DeFrance crowned Mr. Middletown

MICHAEL KATZ, Staff Writer

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On Thursday, January 19, the National Honor Society put on the annual Mr. Middletown fundraiser. 12

Photo by Calvin Ponzio
Senior Jayson DeFrance smiles shortly after winning the Mr. Middletown competition title. He was able to beat out eleven other competing seniors to win the annual title. The money raised went toward the National Honor Scoiety.

senior boys competed in this competition in the hopes of becoming the next Mr. Middletown.
The contestants performed in several categories including a talent show, swimsuit competition, and a formalwear and questionnaire competition to earn high scores from the judges.
The event has been going on for years and has become a tradition among seniors. Many of the seniors competing are friends, which adds an extra edge of friendly rivalry to the mix.
The seniors who competed were Collin Hobbs, Jalen Coleman, Jayson DeFrance, Kyle Monarca, Matt Cantwell, Matt Joy, Tim Joy, Mike Ahern, Noah Cartwright, Stephen Lombardo, Terry Gaylord, and Zeke Sanger. Unfortunately, Sanger was unable to make the event due to illness.
One of the seniors, Matt Cantwell, when asked why he did the Mr. Middletown event, said that “I just want to have fun with my friends, just like Powder Puff.”
The show started with a brief introduction to each of the competitors, as the hosts, social studies teacher Trevor Charles and his wife Nicole Charles, read short and often humorous biographies prepared by the candidates themselves. While the bios were read, the boys strutted the stage in their swimwear.
Often in years past, contestants would wear tight fitting swim briefs (usually Speedos) for the swimwear competition. However, due to a new rule within the competition, that was not allowed this year.
Participants and adults alike had differing opinions on the rule change. Longtime judge and Spanish teacher Andres Alphonso said that Mr. Middletown is a “family friendly event” and that the swimwear should be appropriate.
Ahern said, “I don’t see the logic, the swimwear [we] used was just as modest [as Speedos].”
Coleman disagreed. “I didn’t plan on wearing a Speedo, so it doesn’t affect me,” he said.
The competition then moved onto the talent portion, often the most memorable aspect of the show. Standouts included Cartwright’s intricate hula hooping act, Ahern performing a comically bad magic trick, and Matt Joy dancing to “Cotton Eyed Joe” while solving a Rubik’s cube. Hobbs even performed an original piece on his clarinet.
Other comedy acts included Tim Joy as a mime, and DeFrance, who performed a comedy skit based on Saturday Night Live’s classic “Down by the River”, with the help of sophomore Rose Romano, senior Jenna Lentini and senior Michael Malley.
The hosts then took a brief intermission, and the candidates then dressed in formalwear and answered random questions from the hosts.
The dance team helped to choreograph the finale of the show that the contestants performed while the judges deliberated.
The judges this year for competitions were Alphonso, alumnus Max Breton (last year’s Mr. Middletown winner), English teacher Ashley Tomlinson, social studies teacher Lee Rocha, and senior class advisor Olivia Hornberger.
The title of Mr. Middletown was awarded to DeFrance. He won a complete prom package, which included two tickets to the Senior Ball in the spring.
All contestants were awarded a gift card to Dunkin Donuts, but the first four finishers received additional prizes. There was some confusion in the handing out of the awards. Believing there were a total of five prizes, Charles announced Coleman as the fourth runner up, later having to take the prize back on stage to give it to the fourth place contestant. There was further confusion when the judges wrote only “Matt” on the results sheet and Charles presented said fourth place prize to Cantwell instead of Joy.
The money raised will go towards the NHS scholarship fund. This fund helps students afford college and has helped many a student of the past. The student leaders of NHS, seniors Sofian Albayati and Jackie Pawlak, came on stage to talk about the scholarship fund during the show. They and many others, including advisor Natasha Faulkenberry, helped put on and keep the show running smoothly.
Despite the hiccups, the Mr. Middletown event remains a time honored tradition among the seniors and was a great night for both the audience and the participants.

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