This year's Mr. Batavia, Brendan Burgess raised $2,566.50 for his charity of choice, Volunteers For Animals, during the 2023 annual Mr. Batavia competition at Batavia High School.
In a fierce contest, second place had not one but two winners -- Fabian Vazquez, whose charity of Golisano's Children's Hospital received $1,283.25, below, and Cooper Fix raised $1,283.25 for
his charity of choice, the Ricky Palermo Foundation.
Ten seniors from BHS competed for the title of “Mr. Batavia” at the 10th annual competition in April, showing off their talents on stage for a panel of judges to choose the top three winners.
Students competed in multiple rounds of the event, and donations raised from ticket sales and direct donations were given to those top three winners’ charities. Since 2013, the annual event has raised more than $37,000 for local organizations.
This year's Mr. Batavia contest features 10 Batavia High School seniors who are prepping to compete for the esteemed title at the 10th annual competition. It's set to begin at 7 p.m. Friday in the Frank E. Owen Auditorium at BHS, 260 State St., Batavia.
The students compete in multiple rounds of the event to display their various talents -- from singing and comedy to playing instruments and acting. Donations raised from ticket sales and donations will be given to the top three winners’ charities. Since 2013, the annual event has raised $32,719 for local organizations.
This year’s contestants
Genesee Cancer Assistance Alex Johnson
The David McCarthy Memorial Foundation Brendan Burgess Volunteers for Animals
Ricky Palermo Foundation Garrett Schmidt
All Babies Cherished Ifran Armstrong Crossroads House Shawn Kimball Habitat for Humanity
Batavia City Schools Foundation Fabian Vazquez
Golisano’s Children Hospital
Additional members of the Mr. Batavia Committee include Julia Clark, Julia Preston, Brooke Scott, Lydia Evans, Clara Wood, Nora Wood, Olivia Shell, Cassidy Crawford, Isabella Walsh, Aleeza Idress, Grace Parker, Brie Gabriel, Jakayla Rivera, Addison Glynn, Bridget Taggart, Alyssa Talone, Anna Varland, Julia Petry, Abby Moore, and Sydney Konieczny.
Hostesses for the evening’s event include Clara Wood, Maya Schrader, and Lucy Taggart.
Staff choreographers for Mr. Batavia include Saniiya Santiago and Melania deSa e Frias.
Tickets are $10 each and will be sold to students during school lunches the week of April 17 and at the door for the community.
Lisa Robinson, advisor for Mr. Batavia, would like to thank the Batavia City School Foundation for its help and support in collecting and distributing funds to the local organizations.
Photos submitted by Batavia City Schools.
Winning Mr. Batavia in 2022 means a lot to Noah Burke. The charity he chose to support is so important to his family, he says, and the event itself was one last hurrah for the Batavia High School senior and the guys he knows so well.
"I've known all these guys pretty much my whole life," Burke said. "We've grown up together and have known each other since even before school started. It's kind of an opportunity for me and my friends to just get together and have one last big thing before we're all headed off to go on with our lives when we graduate."
Burke's win means the Juvenile Arthritis Foundation gets a $1,919 donation, or half the proceeds from the competition.
"I picked the Juvenile Arthritis Foundation because my little sister Liliana was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis when she was 10 years old," Burke said. "She has it in about 20 or something joints now. It's really been a struggle and an obstacle for me and my family to overcome with her growing up because she's been going through a lot. It's just kind of made us grow as a family and it's just great to be able to give back to the foundation for all they've done for us."
Top photo: Mr. Batavia Noah Burke and Mr. Batavia organizer Lisa Robinson.
Photos by Howard Owens
Second place, Matthew Smith, with Laurie Napoleone, of the Michael Napoleone Foundation.
Third place, Nick Grover, and Jaylene Smith-Kilner of Habitat for Humanity.
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.
Six students from Batavia High School are set to compete for the title of “Mr. Batavia” at the 9th annual competition being held on Friday, May 20, at 7 pm in the Batavia High School Auditorium.
The students compete in multiple rounds of the event, and all money raised from ticket sales and donations is given to the top three winners’ charities. Since 2013, the annual event has raised $28,822 for local organizations.
This year’s contestants are:
- Jack Bruggman representing Crossroads House
- Noah Burke representing the Juvenile Arthritis Foundation
- Nicholas Grover representing Habitat for Humanity
- Andrew Kasmarek representing Genesee Cancer Assistance
- Lucas Radley representing the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of WNY
- Matt Smith representing the Michael Napoleon Foundation
Tickets are $10 each and will be sold to students during school lunch the week of May 16 and at the door for the community.
