When Mister and Miss EVIT were announced Saturday at the East Valley Institute of Technology, it wasn’t your usual crowning of a high school king and queen.
Instead, the winners of this contest were the students who raised the most money for the Mesa United Way.
About $4,300 was raised by Mister and Miss EVIT contestants, with two morning students and two afternoon students from the Dr. A. Keith Crandell (Main) Campus and the East Campus raising the most money to earn the crowns and titles.
“We as educators are educating the whole student, and part of that education is helping them find their place in the community where they can give back,” said EVIT Superintendent Sally Downey. “We’re trying to lead them in that direction where they realize that giving back is important.”
Mister EVIT winners included Benjamin Wilson, Sequoia Academics & Arts senior; Shea Ressa, Chandler High School senior; Ty Harada, Red Mountain High School senior; and Carlos Alexander Rodriguez, Perry High School junior. Miss EVIT winners included Courtney Clardy, home-schooled senior; Shelby Cooper, Mountain Pointe High School junior; Leanna Draper, Freedom Christian Academy junior; and Bailey Guthrie, Perry junior.
The crowning took place at the conclusion of EVIT Expo 2013, which featured a variety of events and exhibits to showcase more than 35 of EVIT’s vocational training programs.
EVIT has been recognized nationally as a leading career and technical school that prepares students for college or jobs after high school. But beyond teaching students to repair diesel engines or prepare a culinary feast, EVIT also tries to instill in young people a sense of caring about their broader community.
That’s where the annual Mister and Miss EVIT contest comes in. Students can be nominated by a teacher or classmate, or through self-nomination. They turn in applications, and from there, the candidates are selected. Then in the days leading up to the EVIT Expo, each candidate raises money for the Mesa United Way by getting the school community to give to their donation jars.
“This is such a special event and we so look forward to being there to be part of it,” said Linda Haskell, vice president of resource development for the Mesa United Way.
For more information on EVIT, visit www.evit.com.
CeCe Todd is a public information officer for the East Valley Institute of Technology and former journalist covering education issues in Arizona.