By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News
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PORT ANGELES — The fifth annual Benefit Talent Show and Auction at Port Angeles High School, which begins at 7 tonight, is hitting close to home for the students who organize it.
Students hope the talent show in the Port Angeles High auditorium, 304 E. Park Ave., will raise enough money to make a difference for the family of their own student body president, Ian Raphael, whose mother is undergoing breast cancer treatments.
Twenty-three acts signed up to compete for the winning trophy in the 2014 Benefit Talent Show.
There are student and community competitors, mostly bands and singers but also some variety acts, said Roisin Cowan-Kuist, secretary of the Associated Student Body, or ASB.
“They are pretty good this year,” Roisin said.
Tickets at the door
Tickets are available at the door: $8 per adult, $5 per student and $20 for a family of four.
A silent auction featuring gift baskets from area businesses will be held prior to the show.
Doors open at 6:15 p.m.
The Port Angeles High leadership class — the student government at Port Angeles High — has raised more than $20,000 to help community and staff members going through medical crises for the past four years.
Each year, the students select a family who is experiencing a health and financial challenge to be the beneficiary of the money earned from the event.
In the past they have included parents of former students and a district staff member.
This year, they found that one of their own was in need.
The class begins looking for a recipient in early November, Roisin said.
They began with about 20 candidates, then researched the needs of each, she said.
Then, they learned that Justine Raphael, mother of the ASB president, had been diagnosed with stage 4 inflammatory breast cancer.
The cancer is a rare and aggressive form of the disease.
After a class debate to narrow down the candidates, students selected Justine Raphael and a second family as co-recipients, Roisin said.
The other selectee turned down the students' offer, leaving Raphael as the 2014 recipient for the benefit.
Raphael is undergoing treatment locally and said she is optimistic about the future.
“We are excited to be able to support one of our own students' family. We know there are many families in need, so we hope we can make a difference for one,” said Dana Snell, adviser of the student group.
All proceeds from the show are donated to the designated recipient.
Expenses are paid by the ASB general fund, money raised by the students independent of the benefit, and are not reimbursed.
In the 2010 inaugural talent show, $12,000 was raised for Tammy Goodwin, a Sequim High School graduate and mother of two Port Angeles graduates.
Goodwin died March 14, 2010, at the age of 47 after a long battle with a sarcoma, a cancer of the soft tissue.
In 2011, the class selected Cornerstone Tabernacle Pastor Kevin Jones, who was undergoing treatment for an aneurism because of a genetic heart condition.
Jones and his family have since moved from the area.
The 2012 event raised more than $9,000 to help cancer survivor Camille Frazier, a Port Angeles para-educator.
Frazier currently is undergoing treatments to fight metastasized breast cancer.
In 2013, the leadership class selected Liz Romero, mother of five PAHS graduates.
Romero died Dec. 15, 2012, after a three-year battle with an aggressive brain tumor called a glioblastoma multiforme.
Students chose to hold the talent show benefit in her memory and donated the funds to her family.
For more information, email Snell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at email@example.com.