Annual Mr. Cerritos contest approaches

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Albert Saucedo, Mr. Cerritos Candidate 204 representing the ISA Club, International Student Association.

Selecting a student to become Mr. Cerritos is a tradition that dates back to April 1983.

One student is destined to mark the 32nd annual Mr.Cerritos event and parlay their Wed., April 2 performance into the Falcon’s rich folklore. But 2014 will also see two changes to the long-standing tradition.

“The selection of Mr. Cerritos is nestled between the annual Spring Festival Days chili cook-off and the cupcake contests,” Aldemar Sanchez, ASCC student body vice-president said, “and will be held on the stage in the Student Center which begins at 11 a.m. with the introduction of the judges.”

This years participants are Omar Alonso, Cerritos College K-Pop Club; Mathew Barela, Kabackada Club; Richard Borjas, iFalcon Club; Diamond Bracamontes, Project C.A.R.E.; Michael Melindo, Chicanos/Latinos for Community Medicine; German Sanchez, Anime Club; and Albert Saucedo, International Student Association (ISA).

The role of Mr. Cerritos is largely ceremonial, in the tradition of fall’s homecoming queen, but will attend student events, i.e., being a judge for homecoming float building and presenting trophies to the winning clubs at the awards luncheon along with the homecoming queen.

Sponsored by campus clubs and organizations, contestants will appear in dress clothes (slacks, shirt and tie) and walk the runway, lip-sync to a song, create a performance art piece or dance to a brief pre-recorded sound track.

Contestants will also appear in a swimsuit, casual shorts or beach attire before the panel of judges,but contest rules prohibit speedo style swimsuits.

For the last thirty-one years, each contestant has performed individual solo acts under the entertainment section of the contest to win the coveted sash, plaque and crown.

This year that will change.

During a mandatory meeting on Wed., March 26, the seven entrants voted to change the performance portion of the contest. Each will be allowed to have a ‘troupe’ of helpers, such as back-up dancers, to help in this section and support them in the dance routine.

The Anime Club selected German Sanchez, psychology major, as their candidate.

He was Mr. Cerritos 2011 and runner-up in 2012. “For the last four years, I’ve competed for (Mr. Cerritos) for the challenge and sport of the game, rather than the win.

“In the past, I have had an anxiety disorder and use the (public) performance(s) as therapy. Each time it was fun; I’ve seen the progression in the style and growth of the way performances by the competitors are evolving,” Sanchez said. “I try to step it up a bit every year to entertain the audience.”

Sanchez performed last fall semester in the annual homecoming queen mock rally as his girlfriend, Dana Ramos’, counterpart and appeared in full drag for the first 2013 Drag Queen/Drag King contest reworking a song by French songstress Edith Piaf.

“It was fun. I encourage everyone to get involved in campus student activities. I’m known for doing costumes. This year I will be doing ‘MC Hammer-bot’ and have been planning the performance art piece for a month,” he said.

“Ron Cordova, last years 2013 winner, took the performance to a whole different level by performing to the popular K-Pop music and choreography of gangnam style by Psy. So this year I need to step it up,” he said, “and try to use the same formula by choosing something that is fun to watch.”

Sanchez works with the campus go-green recycling center team and plans on attending CSULB in the Fall. He said “What I love about Mr. Cerritos is the creativity.”

Project C.A.R.E. will have psychology major, Diamond Bracamontes, represent the new club on campus.

On campus for two years, she understands that Mr. Cerritos is usually an all male contest. “But I guess a few changes were made this year. Apparently females can participate.”

The application made no reference as to a male or female designation or their pronouns to compete. It only states that contenders have a current Cerritos College Student Activities (CCSA) sticker and must currently be a student in good standing.

“When she submitted her application, I couldn’t say no and deny her (the opportunity),” Interim Dean of Student Services, Amna Jara said.

“I know it’s like a pageant show where (contestants) are judged on your personality and talent,” Bracamontes said. “I just want to have a fun time, be myself, show my best and have a fun experience with the other contestants.”

“It would be pretty amazing (to win) if I’m crowned Mr. Cerritos. Just a great feeling knowing that a female won an all-male contest.”

Her sponsor, Project C.A.R.E., promotes cancer awareness through resources and education. “We do fund-raising for different cancer research projects and for Relay for Life events.

Although the club currently consists of only a few members, I’m hoping as (future) semesters come along, we will gain more members. One person can make a difference in the fight against cancer,” Bracamontes said.

Omar Alonso, art and design major, is sponsored by the Cerritos College K-Pop Club.

Although on campus for five semesters, he admits he doesn’t know much about the annual contest. “It just seems like a fun way to get the students to be more active on campus,” Alonso said.

“I don’t really have any expectations as it’s my first time participating in this event. I hope people enjoy my performance. I expect to win.” Alonso said.

The K-Pop Club participates in social group events, i.e., concerts, trips to Koreatown, watching music videos. “We try to learn dance choreography from the (popular) South Korean music genre and even the Korean language.”