BCSD would like to thank the Batavia City School Foundation for their help and support in collecting and distributing funds to the local organizations. Additional thanks to: Charles Men’s Shop, Extreme Streetwear, Beverly's Florist and Gift Shop, Main Street Pizza, Blink of an Eye Photography, Steve Ognibene Photography, and participating charities for their continued support of the community.
Terelle Spinks, winner of Mr. Batavia 2019, presents a check for $2,776.50 to Stacy Squire, a volunteer with Volunteers for Animals, Spinks's charity for the annual event at Batavia High School.
This year, the Mr. Batavia competition brought in $5,553, bringing the seven-year total of funds raised for local charities to $25,743.
The event is student organized and run.
Sam Rigerman, first runner-up, presents a check for $1,388.25 to Jaylene Smith-Kilner, Habitat for Humanity.
Griffin DellaPenna, second runner up, presents a check for $1,388.25 to Laurie Napoleon, for the Michael Napoleon Memorial Foundation.
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.)
The seventh annual Mr. Batavia show is set for 7 p.m., March 21, at Batavia High School in the Auditorium.
There are 12 seniors in this year's competition, each representing a different charity in the community.
All proceeds from ticket sales will go to the winner's charity. Last year, $4,400 was raised and in seven years the student-run event has raised $20,190.
Tickets are $8 and are available at the school's main office and tickets will also be available at the door until sold out.
This year's contestants and their charities are:
- #1 - Harley Radley -- Pancreatic Assoc. of WNY
- #2 - Will Palmer -- 25 Neediest Fund
- #3 - Taiyo Iburi-Bethel -- All Babies Cherished
- #4 - Cameron Austin -- Batavia VA
- #5 - Terelle Spinks -- Volunteers for Animals
- #6 - Griffin DellaPenna -- Michael Napoleone Foundation
- #7 - AT Thatcher -- GO ART!
- #8 - Kris Kuszlyk -- Juvenile Diabetes Research of WNY
- #9 - Alec Frongetta -- Genesee Cancer Assistance
- #10 - Cameron Bontrager -- Batavia Players
- #11 - John Bruggman -- Crossroads House
- #12 - Sam Rigerman -- Habitat for Humanity
Joe Marchese, on the right, winner of Mr. Batavia 2018, presented a $2,200 check yesterday to Crossroads House, his chosen charity for the annual fundraiser at Batavia High School. Accepting the check are Jeff Allen, director of the Crossroads House, and Peg Patterson-Case, director of development.
Photo submitted by Lisa Robinson.
The sixth annual Mr. Batavia brought a nearly sold-out crowd last evening to Batavia High School, and raised an estimated $4,400 for charity.
Since its inception in 2013, more than $20,000 has been raised, said Lisa Robinson, Mr. Batavia advisor and co-advisor of student government. Each contestant performs their best in different catagories like group dance, talent, swimsuit, lip sync, tux walk, question and answer.
Crossroads House will receive 50 percent of the money raised by the winner of the event, Joe Marchese.
"Going into the show I felt really confident," Joe said, "then about 30 minutes before the show, I felt like I was going to have a nervous breakdown, literary choking up and said to myself 'I cannot do this.'
"I went to get some water, got out there, did the group dance and feeling good, then took the momentum all the way through the night and had a such great time."
Joe continued "I have wanted to do Mr. Batavia since my freshman year. Working with these group of guys was so amazing, which made my senior year come full euphoria and (I) have no words to describe the feeling at this moment."
His mom, Sandra, said "What stands out for me is Joseph's confidence and creativity in public speaking and performance. You are amazing, Joe! All the time and effort over the years that you have put into your personal development and leadership skills is shining through!"
Anand Patel was first runner-up. His charity was Golisano’s Children’s Hospital. Cameron Hardy was second runner-up and he raised funds for Genesee Cancer Assistance.
Charles Men’s Shop donated use of tuxedos, Reed Eye Associates provided the sunglasses. Many other members of staff, volunteers, students and additional sponsors also contributed to this annual event.
Local Judges were: Peter Cecere, VP of Batavia City School District BOE; James DeFreeze, City of Batavia Police Department; Matt Morasco, City of Batavia Fire Department; and Shellye Dale-Hall, Prevention Education, GCASA.
