Greek life granted wishes and benefited the lives of ill children on Feb. 7 when the first annual Pacific Greek Stars pageant fundraised more than $2,000 dollars to donate to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Sophomore Ashley McKenzie pitched the idea of a Greek pageant fundraiser to Phi Lambda Omicron sorority in early September and she and her sisters began what would prove to be a big undertaking and an even bigger success.
Between a tightly packed Taylor-Meade Auditorium, a $5 dollar cover charge and a generous donation from university President Lesley Hallick, the sorority was able to make a substantial donation to the foundation.
McKenzie said the sorority started out with a goal of $10,000 dollars but she considered the event a big success for its first year.
After battling it out in fitness, talent and interview portions, sophomore Bryce Fowler and freshman Stephanie Tommaso took first in the pageant by receiving cumulative high scores in each of the individual events.
The event didn’t go off without a hitch, with one competitor spraining his ankle and dropping out of the pageant the day of but McKenzie said sophomore Alpha Zeta member Tyler Wiprud volunteered to step in for his brother last minute.
“Tyler stepping in was huge for us,” McKenzie said. “I don’t think people realize how hard it was for him to do that so last minute; we were really grateful.”
Perhaps the biggest shock to the audience and to Hallick was when the male competitors ripped their shirts off during the fitness portion.
McKenzie said prior to the performance, Hallick asked if the strategic slits in their shirts were for style, not knowing what was to follow.
McKenzie said she was inspired to organize a Greek pageant after competing in a Distinguished Young Women pageant in high school. To negate the negative stereotype she feared a pageant might fall into, McKenzie decided to turn it into a more philanthropic event.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation was an easy choice because it hit so close to home for many of the girls. Senior Alice Heinz of the Delta Chi Delta sorority shared her personal story of having her wish granted to meet to open the event.
“My little sister has special needs so this charity is very important to me,” said McKenzie. “I think it hits home for a lot of Greek life here at Pacific.”
The event was such a hit that the Phi Lambda Omicron sorority decided to adopt the Make a Wish Foundation as their philanthropy and make Pacific Greek Stars a yearly fundraising effort.
“Next year it is going to be bigger and better now that we know what we need to do to make it a success,” McKenzie said.