By Elizabeth DiGennaro
Feb. 28, 2014. Five judges. Eleven Jamesville-DeWitt High School students. One title. This was Mr. J-D.
The highly anticipated pageant began at 7 p.m.. As students, teachers, and families took their seats, seniors and event emcees Maki Mandelis and Ryan Pike provided brief entertainment for the audience, discussing the various contestants and describing the evening’s Twitter feature. Throughout the event, Twitter users could tweet messages with the hashtag “#mrjd”, and have their thoughts read aloud to the audience. Many tweets were composed of shoutouts to the contestants or requests for Mandelis and Pike to complete. On the left side of the stage gathered the panel of judges, which included health teacher Melissa Moore, science teacher Nancy Raicht, science teacher Amy Boettger, science teacher Rich Adler, and student counselor Will Hartley.
At last, the lights dimmed and the curtain parted, revealing all 11 contestants clad in tight pink and black V-neck t-shirts, staged in various positions. Nominees included freshmen Gavin French, Hal Schulman, and Dayi Hu, sophomores Michael Plechtchinski, Jamie St. Amour, and Dylan Fleischman, juniors Ben Wipper, Brian Cieplicki, and Micah Lee, and seniors Jason Klaiber and Griffin Johnson. Music began, and the contestants proceeded to dance to a medley of songs including Justin Timberlake’s “Sexyback” and Aqua’s “Barbie Girl.” The hilarious choreography featured moves like twerking, running in a circle, and rolling on the floor.
After the opening song, the contestants introduced themselves, then changed for a runway walk. In this round of the competition, contestants strutted across the stage in their best beach wear. Although all the contestants put forth their most stylish ensembles, some of the most memorable outfits included Schulman’s flippers and scuba mask, Cieplicki’s tight black wet suit, and Johnson’s lifeguard outfit, complete with the whistle.
Next, the contestants participated in a question and answer round, led by Mandelis and Pike. The two emcees asked contestants anything from what they would do with a million dollars to where they would like to travel. Highlights from this round included Lee’s proclamation of his love for Canada and French’s confusion over various French items. For the fourth round of competition, contestants showed off their most fashionable formal wear. Generally, this included variations on a suit and tie.
For the fifth and final round, contestants each chose and performed a talent. This is where things got really interesting. French, St. Amour, and Fleishman all performed high-energy dance numbers. Hu rapped and danced to Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop,” complete with a long fur coat and entrance on a skateboard. Plechtchinski did a stand-up comedy routine, featuring an incomprehensible joke about a flight attendant and several delightfully offensive Beyoncé jokes. Wipper banged a cowbell in time to music, after his original routine failed due to a prop breaking. Cieplicki, dressed in a robe, successfully played and won a level of the game Clash of Clans, which was projected from his cell phone onto a screen for the audience to see. Klaiber did a hilarious Barack Obama impression, complete with political jokes and a rap. Lee performed “Mary Had A Little Lamb” on the recorder. In perhaps one of the most impressive acts of the evening, Schulman appeared as “the Great Haldini,” and enacted several magic tricks, including card tricks and number patterns. Lastly, Johnson dramatically performed the theme song from “Spongebob Squarepants,” as a slam poetry piece.
At the conclusion of the talent round, the judges were left to total the scores for each contestant and declare a winner. However, after totaling the points, a dilemma presented itself- Schulman and French, both freshmen, had tied for first place. In order to settle the dispute, the two engaged in a dance contest. This slightly raunchy dance was filled with twerking, grinding on belts, and pole dancing on the microphone stand. Ultimately, the judges voted, and Schulman was awarded the title of Mr. J-D.
In conclusion, the 2014 Mr. J-D pageant provided a night of fun and laughter. Hopefully, this tradition will continue on for years to come.