The Pirettes weren’t the only ones forming a kickline at Mepham High School last week. Their male peers executed the choreography, in addition to showing their talents on stage, in an effort to be crowned the next “Mr. Mepham.”
The school’s male beauty pageant was held for the fourth time on Feb. 14. According to faculty organizers Erica Wagner and Jennifer Malone, a group of judges annually chooses one student and one teacher as “Mr. Mepham” because they are “well-rounded individuals who possess integrity, courage and embody the spirit of an ideal Mepham pirate.”
The idea behind the event came from Malone’s husband, a teacher at Massapequa High School who was participating in the school’s yearly “Mr. Massapequa” contest in 2010. She and Wagner, who were the advisers for Mepham’s class of 2011, thought hosting a male beauty pageant could be a way to fundraise to lower the cost of the class’s prom tickets.
Malone and Wagner said “Mr. Mepham” has become an annual tradition for the entire school since then. Participants in this year’s pageant were chosen through a nomination process carried out in English classes. Students were asked to nominate any male student and male faculty member “who really capture the spirit of Mepham High School,” Wagner explained. After ballots were collected, the organizers tallied the votes and identified the top qualifiers –– four seniors, three juniors, two sophomores, two freshmen and four faculty members.
All of the contestants attended rehearsals in preparation for the evening, Wagner said. The Pirettes both performed and helped, as the student nominees began the evening with a dance number.