Roodarnley Pierre-Louis crowned Mr. Western in return of competition


Vicki Wright

After a year-long hiatus, seniors once again got to compete again for the title of Mr. Western on Feb. 17 in the auditorium.

Students and families gathered on February 17 to watch ten teams battle for the coveted title of Mr. Western. The title is given to the male contestants who are paired up with a partner. The show is divided into an introduction, a talent, formal wear and a swimwear section. Students must choose their own talent and perform skits that will entertain the crowd and earn themselves the top spot from the judges. 

To earn the most points, contestants must score high in each section of the show, which is scored through a panel of judges. The panel consisted of teachers Derek Hicks, Ida Williams, Michael Levinson, Stephanie Keen and Gina Cory, who were tasked with evaluating each portion of the show based on a ten point scale. To win the top spot, each team has to pass the first elimination round to reach the top three. From there, the teams have a second and final elimination round.

Each team, made up of a contestant and escort, had their assigned colors and their own team T-shirts to sell and promote the show and garner support for their group: 

Frankie Ferrer and Avery Boos – Lavender

Yannai Michael and Alayna Fernandez – Red 

Jacob Pamplin and Maribel Quintos – Sage Green

Roodarnley Pierre-Louis and Ariana Samsam – Burgundy

Dai Nguyen – Orange 

Daniel Rios and Ophilea Abidoye – Purple

Jared Scott and Heather Peart – Sky Blue 

Marc Zavaro and Sofie Lara – Navy Blue

Nick Lawden and Megan Pratt – Light Pink

Cole Sargent and Judy Boza – Hot Pink 

To determine each team, it was a mutual decision between contestants and escorts with whom they wanted to be partnered. For the winner, Roodarnley Pierre-Louis, the teamwork and comfortability with his escort were critical for the performance. 

“Ariana was amazing. The second I heard she wanted to be my escort, I jumped on the opportunity because I felt comfortable being myself around her. I think that’s such a big thing for an escort because they’re the person supporting you,” Pierre-Louis said. 

Along with the contestant and escort’s teams were hosts Lily Cring and Dylan Farrie, who led the show on stage and asked the final surprise questions of the top three to determine the winner. Joining Pierre-Louis in the top three were Jacob Pamplin and Daniel Rios, and the final decision was a close call and a surprise for even Mr. Western himself. 

“I think a lot of people voted and even the judges voted for Sage Green. I loved their performance. I have so much respect for Pamplin, so I was very shocked,” Pierre-Louis said. 

As well as a performance and pageant, the show doubled as a charity event. The announcement of the winner also included where the money from the T-shirt and ticket sales would go. It was decided it would go to families from the school and the money would be allocated by the guidance department to those who are in need in the community. 

“Typically in Mr. Western, they’ll try to support one family who had a tragedy that year, but over the last year and a half, there have been so many families, so that’s why we didn’t just look to support one family,” senior club sponsor Lisa Mastronardi said.

Mastronardi served as the senior class sponsor and oversaw the event. To support her, she had the aid of past sponsors like social studies teacher Karl Linhart to guide the process, as well as the essential help of her officers Natalie Landman, Skylar Skinner, Aryana Williams and Paris Pointville. 

The officers were critical in running the show, as they planned the rehearsal schedules, the skits, designed T-shirts, sold tickets, and made sure everyone was on task. They also had to handle all the hiccups that occurred during the production, one of which was a school-wide blackout that postponed auditions until January. 

“We had to plan the show in like a month,” senior class president Natalie Landman said.

Auditions were pushed from December 13 to January 3 and led to less time for rehearsals, which put more pressure on the cast and stage crew to know their performances. On top of the time constraints, officers had to handle the task of designing a show that hadn’t been held for a year. Usually students have the previous Mr. Western to look back on to help plan, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, they were starting from scratch. 

“We are changing things every practice, and sometimes it gets frustrating for the teams, but us officers are learning with them so it is a learning process for the whole entire cast,” Landman said. 

However, with all the obstacles the Mr. Western team faced, the show pulled in a full house.

“We were not feeling well-rehearsed going into the night of that show, so when it pulled off the way it did, we were so thrilled, we were really happy, so it was a happy surprise for all of us,” Mastronardi said.