High School pageant kings, queens compete for crown

Mar 18, 2023

Twelve Dartmouth High School seniors took the stage on Friday, March 17 in Dartmouth’s Finest, a pageant of glitz, glamor and a surprising amount of twerking. 

The contestants were as follows: Aiden Mellow, who is currently president of the High School Fishing Club but hopes to be president of the United States someday; Phoenix Campbell, a fan of New York sports teams (prompting boos from the audience); Alex Cojocaru, who has played piano since she was 5; Aidan Carreiro, who has been to Disney World 16 times; Addison Stanley-Moore, an Oklahoma native and student teacher at Quinn Elementary; Sean Allen, described as “the least notable, though tallest, of tonight’s Seans;” Sean Martin, voted class president, Most Likely to Succeed and homecoming king; Ella Gibson, who calls herself a music nerd; Jake Chiquito, “a world-renowned sleeper who can take a nap at any time;” Matt Furtado, an all-star soccer player voted Best Eyes; and Sean Jenkins, who enjoys long walks on the beach with his dogs.

Dartmouth’s Finest had all the hallmarks of a traditional beauty pageant. Contestants strutted their stuff in formal wear, showed off their unique talents and answered interview questions. 

“If you woke up tomorrow and gained only one ability or quality,” Chiquito was asked, “what would you want it to be and why?” 

“Maybe kindness,” he said. “I think I have some, but I’d like a little more.”

Martin was asked what his biggest failure was.

“The inability to step outside of the school realm,” he said. “I’ve become very involved here at DHS, but many times, that’s caused my life outside the school to take a step back.”

The president of his class and a student athlete, on most nights he stays up past midnight doing homework.

“I want to enjoy myself more,” he said. “At the end of the day, we live on a big floating rock in outer space.” 

Allen was asked what he is most thankful for in life. He said that he is grateful for everything he didn’t have in his upbringing, because it brought him to where he is now. 

“I’ve been gifted a few things, like height, comedy, charisma, good looks,” he said. “But I didn’t have everything in life.” 

There was even a swimsuit portion — sort of. In beachwear, the contestants all danced to Katy Perry’s “California Gurls,” one of many musical numbers choreographed by Madyn Waskiewicz and Samarah Bruce.

The judges were four beloved Dartmouth High teachers; English teachers Jesse Grieve and Wesley Lima, special education teacher John Breault and history teacher Bryan Hellkamp.

“You know them, you love them and you probably have ten missing assignments from them,” said Bruce, who was also one of the pageant’s six hosts.

In a nod to Saint Patrick’s Day, the opening number saw the contestants become lords and ladies of the dance in a “Riverdance”-inspired performance. 

After that, the talent portion began. In tuxedo and tails, Cojocaru played Chopin’s Revolutionary Étude on the piano. Carreiro made balloon animals. Stanley-Moore sang Miranda Lambert’s “Gunpowder and Lead.” Gibson played the violin. A bewigged Martin impersonated Beyoncé, lip-syncing a medley of her hits. 

Allen did stand-up comedy, “roasting” his teachers and classmates. He had to rewrite the script four times before the school would approve it.

His biggest laugh line: “To my mom, thank you for being here. To my dad, if you’re here, it’s pretty awkward showing up after 15 years.” 

He also sang Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida” and played guitar.

Gibson played the violin. 

Jenkins impersonated the rapper Pitbull, driving the audience wild when he took off his bald cap to reveal that he actually shaved his head before coming on stage. 

“You know, I’d like to say I’m really one for the people,” Jenkins said after the show. “I try to enjoy it, to make people laugh.”

He originally planned to perform Billy Joel’s “Piano Man,” but switched to the Pitbull impersonation last week.

“Obviously it shocked a lot of people and I know my friends enjoyed it,” he said. “I made a lot of people laugh, and that’s all that matters.”

At the end of the night, it was Allen who took the Dartmouth’s Finest crown. 

“Nobody makes it up here alone,” he told the audience. “To those of you who supported me, thank you, and to those who didn’t, the crown fits fine.”

Allen said that he won because he enjoyed the competition. Even when learning his dance moves, rehearsal never felt like work. 

“It feels amazing, to be honest,” he said. “I guess it sounds conceited to say that I’ve been picturing this day for a while, but truthfully, between the support I’ve gotten, how hard I’ve worked for this and how many great people I’ve met… it feels amazing to win.”

All proceeds from the event went to the Dartmouth High School Class of 2024.