Arts & Entertainment

Jason Biss is Crowned Mr. Spotswood 2016

Milltown's Jason Biss is crowned Mr. Spotswood 2016. Credits: Dawn Miller
Robby Nason, the first runner-up, and Jason Biss wait for the winner of Mr. Spotswood 2016 to be announced. Credits: Dawn Miller
The 12 contestants in Mr. Spotswood 2016 perform in the opening number. Credits: Dawn Miller
Lou Vacca is Ursula the Sea Witch in the Mr. Magic Kingdom portion of Mr. Spotswood 2016. Credits: Dawn Miller
Joe Hayford threw Hershey kisses into the crowd during the Celebrity Imposter portion of Mr. Spotswood 2016. Credits: Dawn Miller
Ryan Frost told jokes to the crowd during the talent competition. Credits: Dawn Miller

SPOTSWOOD, NJ - Beast was the word at Spotswood High School last night as the 15th annual Mr. Spotswood 2016 hit the stage of the cafetorium. This extremely popular senior class fundraiser is the brainchild of Spotswood High School social studies teacher, Colleen Meyers. Every seat in the room was taken as 12 Charger seniors strutted their stuff dressed as Disney characters, modeled formal wear courtesy of the Clothing Center in East Brunswick, disguised themselves as celebrity imposters and showed off their unique talents all to be named Mr. Spotswood 2016.

Mr. Spotswood has become a mainstay since its inaugural pageant in 2002. Appleby School's much-beloved second grade teacher, Kyle Harkins, didn't win the first title. Carl Allen did. However, Harkins was named Mr. Formalwear and Mr. Sportswear.

Nineteen students threw their names into the hat back in February. A school-wide Google Classroom vote narrowed the field to last night's 12 contestants which included Edwin Amaya, Brad Bacchetti, Jason Biss, Michael Corace, Nick DiMaria, Ryan Frost, Joe Hayford, Connor McCloskey, Chris Nardine, Robby Nason, Nick Palella and Lou Vacca.

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The talent portion of the competition really brought out the creative nature of the students as the artistry varied greatly.

Vacca, who slayed the audience with his portrayal of Ursula the Sea Witch in the Disney portion and later as a cast member of "Duck Dynasty," read the Ten Commandments of Spotswood High School dressed as Moses for his talent. The football player's commandments included "thou shalt not have free Wi-Fi or DECA cookies."

Frost and McCloskey took a slightly different comedic approach with their talents. Frost told jokes. "Who is the poorest person in West Virginia," Frost asked the enthusiastic audience. The senior's answer? "The tooth fairy." Ba-Dum-CH!

McCloskey came out with a box and duct tape on his mouth. The two oven mitts on his hands doubled as goldfish. The goldfish sang a duet of the Lionel Richie and Diana Ross classic, "Endless Love." If there was a category for best comedian, it would have gone to McCloskey.

The hands-down winner of the talent competition was the eventual overall winner of the competition, Biss. The aspiring actor sang a song about high school years. Biss' vocal range was pitch perfect and his acting training showed in every portion of the competition. In March, Biss played Emile de Beque is SHS' production of "South Pacific."

Bacchetti was the sentimental winner of the talent competition especially to all of the moms in the audience. He sang a rap dedicated to his mother, recapping all the wonderful things she's done for him over the years. The song was certainly a lovely early Mother's Day present for Bacchetti's mom.

After the formalwear modeling, the five finalists were picked. They included Biss, Hayford, Vacca, McCloskey and Nason. The five then had to answer an interview question picked by one of the 13 faculty judges. Before the runner-ups and winners were chosen, awards were given out by Meyers and fellow senior class advisor, Suzanne Fredricks. Both Meyers and Fredricks served as emcees throughout the evening.

Hayford took home both the People's Choice and Mr. Celebrity Imposter awards. The People's Choice Award was voted on earlier by students and staff. Bacchetti was the recipient of the Mr. Congeniality Award, which was chosen by Meyers and Fredricks. DiMaria was named the Faculty Favorite. He was picked for his kindness, respect and consideration to both faculty and fellow students by the SHS staff. Palella earned the honor of Mr. Magic Kingdom with his portrayal of Pococontas. Biss claimed the awards for Mr. Formalwear and Talent before being named Mr. Spotswood 2016.

Hayford was the second runner-up and Nason was the first runner-up. Last year's winner, Kevin Aquino returned to pass on his title to Biss.

Beast of course has a traditional meaning. In everyday language though, it has come to describe something that is awesome, which explains why beast was the word of the night at Mr. Spotswood 2016.

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