Last week, ten seniors from Old Rochester Regional High School took the stage to battle for the title of Mr. ORR to the amusement of their peers.
The Mr. ORR competition is a yearly event where boys from the senior class compete in a parody beauty pageant for the honor of representing Old Rochester Regional in their final month of school. Students from every grade filled the auditorium nearly 15 minutes before the start in order to grab a good seat to hear the jokes and roasts that were sure to come.
The event began with the night’s emcee, Drama Director Paul Sardinha, being pulled onstage on a giant seashell float dressed as the little mermaid, Ariel. After several jokes, Sardinha introduced the ten contestants as they strutted through the aisles to reach the stage and perform a (mostly) choreographed dance to a mix of pop music.
Although the seniors participating are widely known throughout the student body, Sardinha read a short and humorous autobiography written by each boy as they individually presented their ‘casual wear’ to the audience.
First was Jonathan Kvilhaug, who sashayed out in one of the camel outfits from the high school’s drama production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. He was followed by class clown winner Andrew Bichsel proudly wearing a Cavaliers jersey, who said he “enjoys driving his car very safely.”
Next was Eli Spevack wearing a shirt and shorts on top of a giraffe costume. “He hasn’t done his stats homework, so if someone’s done numbers one through ten, he needs it tonight,” Sardinha read from his biography.
Adam Perkins followed, wearing a robe, shirt, and pants covered with the Superman symbol.
Dylan McCoog’s nicknames were the main feature of his introduction as areas of the audience called out “Coog” and Sardinha listed off “Cougar” and “Coogie” as alternatives.
Jacob Spevack rode a scooter onstage while wearing a cowboy hat. “His shoulders are a little sore from carrying the entire boys’ cross country team to the finals this fall,” Sardinha quipped.
Chris Norton wore only a towel around his waist, a foreshadowing of his talent event of “synchronized swimming” that he would perform later on.
Jacob Cafarella was met with cheers for wearing his grocery store work clothes as his casual outfit. “Jacob will be attending Little People’s College next year,”Sardinha joked, drawing laughter.
Jon Harris was introduced with an initially confusing yet comical statement: “Jon was born on February 30, 1995.” The amusement grew as Sardinha continued, adding, “Jon is often referred to as the ‘bearded wonder’ and can be found at the track running very slowly.”
Last was Will Hopkins, who pranced onstage in a costume that made it appear like he was riding a unicorn. “Will Hopkins was born, and now he’s here,” Sardinha summarized.
The talent portion of the competition took place next. “For the talent portion of the evening, we apologize, but they’re going to do it anyways,” Sardinha teased.
Chris Norton began with a faux synchronized swimming routine where he and three classmates jumped over a blue tarp held up between the stage curtains to simulate jumping into a pool. The four swimmers did flying dolphin-like jumps from offstage to “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies,” ending with Chris rising between his encircled friends to squirt water from his mouth like a fountain.
Not to be outdone, Will Hopkins displayed a set of amazing balancing feats. The senior first balanced a broom on his nose while he rode a RipStik skateboard, and then he balanced it on top of the broom (which was still perched on his nose). Hopkins also balanced a four-legged stool and 15-foot long pole on his nose before finishing with balancing a metal table on his chin.
Dylan McCoog followed with an original rap chronicling his high school life. The audience clapped and cheered along to show their approval, with several lines drawing a significant amount of applause. “In the hallways, Bill was stopping me, like ‘Hey, where are you supposed to be?’” and “Teachers say, ‘These underclassmen look up to you,’ I said I don’t know if you want them to” were two of the best received lines from the rap.
Eli Spevack acted out the famous CPR scene from the NBC show “The Office” with the aid of several classmates, and Jonathan Kvilhaug sang “Midnight Train to Georgia” with a pianist and backup singers.
Andrew Bichsel and Jacob Cafarella performed a comedic magic show, filled with a number of familiar clichés: Cafarella tossed a bell offstage to pretend it had disappeared behind a cloth and they asked if a classmate had a nine of diamonds card when it was really a five of clubs. The two finally caused a classmate to ‘teleport’ to the back of the auditorium.
“You all may think Eli is the track star, but I am even better,” Jacob Spevack said to introduce his talent of hurdling before theatrically racing against a member of the track team over 1-foot high hurdles.
Adam Perkins dramatically played the recorder under multi-colored strobe lights, while Jon Harris sang “whether you want him to or not” to the song “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You.” Harris ended the piece with a ‘promposal’ to Elise Parker, who accepted.
The formal wear portion of the event was simple in comparison to the preceding acts. Each contestant was escorted out by a companion also dressed formally. One highlight of the section was when Will Hopkins was escorted not only by fellow classmate Riley Shaughnessy but also history teacher and basketball coach Steve Carvalho.
The question and answer section followed a simple format as well, with each senior being asked two questions. Many of the responses involved student body jokes; for instance, when Andrew Bichsel was asked what he would do if he was principal for the day, he replied, “Serve popcorn chicken for lunch.” His reply drew a loud cheer from the audience of students. A memorable moment from the section was yet another promposal as Jonathan Kvilhaug asked exchange student Garam Darwish to the senior dance; she said yes as well.
After a karaoke performance by each contestant, it was time for Sardinha to announce the winners. Jonathan Kvilhaug walked away with the Mr. ORR title and crown and the audience favorite award, while Jacob Cafarella was first runner-up.
By Jo Caynon