Mr. and Ms. West Linn contestants compete to earn money for a local charity

Bizarre costumes, showcases of extrinsic talents and fundraising are three things that come to mind about a quickly-approaching pageant hosted by West Linn High School.  This week-long event, titled “Mr. and Mrs. West Linn,” is a chance for the school to have fun and raise money for the Blue Butterfly Campaign, a charity aimed at finding a cure for acute myeloid leukemia.

Mr. and Ms. West Linn is a competition in which pairs of students, a boy and a girl, compete to raise the most amount of money and win the title.  The money comes from both ticket sales of the final show and from money collected by the students.

“[The Blue Butterfly Campaign] is a local charity that fights leukemia,” Butch Self, leadership teacher and associated student body adviser, said.  “A local family’s son died from this disease, so they’ve started a local foundation.”

Max Dearborn, who was nearly 10 years old at the time of his death and fought leukemia for seven months, is the person from whom the campaign is inspired by.  His family lives in West Linn and Sam Dearborn, freshman and Max’s younger brother, attends WLHS.  Michael Dearborn, another brother, graduated from WLHS in 2008.

The pageant will be composed of four parts.  In the week before the show, Nov. 26 to Nov. 30, students will dress in costumes and collect money.  On certain days of the week, the competitors will be dressed in costumes of one theme; for instance, Monday will be “Senior Citizen Day,” Wednesday “Spirit Day” and Friday “Decade Day.”

Most couples carry jars for donations, according to Self, but “that’s where their creativity will help them.  Usually the really big things they get is when they go out the community and solicit donations.”

On Dec. 1, the day of the show, the couples will display a talent of choice and special clothing.  Judges, who will include members of the family that began the Blue Butterfly campaign, will be present to assess each category.

Last year’s show saw attendance of 200 to 300 people, according to Self, and almost $6000 was raised.

“[The competition] is totally for fun,” Self said. “I guess they get to have the title of “Mr. and Mrs. West Linn” for 2012, but it’s more about raising money for leukemia.”

This year, 20 students have signed up for the competition, most of whom are upperclassmen.  According to Self, efforts were made to recruit from all grade levels.

Upperclassmen are more likely to sign up for the pageant “because they’re more social,” Ryan Lonsway, junior, said.  “As a sophomore and freshman you’re still awkward.  As you get older you expand outward.”

Only last year was the competition switched from “Mr. West Linn” to open the pageant to both genders.

“We chose to make it a Mr. and Ms. thing just to get more people involved and to change things,” Self said.