Chase Pirozzi crowned Mr. Pioneer

After weeks of anticipation, Chase Pirozzi was crowned Mr. Pioneer last night in the contest sponsored by the high school PTO. Pirozzi, who represented student council, took the prize while George Grau, who represented outdoor club, and Ben Rhoades, who represented Pioneer Interact, took first and second runner-up respectively.
The 2016 Mr. Pioneer contestants (from L): Teddy Mazaheri, Chaz Wolf, second runner-up Ben Rhoades, Kevin Reed, winner Chase Pirozzi, Andrew Hay, first runner-up George Grau, Sam Welk, Tyler Thomas, and Justin Burkett
If you didn’t come out to see the Mr. Pioneer competition on Saturday night, you missed an extremely grueling and intense event that required months of practice, rehearsing, and judging expertise. Nothing like this had ever happened at L-S before, and although the crowd was rather small compared to other school events, it was definitely worth watching.
Chase Pirozzi, Ben Rhoades, and George Grau
Of course, the contest was emceed by none other than high school social studies teachers, Mr. Shockey and Mr. Titter. Throughout the show, they provided improvised comedy and their usual friendly banter. They also introduced Ben Pontz as the true “higher power” of L-S, who helped by being a behind-the-curtain announcer.

The contest started out with introductions – each candidate entered in a costume with appropriate music, after which editor-in-chief Ben Pontz read a short but embarrassing story written by the contestant’s parents. Justin Burkett, representing LSNews (go Justin!) was dressed as a pioneer and warmed up the crowd with his usual easy stage presence. George Grau, representing the Outdoor Club, did not wear his superman underwear (not over his pants anyway), but did don boxing gloves. He was followed by Andrew Hay, who probably had the most interesting costume, a lovely evening gown, complete with a pearl necklace. Andrew was the only participant not standing in for a club – he was instead representing his AP Biology homeroom. If you know Andrew, you know that he loves to have fun, and that was his goal for Mr. Pioneer.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, Mr. Pioneer was actually all about having fun. It is probably the least stressful event that has come to the PAC stage in a long while.

Next, Teddy Mazaheri entered the stage dressed as a colonial, representing MUN. Following Teddy was Chase Pirozzi, nominated by student council, who initially confused the crowd with his completely shredded t-shirt and pants, until he explained that he is aspiring to be Kanye West’s fashion designer. Later he confessed that he ripped his pants before the show and decided to just roll with it (who knows what he was going to wear beforehand).

Quiz bowl nominee, Kevin Reed, calmly walked on stage, and was soon dubbed the “fatherly figure” of the group. However, we learned that he had a deep passion for Bob the Builder as a child. Next, Ben Rhoades, representing Pioneer Interact, certainly brought energy to the stage by running down the aisle in a morph suit. Tyler Thomas, representing Ski and Snowboard club, fulfilling his goal of giving back to the community impersonated Rocky and then ripping off his pants (the crowd went wild at his short shorts). Strasburg firefighter Sam Welk joined the other contestants on stage as the delegate for FCS. Lastly, Chaz Wolf, representing NHS, just wanted to make his dog, Percy, proud. Also, he revealed that his “flavor” is Vanilla Ice Cream.

The next round featured a “beachwear competition”. The boys danced to “I’m Too Sexy” in their beach getup (it was mostly appropriate except for Tyler Thomas’ even shorter shorts, and Chaz Wolf scared the judges with his rollerblades - he wasn’t even wearing kneepads!). The last round consisted of the judges, a panel of high school faculty, asking each candidate a random question (think: Ms. Congeniality). The contestants, dressed mostly in suits except for Justin Burkett (he later had to give the red silk bathrobe back to his mother), had to improvise a creative answer.

In between the rounds, entertainment was provided by a Post Prom / Spring Blast commercial, a country band consisting of Mason Hess, Hannah Hess, and L-S alumnus Kyle Hancock, and a disturbing sumo wrestling presentation by several teachers.

During intermission, audience members were invited to vote by placing money into their favorite candidate’s jar in the lobby. The money counted for half of the score while the judges’ provided the other half. After intermission, Mr. Pioneer was finally crowned. The winner was Chase Pirozzi, closely followed by George Grau, and then Ben Rhoades as first and second runners up, respectively.

The other contestants were not disappointed that they didn’t win. Justin Burkett says, “Well, one good thing that came out of it, besides the fundraising, was the table of snacks provided for [the contestants] backstage.” After all, the whole show was meant to be a gag performance that the PTO organized to raise money for Post Prom and Spring Blast.

Student council, Chase’s club, will also receive a portion of the proceeds. editor-in-chief Benjamin Pontz pokes some 
fun at area schools during a brief  monologue between rounds

In the words of Ben Pontz, “thus endeth my report.”

View a playlist of videos via YouTube from the contest
View a HUGE gallery of photos via Google Photos
Plus several more Google Photos
View the program (PDF)

--Alyssa Van Lenten, Local Editor; Photos by Lauren Mast, Director of Sports Photography; Video by Kelly Harnish, Special to

Edited: BP

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