Last month’s transition from Mr. AT to Best Blazer left students concerned for the beloved tradition, and the change was reverted by administration and Student Council.
In early February 2022, Student Council announced that Mr. AT, AT’s all-male beauty pageant consisting of entirely seniors, would continue under the title of Best Blazer: the same beauty pageant would now be open to both genders, matching the effort to create gender inclusivity across the United States.
Two weeks later, the title change was reversed as a number of students’ concerns outweighed the value of Best Blazer in comparison to Mr. AT.
Senior and contestant Enzo Ciaccia began the conversation of a reversal.
“When the conversation of changing Mr. AT rose, Mr. Perusich and Mr. Marston had brought it up to the Student Council representatives as well as the board. We discussed it several times during our meetings and had several votes on the account,” said Ciaccia.
Ciaccia shares how there were no female contestants nominated, but as tradition goes, all interested hosts were females.
“Nobody was really in favor of changing it, and we had no girl volunteers to be a part of the actual competition, only the hosts, so we didn’t think it was an actual concern for us,” continued Ciaccia.
After Student Council unanimously agreed there was value in keeping the title Mr. AT, the push from administration to change the event name was reciprocated.
“They did reach out to the administration to get our input and we asked that the board of student council and members were involved in making the final decision. They stated that involvement in the event was decreasing due to the name change,” said AT principal Jack Andrews.
While the name may indicate that the pageant is closed to all but male contestants, the competition is now open to all genders.
Ciaccia explains his opinion on the blur between tradition and progression. “Personally, I didn’t want to have to change the event given that I believe traditions should remain traditions, and I didn’t think it was an issue for the guys to have an event alone.”
Student Council sponsor James Perusich states that this change was completely student-chosen as the night’s event is for the students.
“We voted on it, and many of the students wanted it changed back to Mr. AT. We saw value in that, and the administration changed back the name,” said Perusich.
2022’s Mr. AT follows the same path of preceding years as no female contestants take the stage.
This year, the stage welcomes 18 contestants: Abhijay Mejia, Adam Sakleh, Alexander Martinez, Antonio Bruno, Enzo Ciaccia, Fernando Padua III, Frank Ruggieri, Lamar Archibald Jr, Leonardo Kang, Luis Rodriguez V, Mateo Gomez, Matthew Burrow, Matthew Sobus, Michael Retondo, Peter Savinos, Salvatore Culotta, Sebastian Alicea, and Vincent Calzante.
The night will be hosted by 3 female seniors as tradition writes it: Briana Florian, Delaney Gregory, and Julia Lopresto.
In the coming years, females are still equally welcome to the nominations as male contestants are.
“Women are still able to be contestants if they would like. We didn’t have any women try out or nominate themselves for the contest, but maybe making it available to them this year didn’t allow for proper publicity. As long as we’re heading in the proper direction and making our environment a better place, I don’t see anything wrong with sticking with traditions or adjusting them,” said Ciaccia.
The 2022 Mr. AT pageant will take over the auditorium next Friday night on March 25 at 7 pm.