by Brandon Biagini, STAFF WRITER
5 March 2018
From left to right: Dom Zupo, Malcolm Wolfe, Drew Sandrik, Diego Ocon, Alec Ludacka, Alex Hwang, David Harbaugh, Ryan Coffey. “I feel we all have unique personalities, and I think we’re going to do great, and have a lot of fun,” senior David Harbaugh said. Photo by Brandon Biagini
Eight contestants, lined shoulder to shoulder, look out into the crowd. Some with smiles, others clenched jaws, as a nervous anticipation builds up in each of them. From within the crowd, a drum roll orchestrated through the hands and feet of the attending audience gains momentum, adding to the stressful atmosphere.
This was the scene that unfolded on February 21st, as eight junior and senior boys competed against each other for the title of Mr. OE and the prize of free prom tickets.
Once a tradition at East, the Mr. OE pageant is a competition between male contestants, who are given scores by the judges panel. They earn points from the judges depending on how well they perform in different categories, such as question and answer and talent performances.
Weeks in the planning, contestants began preparing for their respective performances. Planning out their attire and practicing for their talent acts, each of them of them rehearsed in their own unique ways.
Senior David Harbaugh spent many hours preparing for a rap that he wrote, which he hoped would represent his personality in a satirical nerdy caricature of himself.
“I studied, I made my own rap, I solved my Rubiks Cube a whole lot, I mashed up together some different songs, and I rapped every single night,” Harbaugh said. “I chose to represent myself as a geek because in reality I do really love school. I don’t even have a lunch, I have eight periods of classes, and education has always been a priority, and I always like to unleash that side of me.”
The rap, along with a shower of dollar bills during his performance, garnered a roar of applause from the crowd, both during and after his act.
Senior Ryan Coffey prepared for a light hearted and fun performance with him singing Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA.”
“I listened to ‘Party in the USA’ a lot, I sang it a lot at home, and calmed myself down to not be so stressed out,” Coffey said, quickly emphasizing his appreciation of the artist quite simply. “Miley Cyrus all the way.”
Contestants were not only responsible for practicing for their talent performance, but also had to pick out what they would be wearing for each portion of the show.
“They’ll [be introduced] in ‘evening wear’, and that is supposed to be their best attire,” sponsor Jessica Melzer explained. “[‘Me wear’ is] an outfit that is particular to them, whether it’s for their extra curricular activities … or a surprise.”
The “me wear” the contestants chose varied in significance to them, and each had a unique story behind how it represented them.
“I’m wearing a band t-shirt, from the Killers, because they’re the ones that sing the song that I’m going to be performing. And I saw them in concert, and it was one of my favorite [concerts]… and I went with my dad who is very important to me,” junior Diego Ocon said.
As Ryan Coffey walked onto the stage, his “me wear” — along with an attempted flip and consequential falling on the stage — drew laughter from the crowd.
“I’m wearing a Spider-Man costume for part of [the performance],” Coffey said. Laughing to himself, he added. “That’s going to set me apart from other contestants.”
In their “me wear” attire, the contestants were asked randomly selected questions they drew from a bowl. The lighthearted questions ranged from “If you could be any kitchen utensil what would you be?” to “What is your favorite dance move, and can you please show us?”
The contestants were not alone the entire night however. Each of the boys selected one or two people who were close to them to escort them onto the stage.
“I chose my grandmother because she’s just the nicest woman. She spoils me, and she does nothing but shower blessings and love upon me and my family,” junior Alec Ludacka explained. “I just wanted to show that she really means something to me.”
Ryan Coffey chose two fellow students at OE — Annabelle Howat and Michael Birtles — to be his escorts for the evening.
“[I chose] Annabelle Howat, she’s my girlfriend, and she means everything to me, and she’s the one who told me I should do this. Mikey, I love him so much, and he’s one of the funniest dudes I’ve ever met, and I feel it would be just so much more fun having him up there,” Coffey said.
As the evening drew to a close, the eight contestants lined up, and waited in anticipation as the results from a crowd poll and the judges’ scores were tallied up. The roar of a drum roll receded, replaced by a roar of applause as Ryan Coffey was announced the crowd favorite. Presented his blue and white crown, he fell back into line with the other contestants.
The cheers settled, and the PAC fell silent. The Master of Ceremonies looked down to her notes and read out “Alec Ludacka.” Once again, the PAC erupted with cheers and applause, as Alec was adorned with his own blue and white crown, accompanied by a blue cape and the title of Mr. OE.
“I just love to perform. That’s just something that I’ve always loved to do and I like to show off who I am,” Ludacka said.
Mr. OE Alec Ludacka shows senior Crowd Favorite Ryan Coffey some brotherly love. “I felt that Mr. OE would be a lot of fun, and it would be a cool way to express what I love doing,” Coffey said. Photo by Brandon Biagini.
Brandon Biagini is a staff writer for Oswego East High School’s online news magazine the HOWL