her (Miss)ter Union sash as she makes more pancakes Thursday morning at Union High School. Milliken asked for donations “for the babies” as the (Miss)ter Union Pageant raises funds for the neonatal intensive care unit at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center. Photo by Paul Valencia

But friends, teachers, and classmates were all very understanding about the meal and Milliken’s goal: This was another fundraiser as part of the (Miss)ter Union project.

The donation jar quickly filled up each day, and more money was raised for (Miss)ter Union’s charity: the neonatal intensive care unit at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center.

“For personal reasons, I love doing this stuff,” said Milliken, a junior. “I really enjoy giving back.”

The (Miss)ter Union pageant is Saturday night at the school, and it is just one of several charity fundraisers put on by local schools throughout Southwest Washington.

Among other examples:

  • At Columbia River, the Mr/Miss CR Pageant had another successful campaign. Since its inception in 2004, the event has now raised more than $1 million. The Mr. Hudson’s Bay event started in 1994. Both of those schools raise funds for Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.
  • Heritage High School is having an interesting fundraiser Friday night in its gym: A huge Corn-hole Toss tournament. It is an effort to raise awareness for the autistic population in Clark County.
  • Also Friday, Ridgefield High School will present its “Studball” tournament, featuring boys volleyball teams from throughout the region. Ridgefield’s charity is Compassion 360.
  • At Mr. and Ms. Skyview, most of the proceeds go to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
  • Camas basketball players collected eyewear for the Lions Club this winter.
  • The Thunder Pageant is set for April 11 at Mountain View, with funds going to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
  • La Center High School has a number of events throughout the school year.

The (Miss)ter Union event concludes Saturday night at one final fundraiser: the talent show. Milliken plans on playing a medley of Star Wars music on the piano while two friends square off in a lightsaber duel.

The winner of (Miss)ter Union is the student who raises the most funds.

“It is a competition, but it doesn’t feel like a competition,” Milliken said. “We support each other. We go to everyone else’s fundraisers.”
At Union, the pageant is for juniors. But the whole school can get involved.

Thursday, at the pancake feed, sophomores Katie Boda and Lucas Horowitz along with senior Gabe Rodgers were there to help Milliken. Boda and Horowitz might be contestants next year. Rodgers did it last year. Rodgers said it was an experience he will remember for the rest of his life.

Kaitlyn Milliken, right, one of 15 contestants this year for (Miss)ter Union. However, it really is a school-wide event, a large group effort for this charity fundraiser. Senior Gabe Rodgers, left, was a contestant last year. And sophomores Lucas Horowitz and Katie Boda, helped Milliken with her pancake drive Thursday morning. Photo by Paul Valencia
Kaitlyn Milliken, right, one of 15 contestants this year for (Miss)ter Union. However, it really is a school-wide event, a large group effort for this charity fundraiser. Senior Gabe Rodgers, left, was a contestant last year. And sophomores Lucas Horowitz and Katie Boda, helped Milliken with her pancake drive Thursday morning. Photo by Paul Valencia

Besides pancakes, Milliken held a special night at a Wendy’s restaurant, went door-to-door asking for donations, and also contacted local businesses.

It is not easy, she said, getting out of one’s comfort zone in order to ask for money. It is for a great cause, she said, plus those skills, of meeting new people, help students in the long run, too.

Among the other fundraisers by the 15 candidates for (Miss)ter Union: T-shirts designed and sold; a “Meet Santa” babysitting service during the Christmas break; a dance competition, a tennis tournament, and a table tennis tournament.

“It makes me proud they are giving of themselves for people they have never met,” said Brittany Goff, the advisor for (Miss)ter Union. “Our culture of our community is to give.”

Brittany Goff, the adviser for the (Miss)ter Union Pageant, poses with her son Henry as they took advantage of the pancakes made by contestant Kaitlyn Milliken. The months-long event raises funds for charity. The pageant itself is Saturday at Union High School. Photo by Paul Valencia
Brittany Goff, the adviser for the (Miss)ter Union Pageant, poses with her son Henry as they took advantage of the pancakes made by contestant Kaitlyn Milliken. The months-long event raises funds for charity. The pageant itself is Saturday at Union High School. Photo by Paul Valencia

That can be said about a lot of schools, a lot of students throughout the region. And that is what should be celebrated. The (Miss)ter Union, the Mr/Miss CR, and other similar events are the norm these days around Clark County.

Here are a few notes from other events. (Note: This is not a full list, just some examples of the many, many different school-sponsored events.)

Mr. and Ms. Skyview:

“Most proceeds go to the Make-a-Wish Foundation. Kids plan and coordinate all their own fundraisers, as well as train and prepare for the pageant that signals the end of the fundraising efforts for the year,” according to adviser Amy Haynes. “They work so hard. Just this week, many of the contestants went to the airport to properly ‘send-off’ a kiddo who was taking a flight to his ‘wish.’ It’s a great opportunity.”

Studball at Ridgefield:

Boys volleyball teams from Woodland, Skyview, La Center, and Kalama will be involved this year.

“Charity events … encourage students and community members alike to support homegrown organizations as well as offer support to national and even international causes,” said Corynn Fiechtner, the adviser for Studball. “Charitable giving emphasizes the importance of community and responsible citizenship and reminds our young people – and us – to dedicate some of our many efforts to the nobility of causes greater than ourselves.”

Mr./Miss CR:

“Many of this year’s contestants have had siblings involved, and it’s a family effort to make it all happen,” said Marji Ruzicka, an associate principal at Columbia River. “We strive to instill the RIVER ideals (Respect, Integrity, Values, Excellence, and Responibility) and the Mr/Miss CR event is just one of the ways that we embody those in our efforts to give back to the community.”

Heritage Corn-Hole Bag Toss Tournament:

“At Heritage, we are always looking to connect with and give back to our community in creative ways,” said Erik Gonzalez, one of the advisers.

He noted that the student-athlete leadership group at the school came up with the idea. It costs money for each team and fans are asked to donate $1 to the event, taking place Friday at the Heritage gym. Proceeds will go to Autism Empowerment.

Mr. Hockinson:

The final event for this fundraiser is set for May 19. Proceeds to to the Pink Lemonade Project, which provides support for women and their families battling breast cancer.

Eyewear Collection Project at Camas:

The boys and girls basketball programs collected more than 300 pairs of eyewear, along with cleaning devices. The eyewear was then donated to the Lions Club.

“Next year we hope to carry the tradition, create shirts, and make this project district wide,” said Lisa Schneider, who helped the students with this first-year project.

La Center:

La Center has numerous charity events throughout the school year. Among the highlights: An all-district food drive in November, a present drive in December, and a collection of toys and other donations in order for children to have a place and supplies for arts and crafts in February.

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About The Author

Paul Valencia joins ClarkCountyToday.com after more than two decades of newspaper experience. He became the face of high school sports coverage in Clark County during his 17 years at The Columbian. Before moving to Vancouver, Paul worked at Oregon daily newspapers in Pendleton, Roseburg, and Salem. A graduate of David Douglas High School in Portland, Paul enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving three years as a soldier/journalist. He and his wife Jenny recently celebrated their 20th anniversary. They have a son who has a passion for karate and Minecraft. Paul’s hobbies include: Watching the Raiders play football, reading about the Raiders playing football, and waiting to watch and read about the Raiders playing football.

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