By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Marlborough – The Marlborough High School (MHS) chapter of American Field Service (AFS) conducts several fundraisers and community service projects throughout the school year. But their longest running event that draws the most attention – and the most laughs – is a parody of beauty pageants with male contestants. The 24th annual Mr. MHS 2013 Pageant was presented March 15 at the Whitcomb Middle School Auditorium with a Las Vegas theme.
An international nonprofit organization, AFS promotes a better understanding of different cultures. When the MHS chapter needed a new faculty advisor this school year, the position was happily filled by Stephanie Parker.
“Marlborough is a very diverse community,” she said. “There's a mixture of cultures within the city and the students learn a lot from each other in that aspect.”
Emily Silverman, now a senior and the club president, joined AFS five years ago when MHS included eighth-graders. Along with Katie McCombs, also a senior, Silverman co-hosted the pageant.
“I feel passionate about the charity work we do, and I love running Mr. MHS,” Silverman said. “Working behind the scenes is always fun. It's nice to see how kids who might not normally hangout, all come together for rehearsals twice a week. Rehearsals began three weeks before, but the planning started around Christmas. We had to book the auditorium, arrange for police detail, order trophies, contact newspapers, and make sure all the boys are eligible because of their academics.”
“You can's be a contestant if you'se failing classes,” Parker explained.
Parker most enjoyed observing the interaction between the boys and the club members.
“Most of the AFS members are female, so Mr. MHS gets the boys involved,” she said. “It's a wide range of boys from sports to musicians, to some kids who aren's usually involved in activities. They get onstage and come up with the most clever things to say and funniest outfits to wear. Sometimes the boys get peer pressure from the girls in the club to get involved, but they'se mostly willing participants.”
One of this year's willing participants was Reid Flynn, a senior and AFS treasurer, who competed as Mr. Business Professionals of America. Other AFS officers are Laura Bailey, a senior, vice president; Colleen Condry, a junior, secretary; and Rachel Mager, a senior, public relations.
The Mr. MHS 2013 Pageant featured 15 contestants representing classes, clubs and sports. They vied in categories including talent, formal wear and interview.
Continuing the tradition to invite the current Miss Massachusetts Teen as a judge, this year's pageant welcomed the 2013 titleholder, Madyson Milordi, of Lynnfield. Serving as a judge for the 24th year was former state Rep. Stephen LeDuc, currently the assistant magistrate at Marlborough District Court. Debuting as a judge was state Rep. Danielle Gregoire, D-Marlborough.
Returning as a special guest host was Mr. MHS 2012, Austin Garvey, now a freshman at Colgate University in Hamilton, N.Y.
“It brings back a ton of memories,” he said. “This gives kids a chance to be themselves, or someone shy can be loud and vocal onstage. You can put forth your inner personality.”
History was made as three of the five finalists tied for second runner-up: Joe Babcock, a senior; Ryan King, a junior; and Brendan Wood, a senior. Competing as Mr. Senior Trip, Mike Bjorkman placed first runner-up.
Crowned as Mr. MHS 2013 was Steve Wagner, a senior, representing the Jazz Band.
Speaking from experience, Garvey commented on the new titleholder's destiny.
“It's a cool feeling,” he said. “I chose to enter Mr. MHS my senior year. It's something I look back on, and I's so happy that I did it.”
(Photos/Ed Karvoski, Jr.)