SPOTSWOOD, NJ - Mr. Spotswood has been a Spotswood High School tradition for the past 18 years. Not even the coronavirus pandemic could keep Mr. Spotswood 2020 from being crowned. On Tuesday, Helmetta's Steven Karczewski was named Mr. Spotswood 2020 after a virtual competition that took place over the past month. Karczewski is the fourth Mr. Spotswood in a row to hail from Helmetta. Sean Duffy was the 2019 champ. Solomon Tyson won in 2018 and Matt Pelham was Mr. Spotswood 2017. Karczewski, Duffy, Tyson and Pelham all live on the same street in Helmetta.
This year's virtual Mr. Spotswood competition featured 10 contestants including Karczewski, Helmetta's Matthew Bohinski, Milltown's Brian Lumsden, Milltown's Michael Minnihan, Spotswood's Dylan Molloy, Spotswood's Chris Moran, Helmetta's Thomas Perpente, Milltown's Dominic Tripaldi, Milltown's Anthony Varga and Spotswood's Jonathan Wasserman.
The contestants competed in four different categories. A fifth was added on the evening of the airing of the competition. Viewers had the opportunity to vote in the Mr. Fan Favorite competition when Mr. Spotswood was shown in its entirety on Friday, June 12. Mr. Spotswood 2020 was crowned on Tuesday in a drive-by parade. Winners were announced in each category as well as first through fifth place. Judges included Spotswood High School staff members Dianna Altmiller, Alyson Collins, Martin Dempsy, Melissa Forgione, Barbara Furman, Megan Morton, Thomas Pareti, Annia Raczko-Williams, Christopher Talish, Lisa Van Doren and Samantha Vizzi.
In addition to being crowned Mr. Spotswood 2020, Karczewski won the Mr. Man with all the Answers and the Mr. School Dayz categories. Karczewski reenacted all four of his Spotswood High School spirit weeks to win the Mr. School Dayz portion. Wasserman won the Mr. Celebrity Imposter category with his impression on the Little Mermaid. Lumsden took home the Top Talent award with his stellar dance moves. Molloy was voted Mr. Fan Favorite with 199 out of 500 votes.
Wasserman was the first runner-up, finishing second. Lumsden was the third place winner while Bohinski finished fourth. Molloy was the fifth place winner.
The much anticipated and extremely popular Mr. Spotswood is the brainchild of pageant director and Spotswood High School History, Psychology and Sociology teacher Colleen Meyers. Meyers, paired with Spotswood High School Communication Arts teacher Suzanne Fredricks, have raised more than $40,000 over the past 18 performances for the senior class. The money typically goes to help fund Senior Week activities. Mr. Spotswood is a sellout every spring.
However, the coronavirus pandemic changed that and many of the events the Class of 2020 were looking forward to. Meyers could not let the senior class swallow yet another disappointment and decided in conjunction with Fredricks, Spotswood High School Mathematics and senior class advisor Jessalyn Cahill and SHS Vocational teacher Andrew Zaborney to put together a virtual Mr. Spotswood 2020.
"It has just been heartbreaking for them and that is why we had to make sure this Mr. Spotswood goes on," Meyers explained.
Each contestant filmed his submissions for the different categories at home. Family members were allowed to help out, but unlike in past shows classmates and friends could not because of social distancing guidelines. Submissions had to be sent in by a certain deadline.
Spotswood High School alumnus Ryan Kraus put together the Mr. Spotswood trailer as well as the editing the final Mr. Spotswood 2020 video that aired on June 12. The competition video has more than 900 views on YouTube. Kraus is a 2014 graduate and is now employed by Disney. He put together a video highlight as well that includes the crowning of Mr. Spotswood 2020 and the award winners.