Sixteen Finalists Announced for Mr. NDA XXII


Max Timmer, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

Eleven seniors and five juniors will be competing for the title of Mr. NDA XXII on Saturday, December 2, in the Notre Dame Academy auditorium at 7 p.m.  

Senior contestants include Jack Allen, Jack Flis, Paul Gapinski, Andrew Gruesen, Ben Lelinski, Charlie Lemkuil, Sam Nennig, Max Pallini, Alex Ruiz, Jonathon Fry and Eric Weycker. Junior contestants include Mitch Chosa, Sam Drake, Fuzz French, Elliot McGinnity Schneider and Theo Van Straten.

Mr. NDA is a competition of 15 junior or senior boys who compete in three categories of tuxedo, talent and Q and A. The contestants are scored based on a rubric scale and whoever has the highest score is crowned Mr. NDA.

The voting for Mr. NDA starts with every senior and junior boys’ name on the ballot. All students at Notre Dame vote 5, and the top 40 vote-getters make it to the next round. After that, students vote again for the best 3, and the 15 with the most votes make it into Mr. NDA.

“I’m very excited. Should be really fun. Should be a great show. Everyone should come out,” said Fuzz French, one of the contestants. French is one of the five juniors competing for the title, and this will be his ninth appearance in Mr. NDA.  

Mr. NDA has been an event at Notre Dame for about 22 years.

“The most important thing is the tradition,” said Carolyn Brown, an English teacher and adviser for Mr. NDA.

Brown first brought the idea from the high school where she taught in Illinois.

“The idea from Mr. NDA came from a show put on by the Drama Club at Hoffman Estates High School,” said Brown.

Hired as Student Government moderator in 1995, Brown was challenged by Sr. Pat Clement, NDA principal, to organize a week of activities called Fall Festival Week as the replacement for homecoming. Mr. NDA was one of the week’s activities, and Jeff Lutsey became the first Triton to wear the crown.

“We are constantly thinking of Mr. NDA,” said Mrs. Julie Campbell, another veteran adviser of the show. Other staff members working on the current show are Frau Laaksonen,who heads up Student Government, Mrs. Sarah Van Grunsven and Ms. Holly Strong, who emceed the show when she was a senior here.

Mr. NDA unites and brings people together for a fun night.

“I think the strength of the show is how many people are involved,” said Brown.

Sophomore and freshman girls serve as “rampeteers” and walk out with the contestants in their tuxedo entrance.  Men’s Wearhouse provides the tuxedo wear for the contestants as well as Mr. Matt Schultz, who will conduct the Q & A.

Senior girls compete for the dual emcee role, and that audition will take place Wednesday. Nov. 15. Senior girls also prepare a dance number, and numerous other students  videotape, work with the technical crew headed by alum Jake Gerlikovsky and play roles in contestants’ performances.

Tickets will be sold to students the week prior to the show, to the general public the day before the show. Mr. NDA is always a sold-out show.  Money raised by the show is used by Student Government to defray the cost of Academy Ball with a portion of the funds donated to charity.