The 31st Annual Mr. East Competition
April 12, 2018
The 31st annual Mr. East pageant will take place this Friday, April 13, at 7:00 pm in the auditorium. Chairladies Sabrina DeAbreu (‘18), Maggie Hallinan (‘18), Jillian Rivera (‘18), and Hope Rosenblatt (‘18) are excited to present an exciting and entertaining night. This year’s contestants are Brad Coolahan (Mr. Big Sexy), Sean Escareal (Mr. Big Sean, DJ Gorenberg (Mr. DJ Fit), Drew Hoffman (Mr. Hoffline Bling), Nishaad Khedkar (Mr. Brownish), Kriswel Rivera (Mr. Wellfire), Kevin Stankiewicz (Mr. Stanky Leg), Harrison Smith (Mr. Anything You Can Do), Joshua Sodicoff (Mr. Scholarcoff), and Louis Zimmermann (Mr. Just LOU It). This year’s competition has a circus theme. Throughout the night 10 Mr. East hopefuls will show off choreography designed by dance chairladies Sari Cohen (‘18), Carly Greenblatt (‘18), and Maddie Levin (‘18), partially inspired by the 2017 movie The Greatest Showman. The event is sponsored by East’s Student Government Association. Tickets, which cost $5, can be purchased during lunch in front of the auditorium through April 13th. To get to know the contestants, keep scrolling!
Filmed by Luke Shin ('19)
Louis Zimmermann: Mr. Just Lou It
If you are looking on stage at a dance competition, you will find him there. If you are looking for the Vice President of the Class of 2018 for three years or the President of the French club, you will find him. If you are looking in F087, you will find him there too.
Louis Zimmermann (‘18), or Mr. Just LOU It, is looking to light up the Cherry Hill East stage on April 13 for the highly coveted Mr. East title. As a seasoned competitor, he knows how to keep an audience entertained.
“I will win [Mr. East] because… all of the other contestants underestimate my capabilities and don’t know what’s going to hit them when they see [my performance]” said Zimmermann.
Zimmermann will wow the audience by dancing through the centuries, starting in the 1920’s. He is no stranger to dancing, as he started dancing competitively when he was 13 years old. He participates in a variety of styles, including hip hop, contemporary and jazz.
“I love dance and I do it six out of seven days a week,” Zimmermann said.
At school, Zimmermann spends his day taking a copious amount of honors classes. He is involved in Science Honor Society, French Honor Society and Social Studies Honor Society. His lunch breaks are jam packed; you can find him in FO87 during LB1 hanging out with his Eastside buddies and in the Class of 2018 SGA homeroom LB2, where he plans school dances and other school related events. When the bell rings at 2:30, he “sprints like a savage” to his car and goes home to eat his whole pantry before attending dance.
In addition to his extremely busy schedule, Zimmermann finds time to hang out with his friends. He cherishes the time he spends with them.
“My friends would describe me as school-spirited, enthusiastic, passionate and hardworking,” Zimmerman said.
As he starts to think about his life after high school, Zimmermann has high hopes. He was recently accepted to Boston College and plans to attend next fall to major in biology and minor in either dance or journalism. He hopes to become a doctor that specializes in pediatrics. He is involved in the Future Doctors of America club at East.
Zimmermann believes that if one works hard in school and in life, success will come. He hopes all of his hard work will pay off and he knows he will win the title of Mr. East.
Filmed by Luke Shin ('19)
Sean Escareal: Mr. Big Sean
You may remember him from previous Multicultural Days appearances, Coffeehouse performances or more simply as the guy crushing it on the dance floor at just about every school function, but come April 13th, you are going to witness Sean Escareal (‘18), also known as Mr. Big Sean take the stage in a way like never before.
Though most of us recognize him for his iconic breakdancing, Escareal assures us that his upcoming performance is sure to be a big surprise as it includes elements of singing and rapping in addition to his dancing. Who knew he could be such a Renaissance man?
