Finding Mr. Amador
Young men strut their stuff for a good cause
Andrea Garcia and Kara Matsune have been watching their male schoolmates at Amador Valley High all year with a discerning eye. As co-directors of this year's seventh annual Mr. Amador contest, they needed to pinpoint a variety of contestants.
"There's sort of an image that's been created over the years," Garcia said. "They are outgoing and well respected around the school."
This year's contestants include eight upperclassmen and two sophomores, and the all-male pageant will benefit the George Mark Children's House in San Leandro.
"In order to get more money most people wanted boys from different groups," explained Garcia.
Her committee drafted a jock who plays football, a "really studious" valedictorian who's well-liked and respected, a guy who plays the guitar, someone involved with his church, a class clown, a guy who's super involved in school and different clubs, and a wrestler.
"All the guys this year are enthusiastic," Garcia said.
But it's not all fun and games. The pageant involves a lot of rehearsals.
"We have them sign a contract," Garcia said. "They have to attend three-quarters or more of the practices. And they can't abuse the privilege of being up there with inappropriate acts -- they have to follow the script."
The endeavor has taken a lot of preparation. Garcia and Matsune put out applications for the Mr. Amador committee in early October. They also talked to other high schools in the area for ideas. Foothill High held its contest March 1 and this year's Mr. Foothill is senior Jack Reed.
"We put together a team of subcommittees," Garcia said. "Cheerleaders and girls involved in dance teach the boys their dances. The technical committee is taking pictures and putting together commercials."
Then there's the publicity committee that seeks community support from businesses. They also have fundraisers, such as the Mr. Amador contestants dressing up to deliver Valentine's Grams with flowers to girls on Valentine's Day.
"The girls get to choose which boy delivers it," Garcia said. "It's generally pretty popular."
Tomorrow as the Special Olympics is held on campus, the contenders will be serving a pancake breakfast, which is the group's biggest fundraiser.
The committee and contestants are committed to making money for the George Mark Children's Home, a pediatric palliative care center for seriously ill children and their families.
"This year we decided to have everyone go visit the house so they'd feel more passionately about it," Garcia said. "You walk in and it's like a home. It's meant for the families so they aren't living in a hospital environment."
The Mr. Amador event itself, on March 26, also raises money. Tickets for students who have joined ASB are $5; non-ASB are $7; others are $10 at the door.
"Definitely the families of all the boys come, and their extended families," Garcia said. "And a lot of other parents do enjoy coming to watch it, too."
"The boys will all be introduced, and there will be a fashion show," she said. "This year's theme is controversial sports."
The contestants and their sports are:
* Hussain Ali -- Cheer
* Scott Bolin -- Parkour
* Simeon Comanescu -- River Dancing
* Anson Han -- Quidditch
* Nick Hasjim -- Ping Pong
* Chase Hennings -- Color Guard
* Nick Lopez -- Aerobics
* Dev Rishi -- Cricket
* Ryan Mahoney -- Rodeo
* Tommy Yozzo -- Speed Stacking
Each contestant will have an escort, a girlfriend or a friend, who takes them through a Q&A.
"Some questions are more serious, some are fun," Garcia said.
"There are several dances throughout the show they are working hard on perfecting," she added.
The evening will take on a more serious note as a video is shown of the contestants visiting the George Mark Children's House.
In former years the audience has voted for the winner but this year there will be two shows, at 5:30 and 8:30 p.m., Monday, March 26. The winners are chosen 50% by peer votes cast after the show, and 50% by a judging panel of teachers.
"The next day on the quad it's announced," Garcia said. "And it will be on the marquee in front of school."
The Mr. Amador directors and all the boys will deliver the proceeds to the George Mark Children's House in mid-April, to allow time for donations to be made after the show.
"My favorite part about the show is getting to watch all of these boys from different social circles and grades come together and rally the school to get behind this great cause," Garcia said. "They have all put their heart and soul into this show, knowing that it is on them to not only raise money for George Mark but to represent Amador well."