The seventh annual Mr. Batavia brought a nearly sold-out crowd last evening to Batavia High School, and raised an estimated $4,100 for charity.
Since its inception in 2013, more than 80 young men have participated. Each one picks a charity in case they win; but only the top three contestants each year get money for their charities of choice.
Each contestant performs their best in different categories like group dance, talent, swimsuit, lip sync, tux walk, question and answer.
Griffin DellaPenna was second runner-up and he raised funds for the Michael Napoleon Foundation.
“I was happy to be a part of Mr. Batavia and help carry on Michael’s legacy to support the foundation," Griffin said. "I would like to thank the judges, coaches, his parents, sister Allison, other contestants and amazing audience for a day he will never forget, including the fondest high school memory.“
Sam Rigerman was first runner-up. His charity was Habitat for Humanity.
“Being (first) runner-up for Mr Batavia 2019 is truly an honor, especially to be placed among all the amazing and wonderful talent that was the other contestants this year," Sam said. "Huge congratulations to Griffin and Terelle for placing and to all the other contestants for all their hard work!
"It was truly amazing to be able to work with everyone and this experience will always stay with me and live on as one of the best memories of my high school career. This experience was the greatest I could have ever asked for during my senior year and I love everyone so much for this wonderful time. Thank you all so much!”
Volunteers For Animals will receive 50 percent of the money raised by the winner of the event, Terelle Spinks.
“What I liked most about Mr. Batavia was the group dance and all the practices with the other 10 contestants," Terelle said. "And it feels great to win -- I didn’t expect it -- one of the best feelings in my life.”
Batavia High School Cheerleading Coach Stacy Squires said "I am so proud of Terelle. I actually told him last year that he should do Mr. Batavia because I knew he could win. He has the most outgoing and confident personality. Everyone who meets him loves him. He deserved it and I'm overwhelmed with pride!"
During the question-and-answer interview John Bruggman wished they could all give money to their charities, but if he had to say why he should win: Who else could do a two-minute picture of Bob Ross*?
Other contestantants were Harley Radley, Will Palmer, Taiyo Iburi-Bethel, Cameron Austin, AT Thatcher, Kris Kuszlyk, Alec Frongetta and John Bruggman.
Local Judges new this year were: Zach Korzelius, Batavia City School District BOE; Shelly Dale-Hall, GCASA; Jeff McKinney, Batavia City School District IT coordinator; and Vic and Brenda Marchese, owners of Main St. Pizza.
Charles Men’s Shop donated use of tuxedos, Reed Eye Associates provided the sunglasses, Main St. Pizza Co. gave one free pizza a week for a year. Many additional sponsors and staff also contributed to this yearly event.
To view or purchase photos, click here.
*(Bob Ross was a bushy-haired American painter, art instructor and TV host who created the PBS show "The Joy of Painting"; his legacy lives on in today's pop culture.)