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May 21, 2022 - 11:06am

Noah Burke wins ninth annual Mr. Batavia competition

posted by Steve Ognibene in Mr. Batavia, charity, fundraiser, Batavia HS.

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Mr. Batavia returned last evening in-person to Batavia High school for the first time since 2019. 

The event was canceled in 2020 and held virtually last year due to COVID-19.

Lisa Robinson, chairperson and event coordinator, said it raised over $4,170, bringing the nine-year total to $33,000.

Each contestant performed their best in different categories, such as group dance, talent, swim strut, lip-sync, tux walk, and question and answer.

Noah Burke took it away with a first place win after everyone's performances.

"It was one of the best experiences of my life getting out here with the guys," Burke said.  "I have really come out of my shell and had never done anything like this before. My heart just sank when they read my name and it was an amazing feeling.  I chose the Arthritis Foundation, which will get 50 percent of tonight's proceeds, because of my little sister Lilyanna, 15, who has juvenile arthritis. More than 18 of her joints are in pain daily, and I have seen her struggling with pain since she was little, and figured this is the best way I can give back to help other kids that are in the same position that she is in."  

Matt Smith was the runner-up.

"This was one of the craziest experiences of my life," Smith said. "I woke up this morning and threw up. The nerves got to me along with the heat in the tuxes and trying to stay calm and cool due to the heat all day.  Getting to know these guys over the last two months has been an incredible experience and starting on day one none of us had any dancing experience.  For it all to come together in a short amount of time and putting the show on, it's honestly insane.  I want to thank Olivia Halpin and Olivia Hussar for being my coaches. Without them, I honestly could not have placed second here today.  I chose the Michael Napoleone Foundation because Mrs. Napoleone was my teacher through the health academy at BOCES, and I learned about Michael's story, what the family went through and what every family who is fighting cancer right now, so I decided there was no other charity I wanted to represent, and thankful to raise 25 percent towards the foundation to fight cancer."

Nicholas Grover was the first runner-up. 

"It was the best decision I have made in my high school career. I am not a very outgoing person but I really wanted to do something that I really didn't think it was in me, and wanted to prove to myself that I could.  It was so fun, and loved the guys I did this with.  The most important thing was to have fun, and I think anybody who has ever tried this or has been in this event in the past, or tonight, is still a winner even if they did not place.  I chose Habitat for Humanity and Habitat will get 25 percent of tonight's proceeds."

Sponsors and people to thank were Charles Men’s Shop for donating the use of tuxedos, Batavia City School District Foundation for distributing the winnings to charities, Vic and Brenda Marchese from Main St. Pizza Company for helping to award the winner with the top prize, Blink of an Eye Photography for the banners, Steve Ognibene Photography for capturing the photos during the performance, Extreme Streetwear for the T-shirts and Beverly's Florist for the beautiful flowers, organizers said.

Judges were Bonnie Hoag of the BCSD Foundation, Nathan Korzelius Batavia Middle School principal, Krista Shamp John Kennedy School reading teacher, and Stacy Squire Jackson School clerk typist.

Hostesses were seniors Ella Houseknecht, Sophia Fulton, and Olivia Hussar and many student coaches and committee members who helped with this event.

Top photo: Noah Burke receives the Mr. Batavia sash from Ella Houseknecht. Photos by Steve Ognibene.

To view or purchase photos, click here.

 

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