By AMANDA DE MORAES and JULIE LAM
Who does not enjoy a pageant? Especially one with such entertaining contestants as the ones in running for Mr. MHS. On Feb. 7, 2013, the MHS senior class and the Maldonian Yearbook presented Mr. MHS as an upbeat and amusing event in hopes of raising money for the class and the Maldonian Club. Mr. MHS was a comical interpretation of an all male pageant in which 12 senior contestants went head to head to see what it takes to be crowned Mr. MHS. The 12 contestants included Jean Slyvain, Jonathan Drapinski, Valentine Banor , Matthew Nunez, Prayush Jack Pokharel, Lucas Silva, Prince Mukala, Chris Philius, Daniel Vo, James Hickey, Thuan Banh, and Simon Rogers. The event was hosted by the Maldonian Yearbook Advisor, James Valente and senior class officer, William Lombard. Each of these senior participated in the beachwear, casual attire, formal attire, talent, and teacher impersonation portion of the show hoping to convince the judges that they deserve to be Mr. MHS.
Mr. MHS is a fundraiser that was done by previous classes, used to fundraise for the senior prom as well as the Maldonian Yearbook. This pageant was a tradition back in the 1960’s and 1970’s, but due to an increased focus on Junior Varieties, it was placed on the back burner and ended up not occurring again until 2007. What sets Mr. MHS apart from other pageants is the fact that, according to Valente, it is “not judged solely on looks or talent. [The pageant] focuses on who is a good representation of Malden High School.” The pageant is not meant to be serious, and according to Valente, it never was. The purpose of the pageant is to raise money in a way that is both different and entertaining, for the audience as well as everyone involved. It was a group effort, and according to Banor, it all came together thanks to the help of the class advisors as well as senior class president and Blue and Gold member, Sharon Lee, who “makes the number 13 really mean something to [the seniors.]”
Unlike Junior Varieties, where each year the junior class has to start virtually from scratch, and think of their own idea, the “groundwork for Mr. MHS was always there,” stated Valente.Part of what made the pageant such a success was the diversity of the contestants. Each one was able to bring a unique part of themselves, which highlighted the true meaning of being a part of Malden High School. The contestants participated in several categories, some of the most memorable being the talent portion, teacher impersonations, and the Hot Seat. For impersonations, contestants picked a teacher or MHS staff member to impersonate. Those selected included math teacher Sara Jones, English teacher Sean Walsh, and physics teacher Brian Morrison. The Hot Seat portion, which was videotaped previously before the event, was played throughout the night. This allowed the audience to get to know some quirky information about each contestant. The talent portion was pretty much a free for all, so long as it was “appropriate,” according to Banor. One of the most notable performances was the talent portion performed by Drapinski, his own rendition of Beyonce’s “Single Ladies,” complete with a leotard, tights, and gold heels.
Banh stated, “60% of everything that was said and done on stage was improvised on the spot.” All 12 contestants and Valente made up their scripts as the event night went along. Beforehand, each contestant gathered and prepared weeks in advance, but the majority of the seniors’ talents were a mystery until the night of the event. The true beauty of Mr. MHS was that not even the contestants knew what the next person was going to say or do, which turned out to make it a lot more amusing. One thing that was interesting about Mr. MHS was that it was not rehearsed for weeks. Valente and the participants only rehearsed the opening of the show, the staging position, and also the videotaping of the Hot Seat portion. The contestants rehearsed the entire show only about 5 times in total.
The Mr. MHS contestants were accompanied by their escorts for each of the categories. They came out in matching colored t-shirts and the friendly relationships between all of the participants was easy to see, and made the show even more enjoyable. Yet another part which, indicated by the screams, the audience also seemed to enjoy were the three prom invitations made by contestants. These included Rogers asking senior and Blue and Gold member, Catherine Poirier, Jean Sylvain asking senior Stevie Klein and Vo asking sophomore Mandy Cheng.Before, not many of the contestants were planning participate, but James Hickey declared, “I wasn't really too concerned about being Mr. MHS if I'm honest. I just wanted to enter the competition because its senior year, it looked like a ridiculous way to spend a Thursday and I don't want to look back and wish I did it. That and I knew it would help the senior class raise money for prom.” Inspite of the overwhelming pressure to perform in front of the whole school, these contestants made the courageous decision to act in outrageous performances for an amazing cause. Rogers expressed that, “everybody is so unique, so talented, so beautiful, and through our work and devotion, the class of 2013 acts like a sort of role model to all those who are newcomers to the school and have yet to show who they are.”