The Trailblazer

Mr. Pascack Hills Preview

Eric Ganz and Ed Sandt run the freshest show at Hills. Photo by Josh Cooper.

Eric Ganz and Ed Sandt run the freshest show at Hills. Photo by Josh Cooper.

Josh Cooper

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Listen to the podcast of this interview here

The “freshest” competition at Pascack Hills returns on November 20th. Ran by Eric Ganz and Ed Sandt, the Mr. Pascack Hills competition will see contestants, including teachers and students, compete for the famed jacket and title.

The title of Mr. Pascack Hills is one of the most prestigious in the school. According to Ganz, the winner “represents freshness and all that is good and right about Pascack Hills.” So what does it take to win the award?  “The ability to grow quality facial hair is very important. Above all, they need to be fresh.” As the competition nears, the contestants are preparing to step up to the throne. They need to impress the audience and also display a great amount of freshness. They can learn a lot from former winners like Vinny Nepro, according to Sandt.

“Two years ago, a non competitor won. Vinny Lambert was the winner, as he was the most fresh” Sandt said. “Things like that encompass our show.”

As of now, the competition is wide open. All of the competitors have their strengths, and have the tools to win.

Frank Scott is a senior who, among many things, does the morning announcements and has a Trailblazer series called “Think Fast.” Scott is definitely one of the favorites to win. “Everybody thinks he will win, but no one ever knows who will really win,” Sandt said. Ganz reasoned that Scott was a favorite because he “never met a Frank I didn’t like.”

Marc Hernandez and Brett Kravatz are competing together, a rarity for the event. “They are a duo,” Sandt said. As leaders of the Cowboy Crazies this year, the duo certainly has the spirit needed for the event.

Michael Ruberto is a quieter name in the competition, but he is ready to surprise his peers when the competition rolls around. “Word on the street is that Ruberto is a dark horse,” Ganz said. Though he isn’t an early favorite like Scott, Sandt thinks he can win because “you can see different sides of people that you never saw before when the show starts.” He cited Robert Salgado’s victory, as he is typically a quiet guy around the school. When the show started, Salgado showed a new, fresh side of himself which propelled him to the victory.

Alex Couto is boldly putting his hat in the ring as the lone junior. “He’s got four names, that’s pretty fresh,” Ganz said. Couto is a young contestant, but it seems as though he has the freshness to keep up with his competitors.

Stephen Comanto, a chemistry teacher, will be representing the teachers in the competition. “Many people think science teachers aren’t fresh, but they are,” Ganz said. “We have a long history of science teachers in the show.”

Also competing are Abilio Cerdeira, Matt Gheduzzi, Carnig Shakarjian, and the band teacher Mr. Dore.

Freshness encompasses the atmosphere of the event. The contestants are fresh. What they do is fresh. The jacket the winner gets is fresh. So what does it mean to be fresh?

“We told Mr. Dore that we don’t want real talent. We want freshness, something unique. A lot of people have talent, but not all talented people are fresh,” Ganz said. “Freshness is a state of mind.”

Judging how fresh the contestants are are Brooks Alexander and Deborah Horn. “Judging is top secret,” Sandt said. “No one really knows what goes into the judging process.”

Alexander is qualified to judge because he “tells it how it is.” Sandt and Ganz went on to refer to the judge as their “big toe.”

According to Ganz, Horn is qualified to judge because she is “smart and fresh. She brings legitimacy to the process.” Sandt also added that “it doesn’t hurt to have a Princeton graduate on our judging panel.”

According to Sandt, students should come to the show because “the students that miss it always feel like they missed out.”

“There are a lot of awful moments in the show, but nothing’s better than the highlights,” Ganz said. “The lows are low, but the highs are high.”

“I’m looking forward to the smiles, the freshness, and the PST’s,” Ganz said. “We have an orchestra named after the PST’s, but nobody knows what they are.”

The competition will certainly be a night full of laughs, intrigue, and of course freshness. Pre-sale tickets will be out soon for five dollars, and will rise to ten dollars at the door.

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