Much like his competition, Escareal has dedicated the past couple weeks to Mr. East, pouring hours and hours into perfecting his act, but unlike the remaining contestants, his motives behind doing so may shock you.
To Escareal, Mr. East was never about beating out his peers or about winning the coveted first place. Rather, it is about creating memories and about leaving his impact on the East stage.
“I loved performing for others on the East stage these past couple years, and I do not want Multicultural Day to have to be my last,” said Escareal, overwhelmed with nostalgia. “This is when I realized I needed to participate in Mr. East.”
For Escareal, Mr. East is the culmination of four years of intricate choreography and pre-planned skits, dancing with his best friends and organizing formations on stage. Really, this is his last chance to perform for the student body and his last chance to leave East with a bang. To him, this is far more important than actually being crowned Mr. East.
“At the moment, I am not really looking at this or at anyone else as a competition,” said Escareal. “We are all just here to have fun and give a good performance.”
But, don’t let his easy going manner fool you just yet. Escareal, with his originality in dance, still poses a major threat to the rest of the contestants. Though reluctant to divulge too much information regarding his performance, he does admit to having one secret weapon: humor.
“I love to make people laugh,” said Escareal, “and the best part is, not many people will be expecting it.”
So get ready Cherry Hill East. Mr. Big Sean is coming, and though he often compares himself to the “circus seals,” his act is sure to include far more tricks than simply balancing a beach ball on the head.
Filmed by Luke Shin ('19)
Josh Sodicoff: Mr. ScholarCoff
Occasionally Eccentric? Definitely
Though all these words could be used to describe Josh Sodicoff (’18), also known as Mr. ScholarCoff, no word better encapsulates his personality than the word “scholar.”
Sodicoff first realized the extent of this word his freshman year under the presence of Dr. Lawyer Chapman, the school principal at the time.
“Dr. Chapman was the greatest principal of all time– sorry Dr. Perry, I mean I know we are tight and all, but, there was just something about his [Dr. Chapman’s] demeanor, how much he cared about being a scholar. I was into that,” said Sodicoff.
To truly honor his role model, Sodicoff printed out pictures of him, framed them and placed them throughout his room. Each night, he would pray to Dr. Chapman to one day become a coveted scholar. Come time to pick a Mr. East name, Sodicoff reflected on what it means to be a scholar and what it means to be a Sodicoff, and couldn’t help but notice the uncanny resemblance.
His self-proclaimed title “scholar” is of course well deserved. On any given day, Sodicoff can be found running the debate team, covering stories for Eastside, voicing school opinion as the Board of Education Representative, designing a robot or even playing the mandolin, just to name a few. As Sodicoff puts it, “I’m pretty much involved in everything.”
But with so many talents and so many extracurriculars, what could he possibly do for the talent portion of his act? Though reluctant to divulge too much information, he did hint, although very ambiguously, that it is designed to have the audience “reflect on the future.”
“I will be engaging in some word play, while simultaneously really demonstrating how I think about the world, really showing the audience what it means to peak in high school,” said Sodicoff.
What does that mean? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. What Sodicoff can confirm is that his act will feature music, sock puppets, and a whole lot of personality, as per expected of any performance.
By nature, Sodicoff is a memorable person, and his performance is expected to be no less.
“I tend to be a little bit dramatic, a little bit Deadpan,” said Sodicoff. “I try to make my words rhyme and to create a sort of cadence.” Above all, “you can expect my act to be scholarly, much like myself.”
But even with an exciting act in the works, Sodicoff still has a great deal of competition laid out before him. Of particular interest is Mr. BrowNish, better known as Nishaad Khedkar (‘18).
“Something you have to remember is that Nishaad stole my entire act,” said Sodicoff sarcastically. At first I contemplated changing mine, but then I realized that I would just do it better than him.”
Though beating out the competition is not going to be easy for Sodicoff with contestants like Khedkar in the mix, Mr. East is something that Sodicoff has wanted to compete in since the day he walked into high school. Having waited more than four years for this now, Sodicoff is more than ready to give it his all.
