Eddie Parrish named Mr. Northwestern
After two hours of crowd-pleasing entertainment, senior Eddie Parrish was crowned Mr. Northwestern 2016.
“Was he expecting to walk away with the crown?
“Absolutely not!” he said. “I was just thinking I had some great judges. The entire performance was entirely fun.”
Parrish will be attending Drexel University in the fall to study electrical engineering.
“I’m ready to leave Northwestern but this is the right way to start off the summer after senior year,” Parrish said.
This year’s aspiring contestants also included Jake Augustus, Quentin Bernhard, Ryan Dengler, Ben Hoover, JD Haaf, Harry Hall, Dan Hallingstad, Jacob Hendricks, Chet Karpyn, Zach McDonald, Chris Parker, Dylan Snyder and Michael Zimmerman.
The final five included Parrish, Haaf, Hallingstad, Karpyn and Zimmerman.
What possessed the 14 participants to spend hours rehearsing knowing they would never be accepted as contestants on “America’s Got Talent?”
Most of the guys responded with one word: “fun.”
“My brother did Mr. Northwestern in 2012, so I always had this in the back of my mind for four years of high school,” said Hoover. “I am an actor so I also enjoy the performance and comedy behind Mr. Northwestern.”
“It sounded like a ton of fun,” said Hall, whose brother also was a Mr. Northwestern contestant. “I remember the last few years it has been a great show.
“The point is to have fun and make fools of ourselves.”
All agree embarrassment is par for the course.
“My parents were convinced I would rip my tight pants,” said Parrish, who performed a skit with singing and dancing while wearing tight pants.
”I wanted to embarrass myself in front of my school, have fun and make people smile,” admitted Hallingstad. “I wanted to embarrass myself by singing and dancing.”
Haaf decided to participate to have fun with his friends while embarrassing themselves.
“I thought it would be fun to do with my friends,” said Hendricks. “Sure you want a chance to prove you deserve to be Mr. Northwestern but mainly have fun.”
“I saw it for the last two years and it looked like really great times, plus if I win, I can put it on my resume,” quipped McDonald. “The whole point of this contest is to be [acknowledged as] the most beautiful, talented Northwestern male.”
The event has been gaining in popularity over the last few years.
“I think this is the biggest number [of participants] we’ve had,” said Patty Mengel, student council adviser.
“The kids come in and they know about [Mr. Northwestern].
“Some of these kids have been waiting for this from the beginning of the year.”
Maria Haddad and Mikaela Koenig were responsible for organizing the student council event and for emceeing the show.
“It’s a diverse group,” said Koenig. “You don’t just have the popular kids or the drama kids [on the stage]. We had kids apply we never expected.”
The girls had their work cut out for them.
“It’s definitely hard to get 14 kids to cooperate, but they’re really great guys,” said Haddad. “It’s definitely kind of weird being their boss in a way but I know them pretty well. To me they’re like a bunch of loud energetic brothers.”
The evening consisted of an opening and closing number that included all 14, followed by an introduction of each participant.
Each boy modeled casual wear, swim wear and formal wear and showcased a “talent,” which included singing, dancing, recitation, and playing musical instruments.
“It [was] a lot of fun,” said Haddad. “The guys actually gave a lot of inspiration for the dancing. It’s kind of awesome that they had so much input.”
“Putting on this show kind of gets the community together,” said Koenig. “Everyone really enjoys it.”
“You have the formality of all the other events but this is just kind of fun,” said Mengel.
“The point is to find a student who best exemplifies what is means to be a Northwestern Tiger,” said Hoover.
“I feel it is one of the best ways to wrap up my time at NWL and show, everyone who I am,” said Bernhard. “It is something special I have been a part of as a student council member. It is for senior boys to demonstrate their multitude of abilities and have fun entertaining the rest of the school.”
Judges for this year’s contest included teachers Lissa Opolsky, Lauren Elsenbaumer and Heather Fugazzotto.
Matt Archer, Mr. Northwestern for 2015, was also a judge with the additional privilege of crowning this year’s winner.
“I told [my students] they’d better be present,” said Fugazzotto laughing. “I’m in it for the mockery.”
“It was fun last year,” said Opolsky. “I saw some of their [so-called] talent and if they could pull them off it will be really fun.”
Snyder said his parents thought the whole event is a “good and fun thing to do,” while Parker said his parents “were looking forward to the show.”
“My parents were very excited and [couldn’t] wait to see it,” said Hendricks.
“They don’t know how weird it’s going to be,” said Hallingstad. “And I didn’t tell them.”
“My mom was kind of nervous but my dad was excited for it,” said Dengler.
“My mom was really excited to see her little Mickey on stage,” said Zimmerman. “It was a fun ending to our senior year.”