Justin Roig was crowned Mr. Vineland on Thursday in the 28th annual competition at VHS South, which triumphantly returned after a hiatus due to the pandemic.
Roig was one of eight candidates selected by senior girls to vie for the prestigious title. He is a proud member of the Vineland High School Marching band, the Velocity 5420 First Robotics team, and enjoys music, community work, and learning about infrastructure and history. His goals for the future are to go to Temple University to study geography, urban studies, and journalism and get a job in the urban planning field. Roig, Mr. July in the contest, received his crown and sash from VHS Principal Suzette DeMarchi.
Each contestant was scored in the following areas: casual attire, talent, and formal attire. The field was then narrowed down to five finalists, who answered the final question posed by Mr. Vineland founder and former emcee Charlie Gaudio. Gaudio retired at the start of the school year but, to the delight of the crowd, returned as a special guest. He was recognized by new host, VHS social studies teacher and Mr. September 1998, Dan Kuzma.
Roig offered an impassioned answer to the question, “what piece of advice would you give to future VHS students?” His suggestion was for students to find something they may not like at VHS and then find a way to make it better. He credited Mrs. DeMarchi and other staff members for being open and receptive to his concerns and ideas. Roig encouraged his classmates to “be the change you want to see in the world.”
First runner-up was Rodrick-Josh Zapanta, Mr. June. If for some reason Roig is unable to fulfill his duties as Mr. Vineland, Zapanta will assume that post. For possibly the first time ever, there was a tie for second and third runner up, with Mr. January, Jalen West, and Mr. March, Alex Rodriguez taking the spots. Rounding out the group as fourth runner up was Mr. October, Leonardo Luciano.
The other contestants included Zander Romanini, Ryan Russo, and Braylon Blakely.
Also livening up the evening were a variety of performances from fellow classmates. The audience was treated to a rendition of “I’ll Never Love Again” from A Star is Born by Kayla Cleary, a Hispanic cultural dance performance from the VHS Dance I and II classes, and a soulful John Phillips performing the Bill Withers classic “Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone.”
Judges were: Tiffany Magolda, Child Study Team Social Worker for Vineland Public Schools; April Pang, teacher at CCTEC; Vineland Police Officer Julio DeJesus; Vineland Police Officer and first runner up, Mr. Vineland 1999, Dion Colvin; and Rossi School special education teacher and Mr. Vineland 2016 second runner up, Jeff Martine. Scores were tabulated by Scott Musterel and David Hart of the Vineland Public Schools Finance Department.
Funds raised from ticket sales and calendars with photos of each contestant sold at the pageant will be used to help pay for the senior prom.
Former Mayor Ruben Bermudez, owner of Juvante Formal Wear, was publicly thanked by Kuzma for providing the tuxedos worn by the contestants each year of the pageant without charge.
Special thank you to Class of 2022 advisors Tabatha Haydak and Elliott Deshields, assistant principal Kim Rivera, and everyone else who helped make the event a success.
The program was videotaped by VPS TV and will air on Comcast Channel 9 and Verizon FIOS Channel 41 and our YouTube channel, VLDSchoolsTV, here: https://youtu.be/uE4QeTTarKU
Please click the following link for a gallery of photos from the event: https://bit.ly/3IHkVlp