“I’ve always wanted to do Mr. East and a win would honestly mean so much. With my grandmothers birthday coming up, I am doing this as a gift to her, even though I don’t really think she is going to get it,” said Sodicoff.
But regardless of whether she understands the gift or not, Sodicoff encourages everyone to come out to Mr. East Friday, April 13th to witness him dance like he’s never danced before (seriously, he has no experience dancing), joke around with the audience and really get us to think about the future. Besides which is cooler: typical acrobatics or a real life scholar? I think the answer is pretty clear.
Filmed by Luke Shin ('19)
Nishaad Khedkar: Mr. BrowNish
Look out, Cherry Hill East. On Friday, April 13, Mr. BrowNish– better known as Nishaad Khedkar (‘18)– will take the Mr. East competition stage by storm.
Khedkar is a self-proclaimed “dabbler” who enjoys tennis, piano, volunteering and robotics and participates in East clubs such as Bridge Tutoring, Standardized Testing Initiative Club, Robotics Club, Debate Team, Indian Cultural Society, Math Club, Physics Club, Business/Marketing Club and Science Olympiad, to name a few. With such a variety of talents and hobbies at his disposal, he is confident in his ability to “charm” the audience.
Khedkar is eager to toss his hat into the ring and hopes to tack the title of Mr. East onto his lengthy resumé. As someone who believes he is best described as “focused, driven and hopefully funny,” it should come as no surprise that Khedkar is in it to win it.
Since a pivotal part of any competition or performance is the mentality, Khedkar makes sure to live his life with a positive mindset.
“I remember in Madagascar, Alex the lion always used to say, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,’” said Khedkar. “I think that’s a good philosophy to have. If stuff’s working out for you, you just have to… look around, measure where you are and be happy with what you have.”
Though he hopes to come away from the competition with a win, Khedkar plans to carry this philosophy onto the stage with him and be grateful for the experience.
Khedkar’s advice for his fans? “Follow your dreams,” he said. “A lot of people ask me… how do you achieve the things that you have? I just say that you just have to work hard. Even if you don’t think that you’re good at something, you just have to work hard.”
In the future, Khedkar hopes to make a difference in the world. His ambitions include using his passions for physics and engineering to “do something really cool for the world,” such as researching nuclear fusion in the hopes of bettering the planet and saving energy. Until then, Mr. BrowNish is prepared to make his mark on the Mr. East competition.
Filmed by Luke Shin ('19)
Drew Hoffman: Mr. Hoffline Bling
Drew Hoffman, aka Mr. Hoffline Bling, could have been seen all around East in his past four years as a student. Whether it be running the track in both the spring and winter, working as an SGA representative, qualifying for the DECA state competitions, donating blood, or writing for Eastside, Hoffman truly is everywhere.
Balancing all of these activities may seem difficult, but it is second-nature to Hoffman who puts his best foot forward in everything he does.
In general, Hoffman has a very outgoing nature.
“If you see me in the hallway, I am probably smiling, waving at somebody or making a weird face,” said Hoffman.
His outgoing nature is furthered through his open-minded personality, but best exemplified in the way he listens to others ideas and perspectives in his role as SGA representative.
Once having Math as his favorite subject, then History, and now everything, Hoffman has a fair amount of motivation to go along with his academics.
“When I am studying for a test or doing a simple assignment, I think about my future in twenty years and how doing well now can help me in the future,” said Hoffman.
Outside of school, Hoffman shows his nostalgic side when watching sports highlights from Philadelphia’s greatest sports victories.
Although sports play a large role in Hoffman’s life, there are a host of other topics that add to Hoffman’s multifaceted nature and his inspiration for everyday life.
“My inspiration is the idea that I can live a very successful and happy life. My number one goal is to be happy and have a family who cares for each other,” said Hoffman.
Throughout all of his years participating in many activities, Hoffman will not miss the school as much as he will miss his fellow peers.
