by Clement Doucette
Before attending Friday’s “Mr. HHS” pageant, I’ll admit that I felt a bit apprehensive. I had heard rumors that some acts performed during rehearsals could be sexist or could push the boundaries of a school-sanctioned event. In particular, Jordan Bushey’s act about picking up girls concerned me. As I entered the auditorium that Friday, however, I spotted a wide array of students and members of the community. My apprehensions soon vanished when I saw that the pageant unified, not divided, the school community.
The Mr. HHS pageant, last hosted in 2012, returned after a six-year hiatus. Members of the senior class, the Drama Society, Spirit Committee, and the dance team worked with class advisers Erin Cothran and Mike Nanartowich to bring the pageant back. Last held in 2012, support for the pageant declined as school spirit dropped. However, a noted increase in school spirit spearheaded by members of the senior class prompted its return. Senior class adviser Erin Cothran noted the spike in spirit and sought to bring the pageant back to the high school’s stage.
“Mr. HHS was something that was happening when I was a student here at Hudson High,” said Cothran. “I decided that we were having such a real high with spirit here at Hudson High that we thought we would pitch it to the kids and see if people would buy in, and they have. It has been fabulous.”
Students enthusiastically supported the pageant’s return, abating Cothran’s fears that students would be unwilling to participate.
“At the end of the day, if we weren’t going to have any interest in it, we weren’t really going to put too much effort into it,” said Cothran. “We had discussed that we would have a cutoff of around twelve. We ended up having exactly twelve people interested and twelve people that were truly committed.”
Student commitment to the event also demonstrates the ability of students to unite upper and underclassmen. In total, seven seniors, three juniors, and two sophomores participated in Mr. HHS. In general, most students expressed excitement at seeing their classmates on stage.
“I think that it has been a bright spot for a lot of kids. They are looking forward to seeing their classmates have a laugh at their own expense,” said Cothran. “One of my sophomore contestants is in my class, and all of my sophomores in the class want to come and support him. They want me to save a whole row just for them so that they can support Andrew.”
While Mr. HHS unified students from different grades, it also brought together members of the Drama Society and the pageant participants.
“It’s not just these twelve people; there’s been huge support from the drama community who are helping us with the lights and the program,” said Cothran. “Ben Carme has been outstanding with designing the program and other students with the music.”
Mr. HHS represented one of the rare instances of cooperation across all sectors of the school community. Senior Drama Society member Katie Moran noted the benefits of the cooperation between the contestants and Drama Society.
“I hate categorizing people like this, but the drama kids and the athletes that were working in Mr. HHS connected and made friendships,” said Moran. “They had a group chat together, and I would hear them talking all the time; they had inside jokes together which was really cool.”
According to Moran, this cooperation represents a rare show of unity that the high school lacked.
“The senior athletes and sophomore drama kids talking together and actually saying ‘hi’ to each other in the halls is something I’ve never seen in my years here,” said Moran. “I would love to see the two groups united more because that’s how it used to be, apparently. There’s been separation, but I think if both ‘sides’ work together, great productions could be made and the community here at school would be so much nicer.”
The Mr. HHS pageant could also serve to bring awareness to the Drama Society’s work. Members of the Drama Society have noted a division between themselves and the rest of the school. Hopefully, participants in Mr. HHS will audition and participate in future drama productions.
“I’m hoping that they reach out to drama kids now to ask when the next audition is,” said Moran. “I’d love to see the population of Drama Society grow because of it.”
Senior Andy Lenox, a participant in the pageant, noted that it could not have taken place without the help of the Drama Society.
“They helped us with everything we wanted to do,” said Lenox. “They gave all of us stage directors, and a couple of us would go to a certain person in Drama Society who helped with each performance and each act. Our transition from practicing in the gym to the auditorium was a big shift for us, and they made it so much easier. We are very thankful for them.”
Working one-on-one with Drama Society members facilitated an atmosphere of cooperation and friendship, bringing together diverse student groups.
“Being involved in Mr. HHS was one of my favorite high school experiences so far,” said Lenox. “We just put in so much effort and work. Everyone was working together and working hard for so long; I’m just glad that it came out as well as it did.”
Events such as Mr. HHS could have the potential to unite students from all groups within the school community, and continuing the pageant in the years to come could bring the Drama Society and the athletic crowds even closer. As long as the pageant’s humor is not discriminatory or offensive and school spirit remains elevated, it could continue to be successful in the years to come. In fact, more events like Mr. HHS should be present in the school calendar. Mr. HHS demonstrates the power of humor to unite students from across our school.