John Chirilla crowned Mr. Carson High
Mark Johnson, Carson High School physics teacher and master of ceremonies, kicked off the ninth-annual Mr. Carson High Pageant yelling into the microphone, “Are you ready for some beefcake?”
The screaming audience that packed the community center was not disappointed as scantily clad contestants paraded across the stage in competition for the title of Mr. Carson High.
“I love it,” said sophomore cheerleader Claire Ponn. “You get to watch the guys make fools of themselves and take their shirts off.”
Making a fool of himself was worth it in the end for Senior John Chirilla who was crowned Mr. Carson High.
Senior Ryan Costella was first runner-up and Jeff Johnson was second runner-up.
During the contest, Chirilla said he was not expecting to win.
“Nobody expects to win,” Chirilla said. “We all just came out here to have a good time.”
After being crowned he said nothing had changed.
“I feel the same,” he said. “Only my head’s heavier because of this crown.”
The high school’s cheerleaders sponsor the mock beauty pageant to raise money for uniforms and travel expenses. Try-outs were held for junior and senior boys and the top 11 competed in the actual pageant.
“The girls put a lot of work into it,” said Trish Stephenson, cheerleading coach.
She said the event raises between $4,000 and $4,500 per year.
The pageant is divided into three categories: talent, formal wear and interviews.
Talents ranged from a rap performance by contestant Jordan Payette to a whistling solo by contestant Arlo Schenk.
“When you walk out in front of 700 people, who all paid to see you, it makes you feel good,” said Johnson.
For some, the attention was a new thing.
“It’s not something that usually happens to you,” said Greg O’Neil. “You walk down the street and nobody says ‘hi’, then you’re in Mr. Carson High and everybody knows you.”
Dressed in tuxedos, the contestants answered various questions presented by former contestant Luke Watson.
“We get to see that these guys have brains as well as beauty,” Johnson said.
Chirilla was asked if he were a book, what would his cover read.
He responded, “I think it would have to be Mr. Carson High For Dummies.”
Throughout the program, musical and dance performances were staged by students and members of the community.
The winner received a full prom package, complete with a tuxedo, dinner and a limousine, Stephenson said. All other contestants received a variety of gifts such as coupons for a lube change.