Merry Christmas candidates raise $19K

Wednesday, December 27, 2017
The 2017 Miss Merry Christmas candidates were, front row, from left, Jordyn Stafford, Hannah Kelley, Clara Hermansen and Kennedy Parnell. Back row: Drake Reese, Coleman Hoppes, Justin James and Jarrod Wallace. A coronation ceremony was held Thursday at Cassville High School. At the conclusion of the program, which lasted several weeks, the candidates collected $19,000 in donations, every cent of which will go to support the Share Your Christmas program, which benefits local families in need. Contributed photo

The Mr. and Miss Merry Christmas program concluded on Thursday with a coronation ceremony assembly, hosted by the Cassville Student Council.

The 2017 candidates collectively raised $19,000, which will be donated to the Share Your Christmas organization. While the candidates are initially nominated based on certain criteria, the Merry Christmas program isn't about students being recognized for external circumstances such as grades, school accomplishments, merit, or appearance, but for putting in sweat equity and sacrificing their own time to help others.

The candidates worked for several weeks to collect donations for the Share Your Christmas program, which provides Christmas gifts and needed items to local families in need, including ensuring local underprivileged youngsters have a few Christmas gifts under the tree.

Cassville Assistant Superintendent Jill LeCompte, left, Clara Hermansen, 2017 Miss Merry Christmas, and Justin James, 2017 Mr. Merry Christmas, hold a check for $19,000, all of which will go to support the Share Your Christmas program, which benefits local residents by providing Christmas gifts and needed items to families in need. Contributed photo

The Mr. Merry Christmas candidate who collected the most money for the program was Justin James, and the Miss Merry Christmas candidate who collected the most money was Clara Hermansen.

The ceremony began with a presentation of the candidates.

Freshmen candidates were:

Drake Reese, son of Stacy Farris of Cassville. Reese is involved in basketball, football, and baseball. He was escorted by Andie Roper, daughter of Josh and Sarah Roper of Eagle Rock; Jordyn Stafford, daughter of Ron and Rhonda Stafford of Cassville. Stafford is involved in FCCLA, Student Council, Mask and Gavel, FCA, SADD, Cross Country, Basketball, Track and Soccer. She was escorted by Austin Wilson, son of Justin and Tammy Wilson of Wheaton. †

Sophomore candidates were:

Jarrod Wallace, son of Gary Wallace of Cassville. Wallace is involved in basketball, baseball, band, show choir band, recycling club, game club and church band. He was being escorted by Megan Sloan, daughter of Suzanne Sloan of Cassville; Kennedy Parnell, daughter of Suzy and Lance Parnell of Cassville. Parnell is involved in track, volleyball, FBLA, FCA, Student Council, and Interact. She was being escorted by Dalton OíNeill, son of Jake and Jennifer OíNeill of Cassville. †

Junior candidates were:

Justin James, son of Jerry and Shelli James of Cassville. James is involved in Interact and FBLA.†He was escorted by Morgan Popanz, son of Kristin and Gerald Houston and James Popanz of Cassville; Clara Hermansen, daughter of Wade and Christy Hermansen of Cassville. Hermansen is involved in Student Council, FBLA, and Interact. She was escorted by Drew Speakman, son of Todd Speakman of Butterfield and Lorie Speakman of Cassville.

Senior candidates were:

Coleman Hoppes, son of Todd and Emma Hoppes of Cassville. Hoppes is involved in FCCLA, Student Council, Show Choir and FTA. He was escorted by Yesenia Aguinaga, daughter of Diana Valenzuela of Cassville; Hannah Kelley, daughter of Danny and Renee Kelly of Cassville. Kelley is involved in FCCLA, National Honor Society, Youth Advisory Board, Student Council, Tomorrow's Leaders Today, Recycle Club, Knowledge Bowl, Marching Band, Concert Band and Pep Band. She was escorted by Quentin Steinman, son of David and Kim Steinman of Shell Knob. †

Madisyn Popanz, 2016 Miss Merry Christmas, and Payton Varner, 2016 Mr. Merry Christmas, were present to help crown this year's recipients. The Council thanks Tomblinís Jewelry and Gifts, and Jewelers of America, which donating the queen's crown.

Jill LeCompte, assistant superintendent for the district, shared a presentation about the Share Your Christmas program.

The following early graduates were also recognized at the assembly, which included: Alexis Campbell, Kaylee Coursey, Sarah Field, Rylee Healey, Danielle Krauth and Dominic Wilderbuer.

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