Pageant winner pursues film, engineering

Lindsey Bennett
Print Editor

Contestants compete in the Mr. Webster Pageant on Nov. 13 in Knight Auditorium. Senior Ben Wieselman won Mr. Webster and senior Khotso Moore, on the keyboard, won Mr. Congeniality. Following the revelation of winners, contestants participated in a group dance to songs from different time periods. “I thought it would be a really fun experience and I also thought if I won that I’d be a good representative of Webster,” Moore said. Photos by Ava Musgraves and Jaden Fields

To win the title of Mr. Webster, a contestant must impress in the talent, video and question and answer categories.

On Nov. 13, in Knight Auditorium, the winner took a cult classic comedy movie and used it to inspire his whole on-stage performance.

From the curly wig to the tater tots, senior Ben Wieselman embodied Napoleon Dynamite so well that he came away with the ultimate prize.

The annual Mr. Webster Pageant is sponsored by the business department and DECA to raise money for their trip to New York in January.

“I thought it was going to be Patrick Lee. I was standing right next to him, and I was very, very, very surprised,” Wieselman said. “I feel like it’s a lot of, like a popularity thing, I mean most of it is, but I’m not that popular… also my whole talent was based on me being as awkward as possible.”

Twelve seniors competed to win Mr. Webster, which is decided by the judges and the pageant committee (Marketing II students who organized the event). This year’s judges included math teachers Eric Dunn and Brennan Almus, English teacher Amy Keane and science teacher Lisa Sylvester.

Senior Khotso Moore received the most votes from the crowd, earning him the title Mr. Congeniality.

About Wieselman, Moore said, “I was surprised, but then when I thought about it, it made sense because he really killed his talent and also he embodied Napoleon Dynamite the entire show. I definitely think he deserved to win, and I was really happy for him.”

With many contestants, their talents can be applied to what their interests are. Last year, former student Ray McIntire styled a teacher in clothes he designed and created. This made sense, as McIntire plans to become a creative director of a fashion label.

With Wieselman’s talent, the connections to his life after high school are not easily apparent. However, Wieselman hopes to use the film itself as an inspiration for his future plans in the entertainment industry.

“‘Napoleon Dynamite’… was just a weird movie and the director is not a well known director. It’s kind of like a student film, and I do, when I’m older, hopefully become a director,” Wieselman said. “I do draw inspiration on how you can, even if you don’t have a big budget, you could potentially make a great movie that makes a ton of money just from the limited resources you have.”

Although he is interested in working on films, Wieselman doesn’t plan to go to school for directing. Rather, he plans to earn a degree in engineering that will allow him to contribute to the arts in different ways.

“On big movies, they have practical effects, like all the Christopher Nolan movies. In ‘Inception’ they have a scene where the room is tumbling and moving, and on that one they hired engineers to build them an actual hallway that spins, so they could film through it, ” Wieselman said.

He would recommend that students in coming years participate in the show.

“It was just good to get on stage and just mess around and not worry about what was going to happen… I was glad I did this, and I was super glad I got to… learn that dance and be with all the guys,” Wieselman said.


Lindsey Bennett – Print Editor

This is print editor Lindsey Bennett’s second year on ECHO staff, but she made several contributions while taking journalism class her sophomore year.


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