Ashland High School showed the community its talent and its heart on Friday night.

The annual Mr. Grizzly Pageant raised more than $7,000 for the Children's Miracle Network at Rogue Valley Medical Center, according to pageant organizers.

In addition to benefiting local children in need and their families, the event also showcased the theatrical talents and commitment of Ashland High students.

Miguel Gonzales, Ryan Mills, Noah Slater, Nicolas Toll, William Bowers, Austin Raymond and Jayson Wilson danced, sang and even starred in short, tongue-in-cheek film biographies for the coveted title of Mr. Grizzly.

Toll, a junior, was crowned Mr. Grizzly. He was also one of the students credited with raising more than $1,000 for Children's Miracle Network on his own. He and his fellow contestants raised nearly $5,000 all together. The additional $2,000 came from community donations.

"It's a great event for a great cause," teacher and organizer Reed Sorenson said. "This pretty much exemplifies the culture of Ashland High School.

"All sorts of kids from all segments of campus come together and have a great time," he added.

The full-house crowd of students, parents and community members were exuberant in their response to both the seven young men performing and the heartwarming story the Rogue Valley's Fullenwider family told of their daughter's premature birth and the subsequent help they received from the Children's Miracle Network.

CMN is a nonprofit dedicated to saving and improving the lives of children in hospitals across North America.

With CMN's assistance, Rachel and Bill Fullenwider were able to bring their newborn daughter home from the hospital earlier than expected.

"They even gave us a special car seat for very small infants," Rachel Fullenwider said.

The couple's daughter, Madeleine, now 4 years old, was on stage with them.

"She loves to ride her bike, sing, swim and dance &

all the fun things a 4-year-old likes to do," Rachel Fullenwider said. — — — — — — — — Austin Raymond, right, sang while his assistant waxed his leg during the Talent competition at the Mr. Grizzly pageant on Friday.