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Mr. Easthampton pageant prepares for seventh year

The event is a fundraiser for the school’s Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) program. The show starts at 7 p.m. as the inaugural event on the new Easthampton High School stage. It will feature each of the 11 hopefuls as they compete in a talent show, a formal dress wear competition and other challenges.

Nancy Dunn, EHS health teacher and SADD director, created the event and has coordinated it for the past seven years. She said that the idea to put the show on first struck her after she watched her nephew compete in a similar competition in North Adams.

“It was a really nice event, and we came back here and put our own spin on it,” Dunn said. “We made our own Mr. Easthampton over in the little theater in the high school when we first did it, and it keeps getting bigger and bigger.”

Dunn said she had initially planned to hold the competition every other year, but the welcome reception it received prompted her to make it an annual event.

“It sells itself. Each year more boys are interested in it and it sells out in advance,” Dunn said. “It’s a very diverse group of kids. All kinds of kids in the school get involved in it and it’s really nice to see the auditorium filled with students.

Dunn said students who have won the competition in the past commonly return and help judge the show.

“Even after kids graduate, they still want to come back and fill in for intermission. It’s a huge event,” she said.

Most of the students who will participate in the competition said that they have had a long-running interest in the show.

“I’ve seen every show since freshman year, and I’ve always wanted to come up and try my hand at it and look like a fool,” said Kyle O’Connell, 18, a senior. “I’m particularly excited about the depiction of Stephen Hawking that I’ll perform, I think it will show a side of him that a lot of people haven’t seen before.”

Sam Garcia, a junior at Easthampton High who will also compete in the event, said that he has been interested in participating since he first saw it in seventh grade.

“I always thought it was funny, and I thought I could come up with material for it,” Garcia said. “Sometimes I’ll be in algebra class and I’ll be thinking about and writing down my ideas for my superhero.”

Connor Gibbs, 17, will perform a song-and-dance number in the talent portion of the competition. He said that he’s been involved with theater as an extracurricular activity since he was in the fourth grade, and has been singing since the seventh grade.

“I’ve always been a big fan of theater,” Gibbs said. “I just wanted to be a part of the experience, do my thing on stage and watch people discover themselves,” he said.

Nick Fay, 19, has attended the event for the past four years in a row and decided to take a shot at performing this year.

“It looks really fun, and I wanted to join in the festivities,” he said.

Other students who will compete in the pageant include Easthampton High School seniors Austin Crow, Zach Edwards, Khadeem Eddington, Mitchell Heisler, Stephen Pinard and John Waskiewicz and junior Ian Robinson.

Tickets to the event will be $10 at the door or $8 in advance, and can be purchased by calling the high school 529-1585.

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