“I’ve been used to these people for the past twelve years of my life, so it will be weird to go from people I am used to to people I am not,” said Hoffman.
Although Hoffman’s high school career may be over, he is excited to continue onto Ohio State University where he will be plans on being their number one sports fan, just as he believes he has been the biggest cheerleader for East.
Filmed by Luke Shin ('19)
Brad Coolahan: Mr. Big Sexy
Armed with confidence, spirit, and a fun-loving attitude, Brad Coolahan, aka Mr. Big Sexy, is ready to stake his claim to this year’s Mr. East title.
Coolahan was inspired to compete by Sam Amon, aka Mr. Samazing, who won Mr. East back in 2015. Amon and Coolahan shared a longtime bond through their time spent together at Tall Pines camp, where they both now work during the summer after several years as campers. He describes himself as someone who is “laid-back, but can get crazy,” and plans to wow the crowd with a relaxed but multifaceted act.
“I think my act has a lot of laid-back parts,” Coolahan said. “Like, we have parts where I’m chilling out, parts where I’m singing, parts with heartbreak…there’s a little bit of everything in my act.”
When he’s not practicing for the competition, Coolahan participates in FOP and remains active in the East blood drive. This year, he led the recently revived East Countrymen. In order to keep spirits high within the Countrymen, Coolahan relied on a combination of the morale-boosting success of certain East teams, and clever promotional tactics.
“The hockey team had a lot to do with it, but [we used] clever promotions, like a lot of Photoshop, to try getting fans out…stuff like that will get, like, a lot of retweets and favorites,” Coolahan explains. He hopes to use his skills in leadership and pep to rally the Mr. East judges in favor of ‘Mr. Big Sexy’.
Coolahan’s Mr. East persona is also sure to hint at worldly expertise, as he loves to travel. He just got back from a trip to the Bahamas; other recent travel destinations included Alabama and the Dominican republic, a particular favorite of his. While on vacation, Coolahan typically enjoys hanging out with locals, playing volleyball, and swimming.
When performing in front of hundreds of his peers, Coolahan hopes to overcome the pitfalls of his rocky past in the limelight, but doesn’t expect that he will have any trouble.
“I don’t really have much stage fright. I mean, when I was in the fifth grade, I was like [class] secretary or something, and I had to announce the names for a prize, and I messed them all up, so the whole first-grade class made fun of me,” Coolahan explained. “And that put me in a stage-fright kind of place, but, you know, I bounced back.”
What’s next for Coolahan after Mr. East, and East itself? He plans to attend the University of Alabama, where he will “start [his] fraternity career” and major in finance, eventually transitioning into a career in real estate.
For now, though, he is excited to take part in one of East’s most hotly anticipated traditions.
“Mr. East is a big part of the school,” Coolahan said. “It brings the whole school together while making ten dudes look like complete fools.”
Whether Coolahan’s unique vibe will elevate him to the top of the competition or fulfill his own prophecies about the nature of Mr. East, only time will tell.
Filmed by Luke Shin ('19)
DJ Gorenberg: Mr. DJ Fit
Participating in the Mr. East competition may require a lot of effort, but the grind is nothing new to Mr. DJ Fit, who most know as DJ Gorenberg (‘18). As a former “sponsored athlete” on Instagram– you can still follow him @mrdjfit– who also busies himself by playing baseball for East, leading the Fitness Club and working out in his spare time, Gorenberg is no stranger to hard work.
Gorenberg’s affinity for fitness will make an appearance onstage on Friday, April 13 when, for the talent portion, he will perform a parody of P90X, a workout that Gorenberg simply describes as “pretty much death.”
He may be a fitness maniac, but Gorenberg– who describes himself as motivated and outgoing– is far from one-dimensional. In addition to playing East baseball and running the Fitness Club, he also participates in Spirit Week Dance, Athletes Against Bullying, marching band, band and chorus at East and considers himself to be both a dabbler in magic and a “professional cuddler.”