Other contestantants were Nichalas Neid, Chase Monachino, Brandon Buck, Valentino Zinni, Jon Liciaga, Nate Loria, John Kindig, Julio Vazquez and Evan Bellavia.
To view photos or purchase prints click here.
Pictured above are hostesses Paige Wasilewski, Lauren Leone and Michal Lullo.
There are only 150 tickets left for Mr. Batavia at Batavia High School tonight.
Tickets can be purchased at the school, located at 260 State St. in the City of Batavia.
Doors open at 6 p.m. for the annual competition of Batavia HS seniors, which helps raise money for local charities.
Batavia High School's sixth annual Mr. Batavia contest is Friday, March 23rd, at 7 p.m. in the school auditorium. Contestants have been in rehearsals for weeks for the annual event.
Here are this year's contestants and their charities of choice:
- Nicholas Neid – Salvation Army
- Chase Monachino – Catholic Charities
- Brandon Buck – Batavia VA
- Valentino Zinni – Volunteers for Animals
- Jon Liciaga – Anna’s Wish
- Cameron Hardy – Genesee Cancer Assistance
- Nate Loria – Habitat for Humanity
- John Kindig – Alzheimer’s Association of WNY
- Julio Vazquez – Michael Napoleon Foundation
- Joe Marchese – Crossroads House
- Evan Bellavia – Lifetime Care, Home Healthcare and Hospice
- Anand Patel -- Golisano's Children's Hospital
Previous winners are: Jon Currier (2017), Ross Chua (2016), Jordan Fluker (2015), Spencer Hubbard (2014), Lee Johnson (2013).
John Currier, winner of the Mr. Batavia contest at Batavia High School this year, presents a check for $2,323 to Habitat For Humanity, the charity he supported through the competition. With Currier, Lauren Casey, left, board president, and Jaylene Smith-Kilner, director.
Quentin Branciforte, runner-up, presents a check to Jeff McKinney, president of Anna's Wish, which supports families dealing with pediatric cancer.
Ryan Bieniek, another runner-up, was out of school yesterday, so Lisa Robinson, center, student government advisor, presented the check to his charity, All Babies Cherished. From All Babies Cherished, Sue Sherman, left, director, and Becky Amico, program coordinator.
A sold-out crowd packed Batavia High School last evening for the fifth annual Mr. Batavia Competition hosted by its student government.
The mission behind the community fundraiser is to “take care of BHS,” said Lisa Robinson, student government advisor.
Twelve seniors participated in these categories: Dance, Talent, Question & Answer, Swimsuit, Lip Sync and Tux Walk.
The contestants were: Jerry Reinhart, Dominic Brown, Campbell Andersen, Casey Radka, Cody Dioogardi, Sam Bartz, Quentin Branciforte, Ryan Bieniek, Casey Ausin, Joe Allegue, Freddie Cunningham and John Currier.
Lisa said they raised a new record of $4,500 for the local charities chosen by the top three winners. Habitat for Humanity is winner John Currier's charity; first runner-up Ryan Bieniek selected All Babies Cherished; second runner-up was Quentin Branciforte, whose charity of choice is Anna’s Wish Inc.
The judges were: Kaitlin Logsdon, cocreator of Mr. Batavia, past BHS student and senior at Ithaca College; Shawna Murphy, Batavia City Schools Board of Education member; Jim DeFreeze, Batavia City Police officer; and Matt Morasco, Batavia City fireman.
Tuxedos for the event were provided by Charles Men's Shop and Reed Eye Associations donated sunglasses to the dozen seniors who competed.
To view and or purchase photos go to: Steve Ognibene Photography
The Mr. Batavia contest starts at 7 p.m. in the auditorium of Batavia High School, but if you don't have tickets, better get their early, because the event is nearly sold out.
Batavia High Schools annual Mr. Batavia contest is at 7 p.m., March 31, in the school auditorium.
Contestants have been in rehearsals for weeks for the annual event.
This year's contestants and their charities they are competing for:
- Jerry Reinhart, Michael Napoleone Memorial Foundation
- Dominic Brown, Iroquois Trail Council, BSA
- Campbell Anderson, Red Cross
- Casey Radka, Genesee Cancer Assistance
- Cody Dioguardi, Ricky Palermo Foundation
- Sam Bartz, Batavia VA
- Quentin Branciforte, Anna's Wish
- Ryan Bieniek, All Babies Cherished
- Casey Austin, Collin Crane Memorial
- Joe Allegue, Community Action
- Freddie Cunningham, Volunteers for Animals
- John Currier, Habitat for Humanity
Below, a few shots from rehearsal for the "swimsuit" competition.
