Thunder Pageant Returns!

After a two-year hiatus, ten Thunder pairs raised the second highest amount in Summit’s history for the Sparrow


Brooke Leggat, Co-Editor-in-Chief

After two years of virtual Thunder Pageant traditions, the annual fundraiser returned to normalcy on March 16th, 2022. Hitting the ground running in early November, ten elected senior pairs began fundraising efforts and participating in cherished traditions.

The event pairs with the non-profit organization: Sparrow Clubs USA, whose mission is to empower kids to help other children in medical need. Each year, Summit High School, in addition to other schools in the Bend-LaPine school district, selects a “sparrow” who will receive the amount raised by the pageant participants. This year, Ryder, a five-year-old boy with epilepsy, cerebral palsy and Eosinophilic Esophagitis (an allergic condition in the esophagus which makes it difficult to eat without a feeding tube), was selected. The pageant pair’s fundraising of around $55,000—the second-highest amount raised in Thunder Pageant’s history—will cover medical treatment and physical therapy costs for Ryder.

Before the pageant, each team organized fundraising events around town, be it Walt Reilly’s, Dutch Bros, MOD Pizza and several others.

“It was such an amazing experience to be able to work with our community to raise funds for such an amazing cause,” said Macy Pofahl, who tied for first place in the pageant. Pofahl and her partner Jake Seals raised nearly $25,000, the highest amount for the pageant this year.

“I feel so lucky to have been chosen to be part of this tradition,” Pofahl said. “The fundraising, dance practices, wake-up videos and weekly meetings were all such a great way to bond with my classmates and make a meaningful difference.”

Along with highlighting the contestant’s fundraising efforts, the pageant included a group dance—choreographed by Summit’s Dance Team captains, Paige Leonardo and Gretchen Marx—in addition to a talent show, Q & A and a compilation of wake-up videos.

The Summit dance captains donated an incredible amount of time towards shaping up the iconic group dance.

“It took us a little over a month,” Marx said. “It was a lot of time for Paige and me to choreograph, but it wasn’t anything new or difficult for us since we organized our dance team performances.”

After two years, the auditorium filled at half-capacity ushered excitement and support for the Thunder Pageant’s return. Overwhelming generosity from the Bend community and hard work from all of the thunder contestants made this year’s pageant one to remember.

“I’m so excited that we could see the Thunder Pageant this year,” said Erica Mortland, a summit senior and pageant spectator. “It’s amazing to see a full house and all of the support for Ryder.”