ST. GEORGE — Pine View High School students and staff were feeling good Thursday afternoon as they held the 11th annual Mr./Miss PVHS competition and fundraiser on the school’s football field.
Originally started by the Health Occupation Students of America club and aimed at raising money for a family in the community facing a major medical challenge, the pageant is now organized by Pine View’s student council.
Over the course of the last 10 years, not including Thursday’s total, the school has raised over $142,000 that has been donated to a wide variety of families in need.
It is a tradition of support, encouragement and love that has been a hallmark at Pine View High School for over a decade, the event’s emcee, coach Todd Shaw, said.
This year’s recipient, 7-year-old Boston Gentry, was recently diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.
According to the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a “genetic disorder characterized by progressive muscle degeneration and weakness due to the alterations of a protein called dystrophin that helps keep muscle cells intact.”
Boston’s mom, Megan Gentry, a Pine View High School grad herself, described her son as very active and adventurous and said he likes riding bikes, going camping and especially loves hot sauce.
The disease, which has no cure, will eventually take his ability to walk.
“It is very daunting because he will lose ambulation,” Gentry said of her son.
Further information from the Muscular Dystrophy Association said the following about Duchenne muscular dystrophy:
Until relatively recently, boys with DMD usually did not survive much beyond their teen years. Thanks to advances in cardiac and respiratory care, life expectancy is increasing and many young adults with DMD attend college, have careers, get married, and have children. Survival into the early 30s is becoming more common than before.
The Gentry family arrived to the pageant in a Mercy Air helicopter and were welcomed to the field by the Pine View High cheerleaders and a roaring crowd of students and staff.
Student Body President Carter West said that in the weeks leading up to Thursday’s pageant, students representing various clubs and sports teams organized and participated in myriad fundraising efforts, including a “root beer mile,” youth track meet, a three-on-three basketball tournament, a silent auction and more.
Fundraising efforts accounted for 35% of the total competition score, and the seven students whose club or team raised the most money moved on to Thursday’s performance round where students competed in a talent competition, an activewear/school spirit competition and a question and answer round.
The seven students and organizations they represented are as follows:
- Hunter Edwards – football.
- Emily Lang – band.
- Aspyn Jensen – Future Farmers of America.
- Macie Larsen – cheer.
- Jason Lunt – cross country.
- Hyrum Draper – wrestling.
- Elijah Ward – student council.
The students displayed a variety of talent, from physical prowess through push-ups to sign language, comedic magic and cooking demonstrations, dance and instruments and a dramatic reading.
In the end, it was the student council that walked away with the win, but the real winners were Boston Gentry and his family.
In total, the school, with the help of the surrounding community, raised $43,060.23, which West said is a school record.
Gentry called her son’s diagnosis “overwhelming” but said she was grateful for the support.
“You think that you’re strong until something like this hits you, so it’s been wonderful to have everyone rally around and help lift us up,” she said.
It is something the students love to do and something West said unites the whole community.
“We get to be part of that. I think that’s just an awesome thing,” West said, adding that the world needs more of that kind of coming together.
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