The student news site of Freehold Township High School

Patriot Press

The student news site of Freehold Township High School

Patriot Press

The student news site of Freehold Township High School

Patriot Press


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Crowning Greatness: Recap of Mr. FTHS 2024


The lights. The cameras. The Kermit impressions. This year’s Mr. FTHS competition was arguably one of the greatest, most hilarious events of the 2023-2024 school year, as 16 seniors battled to be crowned the one and only Mr. FTHS. Happened to miss it? Then get ready for a run down of this spectacular event, corny dance moves and all.

Speaking of which, the night began with a dance number containing all the contestants. It began with a reference to the movie Pitch Perfect (2012), with each of the boys somewhat in unison. Then, the routine continued with songs such as “Toxic” by Britney Spears, “Galloway Girl” by Ed Sheeran (accompanied by lookalike Michael Pucci strumming his air guitar), and “Water” by Tyla. Each song included a small solo or highlight of each boy, which involved backflips, lip-syncing, and, believe or not, some mild-hip thrusting,

Next, each contestant was formally introduced. As each boy stepped, or perhaps strutted, onto the stage, the MCs boasted the contestants’ cars, hobbies, jobs, and even their recreational basketball statistics. 

Moreover, each boy came out once again in their…swim trunks? That’s right; after the introductions, the contestants individually returned to the spotlight in their finest swimming gear, which included hula skirts, unicorn floaties, a shark fin, leis, and an ice cream suit, in fact. As they did in the former category, most of the boys flexed, flipped, and “finger-gunned” for the applauding audience. 

The Battle of the Michael’s, performed by Michael Marion and Michael Carter

Then came the longest-and perhaps the funniest-part of the pageant, which was the talent show. To start the show, John Van Horn stunningly played the Star Spangled Banner on his electric guitar, leaving everyone jaw-dropped. John was a tough act to follow, but the fun continued as Ian Ionescu, Shane Meisner, Carlo Nasso, and Nick Manfre serenaded the spectators with the sounds of Elvis, Rihanna, Justin Bieber, and Bruno Mars. There were also more unique acts throughout the night, including Qasim Panjwani’s ‘record breaking’ lunch-packing act, Joe Cantorelli’s bottle-throwing, and Michael Pucci’s sandwich-making.  Andrew Simon and Ben Stoehr both made the crowd roar with their jokes, and Jack Beja lifted the house with his ability to lip-synch and dance to “Cruisin’ for a Bruisin” from the beloved Teen Beach Movie (2013). One of the most choreographed acts of the evening, however, was Michael Marion and Michael Carter’s lightsaber battle, which involved a rollercoaster of emotions; it had the crowd full of fear, awe, and concluded with a lesson on the powerful force of friendship. On the topic of Michaels, Dylan Cobb and CJ showed off their MJ moves with routines and outfits inspired by the pop legend himself. The last act of the night, and possibly one of most creative, was Dan Loges’ rendition of “Rainbow Connection”, as he sounded and dressed like the iconic Kermit the Frog himself as he strummed his banjo.

After these spectacular performances, the audience watched a video on the Behind-The-Scenes of the production, which seemed to be a very long, complicated, and hilarious process. But, it seemed to be worth the pain, as many of the boys said in the video that they got closer to their opponents, and made good memories, and overall enjoyed their experience as a Mr. FTHS candidate.

Contestant Nick Manfre posing with his escort, Sienna Smith, during the formal wear portion of the competition

For the last time, the boys were brought on stage one-by-one with their escorts, all dressed to a “T” in swoon-worthy suits and perfect party dresses. Before they could be the winner, though, each nominee had to answer a question pertaining to their life as a FTHS student. For instance, when asked what he would do differently if he could redo high school, Joe Cantorelli powerfully answered, “nothing”. Plus, in response to being asked how he would describe his high school experience, Qasim said it was, quote, “really good”. A few of the boys also mentioned the teachers that they were most impacted by, such as Mr. Grimes and Mr. St. Angelo. 

Finally, it was time to crown the one and only, Mr. FTHS. Except, it wasn’t. First they crowned Mr. Congeniality, or the contestant with the kindest, friendliest, personality. Voted by the boys themselves, that accolade went to the talented and patriotic John Van Horn. 

You could hear a pin drop as everybody awaited for Mr. FTHS to be declared. Even though all the boys worked so hard, there had to be a winner; the crown was on the line. Naturally, it went to the one and only Dan Loges, bringing the audience to an uproar on one of Freehold Township’s most distinct and hysterical events of the school year.

Mr. FTHS is a great opportunity for the seniors to have one final “hoorah” before they graduate. It requires so much dedication and cooperation from the boys, the advisors, the escorts, as well as student choreographers and MCs. Not only that, but it is one of the only events throughout the school year that involves and is mostly led by students. It also gives underclassmen something to look forward to.  Whether it be on stage, behind the scenes, or in pretty dresses, there are several ways for seniors to get involved in this project which has such a worthwhile outcome. In the end, no matter who you are, Mr. FTHS is an outlet for all students to receive a genuine high school experience.

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