Competing for the crown


Maya Hernandez

Senior Garrett Karbs is lifted into the air during his synchronized swimming routine for the talent portion of the competition. The annual Mr. Marcus pageant was held last night and Karbs came out on top.

Last night, the auditorium wasn’t just a room with chairs and a stage — the Mr. Marcus contestants had other ideas. For two hours, it acted as everything from a swimming pool to a kitchen as the 14 senior boys competed for the title of Mr. Marcus. At the end of the night, Garrett Karbs was crowned as the winner. 

“It feels amazing,” Karbs said. “I’m super glad and super thankful for the opportunity.”

The seniors were judged from the moment the curtains first pulled back as they began their opening group dance. They moved on to the three main portions of the pageant, which were talent, swimwear and formalwear. The boys took the opportunities to show off their personalities and special skills, which included synchronized swimming, cooking meatballs, impersonating Patrick Swayze and sword fighting. 

“You’ve got some really, really nice looking costumes and it’s going to be loads of fun,” Karbs said a few minutes before the pageant started. “I think there’s a lot of really good talent.” 

The judges then decided on the top five Mr. Marcus hopefuls — Karbs, Chaitanya Bashyam, Russel Raunam, Dylan Duckworth and Siddarth Jayakumar — before having them answer two questions each to decide on their final placements. 

“I was happy with it. I think everyone that made it that far deserved it,” Ethan Rice said. “To be honest, all the guys were talking, we agreed [and] were like, ‘This could really go any way because everyone just did well.’ So we were happy for them.”

Bashyam secured second place. He also received the “Mr. Nice Guy” award, which is given to the contestant that is voted on by his competitors. 

“Ever since I joined this whole thing and started doing these rehearsals, everybody’s been so nice to me, so accepting,” Bashyam said. “I don’t know if I’ve joined a group and become friends with people so fast like I did this, so to be thought of as the nicest among my friends in Mr. Marcus means so much to me. It’s an honor.”

While the auditorium was completely full of students watching the pageant itself, what often goes unseen is the work that the competitors put in leading up to it. The contestants met up for a couple of hours twice a week to rehearse their choreography for the past three weeks.

“It was definitely a lot of work in the beginning,” Duckworth said. “I don’t think I ever could have prepared for the last couple of days getting it all put together. [It was] such a rush.”

Throughout the entire process, the seniors were able to bond and form friendships that otherwise might not have happened. 

“We’re all pretty supportive of each other because we’re all pretty nervous,” Karbs said. “So we’re all just trying to boost each other up so we’re ready to go. We all become really good friends.”

While they all had the goal of wearing the Mr. Marcus crown, Bashyam believes that the pageant has a deeper purpose. 

“It’s really not about who won or anything like that,” Bashyam said. “I’m just so grateful to be here with all of my friends and to make people laugh and smile. It was really a fun night.”