Russell Crowned King


It’s the event that everyone anticipates every November, marking the start of the Thanksgiving break. It’s the event that makes audience members laugh, cry, and applaud to no end. It’s the annual Mr. Morris Hills pageant, the event that has outdone itself yet again!

This past November, twelve senior contestants competed for the prestigious Mr. Morris Hills crown at the annual Mr. MH pageant. The participants were Derrien Coley, Daymon Fleming, Damian Gonzalez, Matthew Graner, Ryan Kattell, Kurt Nees, Alex Pai, Zach Russell, Joey Schiele, Michael Sperry, Thomas Stoback, and Evan Turner. Over the course of three weeks, the twelve boys worked tirelessly as they practiced their talent, impersonations, dance moves, and more.

This year’s pageant theme was a throwback to the 90s, and the stage was decorated to match the theme. As the night of the pageant arrived, the contestants were eager to be on stage and put forth their best performances to impress both the judges and the audience. After an entertaining opening dance, fashion show, question and answer session, and talent show, the twelve boys gathered around the stage as they awaited the judges’ decisions. All twelve of the participants delivered amazing performances and had worked extremely hard in the days leading up to the pageant.

Alex Pai won the Mr. Money award for gathering the most money during the can shake collection, Michael Sperry won the Mr. Congeniality Award, and Daymon Fleming won Mr. Famous, a new award that was based on a Google survey sent out to the senior class. Finally, Zach Russell was crowned as the 2016 Mr. Morris Hills because of his strong overall performance. Zach said, “Winning Mr. Morris Hills was an incredible experience for me, we all put in a ton of work into the production, and it came out wonderfully. I loved getting tighter with the other contestants. Hearing my name being called was a jaw dropper that made me tear up. I was so happy for all the support from my family and friends.”

The show was a pleasure to watch for students, staff, and parents alike. Mr. Wittner, who was one of the five judges of the pageant said, “The show was great. The kids obviously had a lot of fun. And the cool thing is, I got to see the kids in a way that I normally don’t get to see them. I’ve coached Alex Pai since he was a freshman, and I had no idea that he played guitar. Similarly, I had no idea Daymon played drums. And it was amazing for me to see Zach – who is very quiet whenever I see him in class –  get on stage and dance so wonderfully. I was blown away by his stage presence.”

The Mr. Morris Hills pageant is the biggest fundraiser for the senior class. The event this year generated over $3000, part of which was donated to the Make A Wish Foundation. The pageant owes a large amount of its success to the hard work of not only the contestants, but also their managers, who helped the contestants design posters, collect money, and bake goods.  Additionally, the overall production would not have been possible without the help of the stage crew, graphic designers Maddie Mastras and Andy Robinson, senior class advisors Mrs. Schwartz, Ms. Yaeger, and Ms. Skutnik, and senior class officers Kylie Chow, Liz Costanzo, Ana Ioshpa, and Shefali Kumar.