The 2015 Mr. WHS competition brings diverse talents, sellout crowd


Photo by Rachel Marquardt.

The 2015 Mr. WHS competition took place on Jan. 22, featuring 11 contestants fighting for the crown in the annual fundraiser for Whitney High Student Media run exclusively by students in the program. Marcus Tejeda won the title of Mr. WHS, with Gabe Lasmarias as the First Runner-Up and Jonah Petty as the Second Runner-Up. Michael Binford walked away with the talent trophy for impressing the judges in the competition’s talent portion with an electric guitar performance.

This year’s show drew a sellout crowd to the theater, adding to the income gained from coin wars waged throughout the week for contestants to gain an edge in points before the night of the show. On average, the fundraiser usually draws in close to $2,600 dollars after operating costs.

In the front row, judges Mrs. Emilie Cavolt, Mr. Scott Collins, Mr. Jason Knowles and Mrs. Halley Crandell sat with a guest judge that was chosen at the beginning of each portion of the competition, scoring each of the 11 competitors on their performance in the group dance, their individual talents, style and answers to different questions. Talents ranged from hula-hooping, to cheerleading stunts, to magic and a wide range of musical and dancing performances.

“I like seeing kids that I teach, and ones that I don’t teach, really express themselves and come out of their shell a little bit,” Knowles said. “I see kids in class all the time that are really quiet, and then you see them come up here and all of the sudden they have this really awesome talent or this sparkling personality that doesn’t really come out in the classroom. So it’s nice to see kids express who they really are.”

The two MC’s for the night, Voice of Whitney Daniel Jones and Spirit Leader Andrew Gruber, introduced each participant and connected with the audience throughout the evening before announcing the results at the end of the show.

“It was a really interesting experience, because I’ve come to the dance shows and everything, and I didn’t really know how much went into MCing or how nerve wracking it would be having to do your own improv,” Gruber said, “But being able to do my own thing with Daniel, especially because we’re best friends, just makes it super fun.”

Even when the final results were read incorrectly, and Lasmarias was mistakenly crowned as the winner initially, Jones continued the show and corrected the mistake while maintaining a positive attitude.

“I really think this is the perfect environment, because even if things might go wrong, you just have to pick up the mic and go right back at it. I think entertaining people is really fun, and I hope I was able to accomplish that,” Jones said.

Zach Roberts, one of the contestants in the show, felt as though the show allowed him to exhibit unique sides of himself.

“A lot of people actually found out that I could sing today, which is definitely cool,” Roberts said, “[The competition] is definitely unique because it’s a pageant show for guys, which doesn’t really happen much, so it’s kinda cool to go out and just show yourself off to an audience.”

And Tejeda, the winner of the competition, felt as though the show gave him a unique opportunity to show off the different aspects of his personality.

“This competition is different from anything else I do, because you really get to highlight what and who you are. In something like sports, you just do it and you’re done. With something like this you can mix and match whatever makes you unique,” Tejeda said, “If you have a funny side, you can lean more towards comedy. If you’re serious, you can do a more serious act. You have a lot of flexibility as to what you can do. It’s just a lot of fun.”

Tejeda also elaborated on how the show affects his outlook on the other participants both on and off the stage.

“Of course you’re going to be throwing jabs at each other here and there, but it’s all out of fun,” Tejeda said. ”It was just good times with all of the guys backstage. We all got to know each other a little more, and we’ve all become friends through this whole process.”