February 20, 2015
Filed under News, Top Stories
The Student Union’s Cambria Room was packed with 290 people Thursday to watch 16 male students vie for the Mr. UPJ crown.
The 32nd annual Mr. UPJ Pageant hosted by the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority was a night full of talent, showmanship and etiquette on display.
Junior Stephen Karel was crowned the pageant winner, representing the Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority.
“It is humbling to be Mr. UPJ, but it wasn’t just me,” Karel said.
Karel thanked Alpha Sigma Alpha sisters and his friends, Tyler Adams and Shannon Sanders, for helping him with the competition’s talent proportion.
“They stuck with me through thick and thin, and it all worked out in the end,” said Karel.
All proceeds from the event benefited the Alpha Gamma Delta Foundation for Diabetes Research.
The Foundation provides affords grants to support members and others who are living with diabetes.
Philanthropy is imperative when it comes to the sorority’s charitable acts.
Over the past 10 years, the sorority has raised more than $2,000, according to the Pitt-Johnstown admissions’ Twitter account.
It was undetermined as to whether this year’s event reached $2,000, but senior Alpha Gamma Delta Philanthropy Coordinator Amanda Mudgett said that it was the most attended Mr. UPJ Pageant held inside the Cambria Room.
“We had only 250 seats available and sold around 290 tickets,” she said.
“I’m really proud of all the contestants, they really did work hard and were really the best contestants we had since I have gone to school here.”
The pageant started with a formalwear category in which contestants have a chance to show off charm and confidence while dressing dapperly.
Participants walked out to music with Alpha Gamma Delta sisters as escorts.
Next was the sportswear event based on physical fitness and included how skilled the contestants were at a specific sport.
The competition included a kickboxing demonstration, a choreographed boxing match and a hurdler.
After the intermission, the talent category was next in which contestants were judged on talent, performance and creativity.
This event mostly featured lip syncs of popular songs.
The last event was an interview in which each contestant was asked a random question.
Different from years past and as requested by Vice President of Student Affairs Shawn Brooks, not only were they asked a question, but also each participant had to spell a word.
That was not a bright point of the pageant as five of the 16 competitors misspelled their word.
“Creativity has a lot do with how we decided who was the next Mr. UPJ,” Residence Life Director Shaun Hemphill said.
Hemphill was a late fill-in on the judge’s panel for S&S Custom Designs Owner Sheryl Helsel.
He, along with Programming Coordinator Amstrid Gomez and Student Life Assistant Director Jeanne Susko, chose Mr. UPJ as well as the Spirit Award and second and third place.
Education Club representative Bryce Henny won the Spirit award while Panhellenic Council representative Brandon Dargay and Phi Sigma Sigma representative Mike Shields finished runner-up and second runner-up.
The winner, however, was unclear, as there may have been an error in tabulating the judges’ votes.