The winners of last week's Mr. Batavia contest at Batavia High School presented their checks to the charities of their choices today in the school's library.
Above, Mr. Batavia Ross Chua presents a check for $2,055 to his father, Dave Chua. Dave is with the Batavia Kiwanis Club and leads the club's 5K team, which raises funds for research into autism.
Micheal Hughes, one of two second-place finishers, presented a check for $1,020 to Jaylene Smith-Kilner and Jessica Maguire Tomidy for Habitat for Humanity.
Dwayne Fonda presented his check to Chuck Marra, with the American Red Cross.
Batavia High School held its fourth annual Mr. Batavia Competition Friday evening. Twelve seniors participated in four categories – talent, swimsuit, lip sync and tux walk, with their efforts being scored by a four-member panel of judges.
Contestants were Alex Canty, Ross Chua (pictured above), Adonis Davis, Noah Dobbertin, Dwayne Fonda, Tyler Hale, Michael Hughes, Jake Kasmarek, Josh Kurtz, Zach Lee, Alex Mott and Trevor Sherwood.
Tuxedos provided by Charles Men's Shop, sunglasses by Reed Eye Associates, crew T-shirts by Extreme Streetwear, with additional support from Big Pauly’s Pizza.
The judges are pictured below, from left, are BSCD Board Member Shawna Murphy, Reed Eye Associates Dr. Kim Rosati, Batavia City Police Officer Pete Flanagan and Thompkins Insurance Agency VP Joe Teresi.
Nearly 700 people attended the event and proceeds set a new record high of $4,000. Second place was a tie between Mike Hughes, who donated to Habitat for Humanity, and Dwayne Fonda, who gave to the American Red Cross. They each will give 25 percent to their sponsors. Half (50 percent) goes to Autism Research on behalf of Ross Chua who won the event. All three winners received a $25 Amazon gift card.
For more photos: Steve Ognibene Photography
Article by Zachary Lee, an aspiring journalist and contestant in Mr. Batavia.
It’s finally here: the Mr. Batavia contest will be held at 7 p.m. April 15th — be there.
Mr. Batavia this year will be the biggest we’ve ever had; the occupancy of the auditorium at Batavia High School is around 800 and we intend to fill that to the point the auditorium doors are bursting.
Mr. Batavia is a community charity event; each candidate selects a nonprofit organization to represent with the charity of the contest the top three winners receiving money raised. In Mr. Batavia there are five different categories, each scored by selected judges from throughout the community. They are lip sync, talent, questionnaire, swimsuit, and tux walk. The guys also do a group dance in the beginning to get the audience hyped up for the contest.
Last year’s Mr. Batavia was probably one of the best we’ve ever produced here at BHS. Whether it was Brandon Smart’s Micheal Jackson tribute or Dylan Beckman’s dramatic reading of "Anaconda" by Nicki Minaj, these performances were borderline legendary. The 12 candidates up for Mr. Batavia 2016 believe that they can do even better.
Lisa Robinson, event director and student government advisor said, “Mr. Batavia is an event where we raise money for community nonprofits. Everywhere this event gets larger and we believe this year will be easily our largest we’ve had. ”
Here are the candidates and the nonprofit organizations they represent in the order they’ll perform:
- Tyler Hale – Michael Napoleon Foundation
- Noah Dobbertin – 25 Neediest
- Adonis Davis – All Babies Cherished
- Zachary Lee – Anna’s Wish
- Trevor Sherwood – Batavia VA
- Alex Mott – Golisano’s Children Hospital
- Michael Hughes – Habitat for Humanity
- Alex Canty – Volunteers for Animals
- Ross Chua – Organization for Autism Research
- Jake Kasmarek – Genesee Cancer Assistance
- Josh Kurtz – Salvation Army
- Dwayne Fonda -- American Red Cross
Jordan Fluker, Mr. Batavia 2015, presented a check today to Genesee Cancer Assistance for $3,055, which is the proceeds from this year's Mr. Batavia event at Batavia High School. Pictured with Fluker are Joe Gerace and Patricia Arnold.
Photo submitted by Lisa Robinson.