(Editor's Note: Victoria Kisling is a senior at North Plainfield High School and an intern for TAPinto North Plainfield.) 

NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - Every year, North Plainfield High School's (NPHS) Parent-Teacher Organization and Project Graduation Committee host the Mr. Canuck Male Pageant. This year’s event took place the evening of Jan. 6 in the high school-middle school auditorium and was hosted by seniors Aminah Muhammad, Kanira White, and Anastasia Thomas.

The organization’s largest fundraiser, the pageant is comprised of NPHS male seniors who voluntarily sign up for the competition. A couple of days before the pageant takes place, the contestants have their portrait taken; each contestants photo is then blown up into a poster and displayed in front of the main office to inform all students of who is in the running for the title of Mr. Canuck.

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For 2017, there were 14 contestants with Matt Bordfeld, Royer Brito, Matthew Cabrera, Jared Cook, Ka-Ron Dock, Khalil Dock, John Donatelli, James Gardner, Rashad Graham, Andy Guevara, Hector Guevara, Terrence Jones, Kevin Lozada Villegas, and Chris Medrano all vying for the title. The contestants are judged by female class officers in each grade.

“It was an interesting job, but a fun night,” said Senior Class President Emely Velastegui. “All of the contestants did a great job.”

“I had Aminah and Anastasia to help me with my nerves,” said White. “We came together and our personalities worked out greatly. We managed to pull off the great night ... I had so much fun. This will be a good memory that I will cherish forever.”

The competition is comprised of two rounds. During the first round, which featured four categories – formal wear, street wear, swimsuit, and a talent – for all contestants to participate in. After an eventful first round, the judges chose a top five, with Royer Brito, Matthew Cabrera, Jared Cook, Ka-Ron Dock, and James Gardner advancing to the next round. In round two, each contestant was asked a question by one of the three hosts. The contestants had to answer on the spot and, after giving their responses, received a score from the judges with the top three going on to compete for the Mr. Canuck 2017 title.

The contestant with the most votes was crowned Mr. Canuck with Jared Cook receiving the title for 2017; Matthew Cabrera, who received the second highest number of votes, was named first runner-up and Ka-Ron Dock was named second runner-up.

“My experience with Mr. Canuck was very unexpected and exciting. I participated with many other seniors who are my friends and they all get my respect …” said Cook. “Being brave enough to [get up] there at first was not easy, but [soon] I became comfortable and started to have fun with my friends. All in all Mr. Canuck would be the highlight of my senior year!”

“I never really expected to be in the top five or top three,” said Cabrera. “I was really surprised and excited to get second place. I just tried my best and wanted to see how far I can get being myself. It was a great night!”

Dock added, “I loved it and it was a very good time with the participants. To be completely honest I was not expecting to be in the top participants conversation, but I was thankful for the opportunity and coming home with a trophy.” 

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