Though the Mr. East competition does not occur until the second semester of one’s senior year, Gorenberg has known that Mr. East was a title he wanted to earn for a very long time.
“Honestly, I decided freshman year that I was going to be in Mr. East,” said Gorenberg. “I went with my friends… and we were all sitting there and we looked at each other and said, ‘I’m doing this.’”
For Gorenberg, it has been a long journey from Mr. East audience to stage, but he feels that he deserves the title because he has wanted it for so long.
“I’ve been thinking about this for such a long time and I’ve been working really hard for it. I had my friends come over during spring break and we practiced,” he said. “It’s a whole journey… I think I’ve put in a lot of work, I’ve done a lot, and I think that I can win. I hope that I can do it.”
When he finally steps on the stage to make his Mr. East debut, Gorenberg is prepared to have a great time and appreciate all of the work he has put into the competition, as well as the friends he got out of it.
“I’m not a dancer, so learning the dances was really difficult for me, but once I got it, now I just want to have fun. I want to go out there, I want to be with my friends,” said Gorenberg. “I’ve grown close to the guys I’m with and I want to have fun with them. It’s some friendly competition.”
To catch Mr. DJ Fit working up a sweat onstage, be sure to hustle out to Mr. East on Friday, April 13.
Filmed by Luke Shin ('19)
Harrison Smith: Mr. Anything You Can Do
Anything you can do, Harrison Smith (‘18) (Mr. Anything You Can Do) can do better. Hailing from the Thespian Society, Voce, Stay Tuned, East Singers, Cum Laude, the National French Honors Society, and the Performing and Visual Arts Society (PAVAS), Smith hopes to bring his many talents to the East stage this Friday in the 31st Annual Mr. East competition.
Smith’s Mr. East name is based off of a song title from the musical “Annie, Get Your Gun,” in which two characters spar verbally over who is more talented.
“The whole thing is that I…am just a very well-rounded person, master of all trades…anything you can do, I can do better,” said Smith.
However, unlike the many times Smith has taken the stage to play the lead role in one of East’s biannual drama productions, the persona he will be bringing to life will be entirely his own.
“It’s a lot of freedom of performance that I never got before,” said Smith “I’m always on stage, and I have to play a certain part. Now I just get to play whatever I want to do, and really ham it up however I want, which is pretty exciting.”
Smith describes himself as an incredibly competitive person, sometimes to a fault, but believes that his confidence will be an invaluable asset to him in this competition.
“I’ve lost so much of my dignity over the past four years that I say that I can do whatever I want on stage and not get too embarrassed,” said Smith.
Smith says that he is viewed largely as a lighthearted person, but that many do not get to see the more serious side of him, a side he wants to make more students aware of.
“I take other people…seriously, even though I…make myself seem ridiculous,” said Smith.
In addition to this serious side, one thing is clear, Smith is serious about winning this competition. He is most looking forward to the talent portion of the night, where he will be performing for eight minutes. He also promises that his opening act will be very strong.
“[The talent portion] is all personal, and I get to run an eight-minute act by myself…” said Smith. “I’m excited for people to see the talent act I have ready because it’s definitely something…it shows off all my best qualities, I’d say”
While Smith can do anything better than you, it remains until Friday to be seen whether he can do anything better than his competition.
Filmed by Luke Shin ('19)
Kevin Stankiewicz: Mr. Stanky Leg
This April 13th, Kevin “Stanky Leg” Stankiewicz is the man to watch. His performance mixes (quite literally) smoothies, comedy and the talent of having no obvious talent at all.
“I have the best talent that isn’t actually a talent…my talent is not having a talent, that’s what makes me a talent… I’m different because I’m not talented,” said Stankiewicz on what makes his performance stand out from the nine other Mr. East hopefuls gracing the East stage this month.
