Mr. NDA Contest Announces New Guidelines, New Name for December Show

Maxwell Timmer, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

As of October 24, the Mr. NDA Contest has new guidelines and a new name. The Academy Awards will now be the new name for Mr. NDA.

The biggest change is that the Academy Awards allow female juniors and seniors to be on the ballot as contestants in the show.

Basically, all juniors and seniors will have to decide whether or not to have their name on the ballot for all-school voting for participants in the show.

“In response to years of suggestion, the staff advisers to the show have decided to open the door to the possibility of junior and senior girls participating as contestants in the show,” said the advisers of the Academy Awards in a written statement sent out to students, staff and parents.

“This decision has been brewing for a few years,” said Frau, one of the advisers for Mr. NDA. “It has not been a knee-jerk decision.”

While the decision is final, many students have mixed feelings on the change. Some say they will go as far as taking their name off the ballot for this year’s contest.

“I do not agree with the change. It’s going to break tradition, and it’ll ruin the identity of Mr. NDA,” said junior Evan Witczak.  

One student in particular voiced his opinion, stating “the problem with this whole situation is that no matter how much we voice our own opinions and concerns as students, they don’t listen to us.”

This is in reference to the survey taken last year by now-graduate of NDA, Clare Ravizza. The survey shows that“79.6% of those surveyed answered that girls should not be added to the [Mr. NDA] ballot, “ said Ravizza.

The original adviser to the show, English teacher Carolyn Brown, countered the argument of not listening to students.  She emphasized that junior and senior students will essentially be “voting” when they decide whether or not to put their name on the ballot for all-school voting.

“Times are changing,” said Brown, who pointed out what she called “the evolution” of the show since inception 23 years ago.  The original winner was called NDA’s “Mr. MVP,” and the beachwear competition portion of the show has been eliminated over the years.

“What was originally a tuxedo walkout kind of style show is now a highly competitive entrance with a plot, comedy, usually a video,” said Brown.  “The expectations for the contestants have increased tremendously, and the length of the show is always a concern for us advisers.”

The voting change allows senior males to audition as emcees for the event, and if a female is voted in, a male rampeteer will be allowed.

The Academy Awards will take place at Notre Dame Academy on Saturday, December 1.

“The very real possibility is we’ll have as traditional a show as last year’s show,” said Brown, “but we’ll know the opportunity was there for anyone, including girls, in the junior and senior classes to be a contestant.”

Advisers include Frau Laaksonen, Mrs. Julie Campbell, Mrs. Holly Hinch, Mrs. Sarah VanGrunsven and Brown.