Football star crowned 'Mr. Doernbecher' for fundraiser
After months of fundraising, busting a move for hundreds of people and a personal interview, Talati Polamalu was crowned "Mr. Doernbecher."
The title is bestowed not only for the chosen senior boy's talent as displayed in the pageant, but for their dedication to the cause of raising money for Doernbecher Children's Hospital.
Polamalu was close behind Mr. Money Bags winner Tyler Yarnell, with around $1,000 raised.
"I was proud of how much I raised for Doernbecher," Polamalu told The Post. "I was also kind of shocked (I won). There were a lot of boys I thought deserved to win."
Polamalu was also one of few contestants over the years to win two titles, also being named Mr. Congeniality, an award voted on by his fellow contestants.
"Everybody was really supportive," he added.
Fittingly, Polamalu said his favorite part of participating in the fundraising effort was "getting to know the other guys."
"There were a lot of students I didn't really know before," he noted. "Hopefully they'll be friends now for the rest of my life."
He also appreciated the tour of Doernbecher he and his peers took earlier this year.
"They took us in this prayer room during the tour and we read a book written in by the parents of kids at Doernbecher," he said. "It was really touching. I think I was the only one totally bawling my eyes out. At that moment it kind of gave me a reason of why I was doing (this fundraiser)."
Polamalu will graduate from Sandy High in June, and plans to go on to pursue a degree in business or economics from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., where he's earned a full ride scholarship to play football. "I am interested in learning about being smart with money," Polamalu said. "I've taken business classes all through high school, (as well as) several other subjects. I think business was kind of my strong suit."
After school, Polamalu kept himself busy in his time at Sandy High, either with National Honor Society, baseball, tennis, football or wrestling.
"I try to stay busy," he explained. For that reason, and to keep philanthropy in his life, Polamalu said he plans to continue to volunteer into his college years.
To Sandy students who are considering participating in the Doernbecher pageant in the future, Polamalu said "Go out of your way and try it. If you're worried about making a fool of yourself, just remember it's for the kids."
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.