Mardi Gras royalty crowned; education wins

By Vicki Hyatt | Mar 02, 2014
Dr. John Highsmith and Niki Henry were crowned Mardi Gras 2014 king and queen.

The sixth annual Mardi Gras Ball sponsored by the Haywood County Schools Foundation hit a milestone.

A total of $55,639 was raised from ticket sales and funds contributed this this year’s king and queen candidates. It was an amount that pushed the fundraising event past the $200,000 mark in its efforts to raise scholarship funds and other support for the Haywood County School system.

Dr. John Highsmith, a dentist in Clyde, was crowned as this year’s king of the ball, and Niki Henry with Old Town Bank was crowned the 2014 Mardi Gras queen.

One of the evening’s highlights was the processionals of the king and queen candidates.

Canton resident Travis Hyatt, who works with MB Haynes Corporation, danced in to a Jimmy Buffet tune. Noralyn Grindstaff with Champion Credit Union was a fairy queen and was accompanied by a troupe of dancing fairies.

Jason Greene, owner of Home Specialty Building Supply, clogged his way to the stage. He was accompanied by a group of cloggers and dubbed himself the “working man’s candidate.”

Henry, who coaches the cheerleaders at Bethel Middle School, was the queen cheerleader and was accompanied by her team which did backflips across the floor and formed pyramids in support of their coach.

Highsmith, who also is board chairman for Haywood Arts Regional Theater, was supported by family members and friends in a “King Authur” spoof that left the crowd all smiles.

The Haywood County Schools Foundation not only provides scholarships to students, but offers grants to teachers who want to offer extra classroom projects, provides tokens of appreciation at Christmas to school system employees who have certain career anniversaries, provides Christmas gifts for needy students and helps the school system in other ways as needed.

Funds come from fund-raising events, bequeaths and other donations.