Bateman crowned Mr. Kaneland 2014

By on February 13, 2014

Photo: Mr. Kaneland 2014 was won by senior Mitch Bateman (middle). First runner-up won by senior Dalvell Triplett (right) and second runner-up was given to senior James Lim (left). Photo by Lynn Logan

KANELAND—There’s a new Mr. Kaneland in town, and his name is Mitch Bateman.

Bateman, a senior at Kaneland High School, was crowned on the high school auditorium stage during the eighth annual Mr. Kaneland fundraiser pageant last Friday. He wore the velvety black crown with white fur trim and silver stars, a sash announcing the title of Mr. Kaneland.

Bateman stood on the stage after the event and reflected.

“It just feels like the icing on the cake,” Bateman said. “It’s great. Any of these guys up here could have won. And any of the guys totally deserve it.”

Mr. Kaneland is presented by the Kaneland High School Peer Leadership. The auditorium packed around 350 people for the event. Attendees had the pink Mr. Kaneland 2014 bracelets in hand or on their wrist, and it served as their “ticket” to enter the event at cost $5. Part of the money paid will benefit the Kaneland community in need of support due to poverty, homelessness and illness.

The Mr. Kaneland Court included KHS seniors Bateman, Creston Saylors, Dalvell Triplett, James Lim, John Briggs, Nathaniel Kucera, Alex Buzenski, JayVon Malik Swain and junior Dillon Lynn.

All of the court members sold the bracelets, which played a big factor in winning the competition.

According to Lori Grant, co-sponsor of Peer Leadership, the fundraiser raised nearly $5,000. That total accounts for bracelets sold and donations, as well as auction money generated from Kaneland High School students and staff bidding on the contestants.

The event began with lights out and screams from the audience as the theme from “The Lion King” played through the P.A.

Bateman held the Mr. Kaneland crown Simba style on the lit stage. Additional contestants then trickled in from the audience, making their way to the crown before kneeling and raising their arms toward it.

KHS senior Tatiana Guererro and recent graduate Josh Rodriguez were the masters of ceremony for the event.

The contestants then had a chance to show off in front of the school’s five judges.

One at a time the boys, sporting tuxedos, strolled across the stage and presented red roses to ladies dressed in fancy dresses. Judged on style, confidence, smile factor, audience response and introductory statements, personality, creativity, passion and skills, the contestants did not fail to entertain the crowd during the event.

“Mitch be trippin’,” Bateman announced during the show.

“Only thing greener than my tux is Shamrock Shakes,” Briggs said.

Swain explained why he didn’t have time to say a silly line.

“I’ve got to save my voice,” he said.

Contestants showcased their talents, ranging from singing and playing guitar to dancing and playing the piano and doing a comedy show.

Bateman sang and played a red and black acoustic guitar with James Pockspeis, who accompanied on the mandolin. They did a mashup of the songs “Thrift Shop” and “No Diggity.”

Triplett, the first runner-up, danced with a crew, working out some hip hop and breakdance moves, complete with a back flip.

Lim, second runner-up, performed Taekwondo with his brother, John. They lunged, turned and chopped wood boards with their hands and feet. Together they moved with graceful arm motions.

“Giving is not always painful,” Lim said after the event. “It can be your happiness. It can be fun.”