News From Prep
Posted April 12, 2012
Flintridge Prep Students Spoof for a Good Cause: CureMito!
On a Friday in March, Flintridge Preparatory School’s Leo Club held the annual Mr. Flintridge Prep show in Norris Auditorium. Eleven senior boys rehearsed dance routines and talent performances for two weeks. In the process, each of them also hoped to impress the panel of judges tasked with crowning the next Mr. Flintridge Prep, all in the name of raising funds (a total of $2,500, in fact) for a worthy cause—CureMito!.
Mr. Flintridge Prep is a fixture of student life, a fact illustrated by contestants this year, who first watched the show in its inaugural year when they were seventh graders. But it wasn’t always so, and chances are it would never have become what Headmaster Peter Bachmann calls “a cult classic” if not for the dedicated efforts of key individuals. In spring of 2006, Kate Tucci ’07 was a member of Leo Club’s executive committee when she heard about an unconventional fundraiser at an out of state high school. The event parodied the Miss America pageant, using high school boys as contestants. She suggested Leo Club hold a similar event and the idea for Mr. Flintridge Prep was born.
Seven years later, Mr. Flintridge Prep is a highly organized affair that takes every opportunity to raise funds while being fun and educating the school community about the cause that is being supported. Flintridge Prep has always conjured myriad ways for students to engage with the school, their community, and each other, and Mr. Flintridge Prep is now a huge part of that tradition. Asked what she liked most about the event, Leo Club co-president Kira Lee ’12 (who shared her role with Kimberly Kim ’12) said, “Instead of going off campus [to do charitable work], you get to incorporate the student body and the community.”
This year’s Flintridge Prep beneficiary, CureMito!, is an organization formed to support research by Dr. Richard Boles at Children’s Hospital, and the Saban Institute, both located in Los Angeles. Describing their objectives, CureMito! president Michael Conant said, “Our main goal is to create a center for the study, treatment and eventual cure of mitochondrial disease. Raising funds for research and creating awareness of mitochondrial disease in the corporate and general communities are key to attaining this goal.”
Mrs. Ursettie, whose grandson suffers from mitochondrial disease, is a passionate advocate of the CureMito! and was delighted when the club made its selection. She believes the show represents something fundamental about Prep’s mores. In her view, “Mr. Flintridge Prep embodies the Prep student culture of not taking ourselves too seriously, and enjoying ourselves.” Conant was certainly drawn in by the diverting atmosphere, stating, “I forgot for most of the evening that I was there because it was a fundraiser for CureMito!. I was simply there enjoying myself.”
The opening dance featured sunglasses, neon colored feather boas, Merrick Campbell ’12 dancing with crutches, and Eli Weinstein ’12 held aloft by fellow contestants in a hilarious entrance parodying baby Simba from “The Lion King.” As soon as they finished, Megan Remillard ’12 and Vanessa Lieu ’12 came onstage as co-emcees for the evening, a job that would soon take them on a long journey of painful (-ly funny) puns.
This year’s talent segment ran the gamut from the incredible to the bizarre: Joon Kim ’12 followed a very competent Nutcracker dance with a Pokemon rap number, Paul Dragna ’12 sang a rousing Irish shanty, Michael Ellis ’12 did stand-up comedy, Hickey taught the audience to play guitar whilst surrounded by adoring girls, and Weinstein removed an ordinary saw from a violin case and played “Greensleeves” on it with a bow, to dramatic effect.
In the end, Eli Weinstein was crowned the winner, with Patrick Hickey voted Mr. Congeniality by his fellow contestants, as well as being voted runner up by the judges. Though he didn’t want to try out initially, Eli eventually came around and wound up overcoming new challenges (like dancing), enjoying himself in the process. He first learned about playing the saw from a video on NPR Music. When Mr. Flintridge Prep rolled around, he realized he could give it a try. “I wasn't sure if I'd be able to though, especially since I don't have a saw like [the one in the video],” he recalls. “Omar Martin ‘12 and I went down one afternoon a few weeks before the show to try Mr. Ferry's stagecraft saw; it didn't work at first and I was really disappointed. Then I watched some tutorials. The trick is to bend it into an S and find the sweet spot.” No doubt his efforts contributed to his win.