Join Mardi Gras fun for education foundation

Feb 25, 2013

The Annual Haywood County Schools Foundation Mardi Gras Ball sponsored by Old Town Bank will be held at 6:30 p.m. this Saturday, March 2, at Laurel Ridge Country Club.

The fifth annual event is the largest fundraiser for the Haywood County Schools Foundation. The Mardi Gras Ball has helped raise more than $120,000 for the foundation over the years. Each year a king and queen are crowned at the event. The reigning king and queen are Jonathan Jorstad and Rhonda Schandevel.

Proceeds from the ball help the foundation raise money for student scholarships, needs in the classrooms of the 16 schools in the county and to retain highly qualified educators. Last year this event raised over $ 43,000. The foundation has been helping Haywood schools since 1984 and manages more than 65 scholarship funds. Last year more than $165,000 was awarded to 94 students.

The Mardi Gras Court consists of dedicated residents who are committed to assisting students, teachers, faculty and schools in Haywood County.

This year’s king and queen candidates are Beth Brown, Ellene Francis, Greg Boothroyd, Michael Sorrells and Scotty Setser. Brown is the owner of Beth Brown Photography and a vacation rental business in Maggie Valley. She serves on the STAR Ranch Board, the Haywood county Tourism Development Authority, co-chair of the Haywood Relay for Life and is a member of both local chambers of commerce and Haywood County Hotel-Motel Association.

Ellene Francis is co-owner of Francis Fruit Farm and is an active member of Francis Cove United Methodist Church where she teaches Sunday school. She is a member of the Waynesville Rotary Club and has served on the board of directors. Francis also volunteers as a Scout leader for the Boy Scouts of America and a Brownie leader for the Girl Scouts of America.

Boothroyd is part owner and advertising manager of The Smoky Mountain News and Smoky Mountain Living magazine. He is a member of the Waynesville Rotary Club, the Haywood County Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Waynesville Association.

Sorrells is a lifelong Haywood resident and graduated from Tuscola High School in 1974. He has been president of his family business Sorrells Merchandise Company since 1986. Sorrells served as a member of the Haywood County Board of Education and has served a president of the Tuscola Athletic Booster Club.

Setser also is a Haywood native and currently serves as the Director of MedWest Health and Fitness Center. In his spare time he works as a high school and college football official for the WNC Sports Officials and the South Atlantic Conference.

To make a donation to the foundation in the name of a candidate, contact Jenny Wood at 456-2400 or email

Formal attire is recommended (Coat and tie or cocktail dress acceptable). Tickets cost $100. Join the ball for an evening of fun, food and pageantry and dance.