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Mr. Easthampton contest set for Friday at new high school

Connor Judd knows just what to look for in the search for a new Mr. Easthampton.

Judd, who graduated last year from Easthampton High School, won that title in the school’s sixth annual contest in 2012 and now has the honor of judging this year’s 11 contestants.

“I guess I’m looking for someone who can make me laugh,” said Judd, who is now studying architecture at the Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston. “Also, someone who is genuine and kind and doesn’t like to show off.”

This year’s seventh annual Mr. Easthampton contest is set for Friday at 7 p.m. in the brand new EHS building on Williston Avenue. Tickets to the event, which has sold out early for the past three years, are $8 in advance and $10 at the door.

The pageant, which raises funds for the high school’s Students Against Destructive Decisions chapter, will be as varied as ever, according to Nancy Dunn, an EHS health teacher who coordinates the event. Contestants will undergo a formal wear competition, a talent show and some surprise challenges as well.

In addition to the title, winners receive a gift package that includes prom tickets, a haircut, flowers, gas cards, savings bonds and gift certificates to local restaurants, Dunn said. Between 30 and 35 local businesses contribute to make the event possible.

So, what did he like best about being named Mr. Easthampton?

“The sense of pride that people thought I was good enough to win,” said Judd, who beat out 14 other students for the title last year. “I’ll be excited to see what happens this time.”

This year’s pageant hopefuls are: EHS seniors Austin Crow, Zach Edwards, Khadeem Eddington, Nick Fay, Connor Gibbs, Mitchell Heisler, Kyle O’Connell, Stephan Pinard, John Waskiewicz, and juniors Sam Garcia and Ian Robinson.

Building tour

A community tour of the new Easthampton High School building will be held Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Details will be posted on the district’s website.

Portable planetarium

Students at Maple School will celebrate this year’s schoolwide theme, space, with a visit from the Starlab portable planetarium. The planetarium, which is owned by the Springfield Science Museum, will be housed in the school cafeteria on April 30 and 31, said Maple School’s Principal Tim Luce.

“It blows up like a balloon house so students can sit on the floor and watch the stars projected on the walls,” Luce said.

Football field fundraiser

The Friends of Easthampton Football Association is preparing for its first fundraiser to support creation of a new football field at White Brook Middle School on Park Road. The current field, which is used for junior varsity and varsity games by Easthampton High School and Hampshire Regional High School and for youth football programs has poor drainage and “has deteriorated to the point where soon, we may not be able to play on it,” said Amy Guyette, a Southampton resident who is chair of the association.

The group is planning a 5K race for sometime this summer to help raise the $350,000 to $400,000 needed to revamp the field. A “dream field” renovation that would also include field houses would cost in the neighborhood of $600,000, Guyette said.

The association, with the backing of the School Committee, submitted an application in February for a $25,000 grant from the Easthampton Community Preservation Fund to support initial soil testing and surveying of the WBMS field.

City Councilman Dan Hagan, a member of the CPA committee, said members will be reviewing the association’s application at the next meeting.

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