Rebels with a Cause

Last weekend, I photographed the Mr. TA Pageant for a Valley News photo page. The Thetford Academy event is a silly spoof of beauty pageants but is also a fundraiser to help Rwandan students receive a high school education. The fifth annual pageant rasied a record $6,400, enough to help 10 Rwandan students! Follow this link to see more work in the Photo Galleries section of the newspaper’s web site.

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From top: Thetford Academy junior Colombe Kayihura rehearses a traditional Rwandan dance with classmates during a rehearsal. The pageant is an annual fundraiser for Rwandan children’s education — an anonymous donor paid for Kayihura’s flight to the United States and she is spending the school year on campus; From left, seniors Reshma Rampersaud and Maggie Harlow, Kayihura and sophomores Owen Deffner and Aiden Cudhea (dressed as the Panther masot) laugh at one of the dance numbers during a rehearsal; Senior Noah Perry demonstrates his favorite dance move during the Meet the Contestants portion of the pageant. Perry’s escort, senior Hannah Harkins, is at right; Dressed as Melania Trump, Owen Deffner tells the same jokes his brother and fellow contestant Eamon Deffner told a few minutes before; Shirtless following the talent portion of the show, senior Mitchell Higgins, second from right, his dancers, from left, juniors Dylan Thorburn and Nick Moses and sophomore Aiden Cudhea and escort senior Reshma Rampersaud plead for cash votes. Audience members voted for contestants with donations to the Raise Rwanda charity, with $6,400 raised in donations and ticket sales; Junior Eli Kaliski reacts as classmate Gabrielle Curtis is named the winner of the Mr. TA Pageant. Started in 2011 as a spoof of beauty pageants to raise money for Rwandan children’s education, Curtis entered this year to spoof the spoof; Curtis is congratulated by friends on the stage after winning the pageant.

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