The talent portion of his act is largely inspired by his job at Smoothie King, which will certainly set him apart from the other contestants. This performance isn’t the only thing that makes him Mr. East material, however. Stankiewicz is a dedicated member of the school community. He has been involved with East’s renowned theater program since his sophomore year, where he works in the technical crew, building and designing elaborate sets for East shows. Recent endeavors of his include the fall show of “It’s a Wonderful Life” and the spring production of “Music Man”. In the upcoming “One Acts,” mini-plays performed and directed by students, Stankiewicz is the Technical Director of two of the acts. This contestant is also a part of the Yearbook staff, working hard on the yearbook for the 2017-2018 school year.
Along with extracurriculars, Mr. “Stanky Leg” focuses on his education, and will be pursuing a degree in engineering at Purdue University in Indiana starting this fall. Throughout his East career, he was motivated by many teachers, but he attributes his greatest inspiration as being Jason DeFuria, a biology teacher. “What inspires me is that he teaches, has fun and enjoys his job,” said Stankiewicz.
He knew that he would one day grace the Mr. East stage ever since freshman year, when he saw the contestants of the class of 2015 and knew he could do better.
But why does Mr. “Stanky Leg” see himself as Mr. East 2018?
“Because I have school spirit…I’m a little bit of everyone from this school. I have a little of the sports kids, a little of the theater, some of the hip-hop and breakdancing kids. I’m in the center,” said Stankiewicz.
If you want to see a blend of comedy, excitement and classmates putting on the show of a lifetime, be sure to attend the competition this Friday, April 13th in the East theater to watch all ten contestants compete for the honor of being titled Mr. East 2018.
Kriswel Rivera: Mr. Wellfire
Coming soon to a stage near you: the inimitable Kriswel Rivera, aka “Mr. Wellfire”, is looking to not only impress his parents at the Mr. East competition on April 13, but to also capture the attention of the fickle East audience with what he describes as his “straightforward, and possibly itchy,” personality – a fittingly unique descriptor for Rivera’s indisputable individuality.
Although he is anxious to give his family a good show, Rivera does not anticipate being held back by stage fright along the way.
“I’m fine around audiences, as long as they do not throw tomatoes at me,” said Rivera. “I think that is my worst fear, right next to rejection.”
In fact, Rivera is no stranger to the East stage. In addition to competing in last year’s Lip Sync competition, he is a proud participant in the East theater program. Rivera was inspired to get involved in theater after watching a previous East production of Flowers for Algernon, where he was wowed by a fun bit of stage combat.
“I saw some guy getting punched in the face and realized, ‘Wait, he gets to do that six more times…!’ I was convinced,” recalls Rivera, whose own most recent acting credits include this year’s productions of It’s a Wonderful Life and The Music Man.
Rivera also has a passion for cooking and baking. His favorite thing to cook is paella, a Spanish rice dish, as well as any form of pasta. Asked whether this talent will play a role in his act, Rivera remained both cryptic and decisive, stating “Definitely not,” in what he specified “wasn’t [his] sarcastic voice at all.” Someday, he hopes to open a restaurant with his best friend, with whom he “will be cooking up great dishes until the age of 60, when my children prematurely put me in a nursing home,” Rivera predicted.
When he’s not busy in the kitchen, Rivera enjoys riding his bike around local parks – “as long as they aren’t filled with ducks who are trying to kill me,” he said.
While he might fear Cherry Hill’s murderous duck population, Rivera certainly does not fear his Mr. East competition. “I feel like the only people that could put me down are my parents, if they don’t laugh at my jokes,” Rivera said.
All jokes aside, Rivera values the Mr. East competition as a way to bring valuable entertainment to an often groggy and stressed-out school community. “Mr. East definitely means spirit, character,” Rivera said. “I believe that Mr. East is definitely the opportunity to students to really show their stripes, their true colors, and just let go.”
When asked if he considers his impending Mr. East performance to be a form of comic relief for the school, Rivera replied, “Comedy is subjective.”
Rivera’s diverse hobbies, infectious quirkiness, and sharply honed sarcasm are sure to make his run one to be remembered when he takes the stage on April 13th.
Just don’t bring any tomatoes.