Winnisquam High School seniors Colton Piper and Hannah Willcutt were crowned Mr. and Miss Winnisquam after competing with six other students in a fun-filled evening last Friday. (Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
May 09, 2012TILTON — It could be said that eight students from Winnisquam Regional High School were "on the edge of glory" when they took to the stage last Friday as part of the second annual Mr. and Miss Winnisquam competition.
Only two walked away with the final glory, however, when seniors Hannah Willcutt and Colton Piper were crowned this year's winners.
To get to the crowning with the top hat and tiara, though, the two were up against some stiff competition as they faced other seniors and juniors in categories of "Favorite Outfit," "Talent," "Evening Wear" and "Questions."
During introductions, the contestants had the opportunity to let everyone know who they were and what was special about them.
"I was recently accepted into Syracuse, ladies, and single!" touted senior Michael Quagliana, wearing a Big Orange Syracuse University basketball uniform.
Joe Carberry said he was addicted to Camaros, and Mike "Bear" Crooker confessed his love for music and hockey.
Mariah Crooker took the opportunity to brag about her prowess at the game "Oreo Head," where a cookie placed on one's forehead has to be worked down along the face until it can be eaten. Dorothy Reynolds said she liked wrestling, and was "pretty much the bomb," while Hannah Twombly warned people to beware.
"I may look like a pretty girl, but watch out. I float like a butterfly and sting like a bee," she wrote in her biography.
Hannah Willcutt offered a similar warning.
"I'm mistaken for military force by central intelligence agencies across the world," she professed.
Kicking off the night was their outfit of choice, and while the boys chose sports or casual wear, the girls came out with some creative costumes. Junior Mariah Crooker sported jeans, a sparkly shirt and pink tie, while Reynolds rocked the stage with leather and a cool hat. Twombly opted for heels and a wand, but it was the "other Hannah" who drew the laughter when Willcutt donned a snorkel, flippers and swim wear overlaid with a tutu for her march across the stage.
The evening was interrupted at one point when an unruly "student" and an "administrator" barged onto the stage, halting the show.
"You're in violation of the dress code. Report to the office now!" barked out "Vice Principal Andrew Brauch," a.k.a. Dr. Ronna Cadarette.
The young female student turned out to be none other than the vice principal himself, dressed in drag. Brauch said he and Principal Cadarette decided they wanted to be part of the fun and secretly planned their brief cameo appearance.
"I'm always the guy in charge of discipline, so I thought it would be fun to show them another side of me tonight," Brauch said.
His mini skirt, tank top and wild wig, along with Cadarette dressed as Brauch, made their surprise walk-on a big hit with audience members of all ages before the competition got back underway.
As the talent portion of the competition began, some of the contestants simply had a good time making light of themselves, while in other instances, there was true talent on display. "Bear" Crooker showed off his skills on the electric guitar, while sister Mariah "wow-ed" the crowd as well with her a cappella performance of the country song "Outcast." Reynolds belted out an impressive rendition of Pat Benatar's "Hit Me with Your Best Shot." Piper brought a few friends on stage to assist in an amazing juggling act, but it was Willcutt who once again grabbed the spotlight with a unique barrel roll performance while still wearing her swim fins.
"I wanted to be really creative, and (walking on) these barrels was something I learned from my mother. Adding the flippers was just for fun," Willcutt said.
That fun turned into a charming tiara and a spot on the stage beside Colton Piper as the two were crowned Mr. and Miss Winnisquam. For Willcutt, it was especially meaningful as this was only the second year of the competition, and the first time females were included.
"It's really cool to be the first Miss Winnisquam, and I hope it continues," she said.
Piper was also happy to have earned the distinction of Mr. Winnisquam.
"It feels good to have won this. I was up against some really good competition and I wasn't expecting to win," he said.
Both Piper and Willcutt took home a $50 cash prize, along with a trophy to commemorate their win.
The event was sponsored by the State Scholars at WRHS, and Brauch, who oversees the program, said it was not just fun, but a great learning experience for all those involved in State Scholars.
"It was a great night to see all the kids having fun in a healthy way. The State Scholars organized the whole thing, and people tonight didn't get to see the work they did behind the scenes to make it all happen, but they worked very hard," said Brauch. "It was a great business experience for them, too."