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The student news site of Bellaire High School

Three Penny Press

The student news site of Bellaire High School

Three Penny Press

Senior Joshua Percy wins Mr. Bellaire

Claire Bradford
Senior and Mr. Bellaire winner Joshua Percy beams on the podium next to second- and third-place winners seniors Flynn Collins and Jermaine Hayden. All three of the top winners are members of Red Bird Productions.

Senior Joshua Percy beamed as he accepted the 2024 Mr. Bellaire crown and sash in front of the cheering audience on March 3. The 11th annual Mr. Bellaire Pageant hosted by the PTO featured 10 acts including contests, talent shows and performances to spotlight the class of 2024.

“I’m so surprised. I straight up did not think I was gonna win,” Joshua said. “I don’t know. I was thinking maybe like a finalist, but I was not thinking first place.”

Other winners included: 

Mr. Congeniality: Rohan Parikh, Mazin Elkady and Jermain Hayden

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Ms. Congeniality: Alex Alleyne and Mia Lopez

Most tickets sold: Michael Bluhm

Acquired largest sponsorship: Colby Phillips

“You get a lot of people from different places together,” Joshua said. “You get all the sports kids, and some theater kids, and some dance kids and cheerleaders all coming together, and we get to hang out and get to know each other.”

The night began at 6:30 p.m. in the auditorium when 18 seniors and their partners flaunted matching outfits during the Iconic Couples act. Costumes ranged from a pair of colby jack cheese suits presented by Jack Denning and Colby Phillips to the movie “Up” character costumes of Carl and Russel sported by Michael Bluhm and Brisa Roberts.

Seniors Brisa Roberts and Michael Bluhm dress as Carl and Russel from the Pixar movie “Up” for the Iconic Couples portion of the pageant. Other costumes included Dora and Diego and Wreck-It Ralph and Vanellope. (Claire Bradford)

“[The show] had a build-up from the beginning where it got better and better,” brother of Joshua Percy and spectator Daniel Percy said. “[It was] more engaging and intense as it went on. [The seniors] started out a little mild with the costumes. Then, we saw some dance acts, which were pretty cool. Having all the talent acts [toward] the end made it really fun.”

The packed auditorium of parents, students and teachers watched and cheered during the two-hour night of basketball dunk battles, blindfolded baby food tastings, comedic letter writing, chair building, imitation singing, yoga ball balancing, food tosses, skateboard tricks, throwback dances, sumo wrestling and an assemblage of other distinctive talent performances.

“It was fun,” Lauren Adams, mother of MC Elisa Adams, said. “You get to see the kids in a different light. I’ve watched them grow up, and [now I] get to see them do something different.”

Adams’s favorite performance of the night was Flynn Collins’s comedic routine. Collins pretended to write with an oversized feather pen as he narrated thank-you letters including one satirically addressed to this year’s bathroom fires and another thanking the Mr. Bellaire judges in attendance. Collins created the personalized script for Mr. Bellaire, and every joke he made elicited laughter from the audience and judges.

Senior Flynn Collins writes a comedic thank-you letter to Bellaire with a large quill before sealing it in an envelope and dropping it in a basket for it to be delivered. Each letter he wrote made sarcastic commentary on the various “perks” of attending the school. (Claire Bradford)

“It was a cute idea,” assistant stage director and sophomore Emma Tran said. “[Collins] had emailed us beforehand and asked for approval of it, and I thought that idea was fun.”

After the talent show, the panel of four judges — Mayor of Bellaire Gus Pappas, Bellaire Community Relations Administrator Cheryl Bright, owner of Bellaire Watch and Jewelry Kent Cantrell and former principal Michael McDonough — voted for five semifinalists to advance: Flynn Collins, Jermain Hayden, Matthew Karbarz, Joshua Percy and Sam Lack.

“There was some immense pressure on our judges because it was an amazing show,” Principal Michael Niggli said.

Each senior drew questions to answer in 30 seconds during the interview act for a final shot at the crown.

Daniel said this is where his brother Joshua secured his victory.

“If you had the ability to speak at a school assembly, what topic would you want to address?” MC Elisa Adams asked Joshua. 

The crowd quieted as Joshua responded to this question:  “Ooh, I’m going to give the real answer rather than anything kind of fake,” Joshua said. 

Complete silence followed. 

“If I got to stand up and share my voice and hopefully they would listen, I would talk about what’s going on with the district,” Joshua continued. “I would want to explain my grievances and everything Mr. McDonough said in his Houston Chronicle article.” 

At this, the audience erupted into thunderous applause. Some attendees even gave him a standing ovation.

Joshua was referencing the recent TEA takeover of HISD, which changed many school policies and elicited mixed reactions from staff and students. He mentioned the guest opinion piece published by former principal Michael McDonough on Oct. 20, 2023 that critiqued new administration reforms.

 “I was a little stunned,” Daniel said. “I wouldn’t have been able to think of that answer. The fact that he was able to tie his question into the district issues. That was perfect. It was absolutely perfect. I’m just really proud of my brother.”

Proceeds from Mr. Bellaire ticket sales, donations and sponsorships totaled over $7000, which will fund the class of 2024’s After Prom senior celebration. 

“I think [Mr. Bellaire] has a positive impact on the community,” judge Bright said. “It just highlights how Bellaire comes together and supports the youth.”

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    Lucas DoliboisApr 14, 2024 at 5:33 pm

    Great work to use Joshua’s real quote about the school.