SPOTSWOOD, NJ - Mr. Spotswood has been a Spotswood High School staple for the past 18 years. The much anticipated and extremely popular event 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.
This year's show was supposed to take over the Spotswood High School Cafetorium as usual on June 12. It is a sell out 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.
Meyers made the exciting announcement via a trailer put together by 2014 Spotswood High School alumnus Ryan Kraus. Kraus is now employed by Disney and back in New Jersey because of the coronavirus shutdown.He volunteered to make the trailer and will be editing the final Mr. Spotswood video that will include all the contestants, their filmed submissions and of course the crowning of Mr. Spotswood 2020.
"All of us in the district know that they (the seniors) are missing these key moments they have been looking forward to," Meyers explained. "Thank goodness I have the help of so many people to make this a reality."
The 19th annual Mr. Spotswood will be slightly revamped because of the virtual format. It will not contain the show-stopping opening dance number and the formal wear category. The categories will be Mr. Celebrity Imposter, Mr. School Dayz, Top Talent and Mr. Man with all the Answers.
Each contestant will film their submissions for the different categories at home. Family members are allowed to help out, but unlike in past shows classmates and friends cannot because of social distancing guidelines. Submissions must be sent in by a certain deadline.
Normally, the competition has 12 contestants, but this year's will have 10. The 2020 Mr. Spotswood contestants include Helmetta's Matthew Bohinski, Helmetta's Stephen Karczewski, 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 will take part in the Mr. Man with all the Answers portion on June 6 on Zoom. Typically, only the finalists would receive a question to answer, but this year all the participants will. Judging will be done virtually by faculty judges on June 13. The winner will be crowded on June 16 with a drive by parade that will most likely include Mr. Spotswood 2019 Sean Duffy and will adhere to social distancing guidelines. Duffy will be filming a short video to be included in the final Mr. Spotswood 2020 video. Instead of runners-up, a winner will be chosen from each category.
Helmetta Mayor Chris Slavicek pointed out a Mr. Spotswood fun fact on his Facebook page following the unveiling of the Mr. Spotswood 2020 trailer. The mayor boasted that they past three Mr. Spotswood have all been from Helmetta and live on the same street. Duffy was the 2019 champ. Solomon Tyson won in 2018 and Matt Pelham was Mr. Spotswood 2017. One of this year's contestants also happens to share the same street address in Helmetta as the three previous winners.
So will Mr. Spotswood 2020 be from Helmetta or will it be one of the seniors that hails from Spotswood or Milltown? Spotswood High School seniors and Mr. Spotswood fans will just have to tune in next month and find out.
*Watch the trailer for Mr. Spotswood 2020 here.