Mr. Wilson Behind the Scenes: A Post-Competition Follow-Up

Ethan Lee (12)

What was your reaction to being chosen as Mr. Wilson this year?

“I was genuinely surprised and happy. The whole process was difficult and tiring but at the same time memorable and fun. This made the outcome much more enjoyable. I wanted to cry but was too tired so all that came out was sweat.”

What qualities about yourself that you think led to you winning the Mr. Wilson contest?

“I think the main qualities that led me to become Mr. Wilson would be my work ethic and also my boldness. I like to think that I put a lot of time and effort into everything I do and that shows in my product. I am really bold in the sense that I do not care about what others think about me. I just do what I want.”

As Mr. Dance, when did you first encounter dance and why did you decide to pursue this passion?

“I first encountered dance at the open house when I was in 8th grade. I tried it out because I had no other sport to join. After being [in dance] for a month or so, I became hooked [because] the dance community is just so motivating and familial. This made me feel like I could pursue [this] passion further.”

What would you like to say to the next Mr. Wilson in 2024?

“I would congratulate them and tell them that they did great.”

Instagram versus Discord, which social media platform do you prefer and why?

“I prefer Instagram because it has a moral global reach and allows you to find people and connect with them easily.”

Joseph Mendoza (12)

How did you prepare for Mr. Wilson?

“The majority of the preparation for the Mr. Wilson [event] was dedicated to learning the group dance! The entire group participated in this, which was particularly out of many of [the contestants’] comfort zones. While it was a steep learning curve for myself and other [fellow Mr. Wilson contestants] our practice definitely paid off (thank you Haisyl, Erin, and Philip). For me personally, I did not invest into my individual categories as much as I should’ve, but what I did do was finding props and working them into my routine. [Since] I am already pretty comfortable performing, [performing] was not a large obstacle for me.”

What is the most memorable experiences at Mr. Wilson

“For me, the night itself was the most memorable experience, more specifically the time spent in between performances. All of the guys were really supportive of one another both on stage and off stage. I made friends with people that I otherwise would not have even talked to! Of course, seeing everyone perform was amazing as well and I was absolutely impressed by everyone. To be honest, it was a tough competition! However, it never really felt like one because of how transparent we were and the comradery that developed between us. Working with the Associated Student Body (ASB) was also an amazing experience and my respect for them as individuals and as an organization has only grown since signing up for Mr. Wilson!”

What are your plans after high school?

“After high school, I want to enter the Audio-Visual (AV) industry through some connections I have made over the years. It is my dream to pay for college tuition and other expenses by myself, so I have my eyes set on going to an affordable college like Cal Poly Pomona or Mt. San Antonio College. I want to do work in AV immediately so that I can see if it is a good career for me and decide if I want to pursue it in my education as well. My secret plan B is to go to Cal Poly Humboldt and disappear into the Northern California wilderness for a little while.”

What would you say to yourself 10 years in the future?

“Do not hold yourself captive to the goals and dreams that I have now, things will change and hopefully so will you!”

As Mr. IB, what is your favorite aspect of the International Baccalaureate (IB) program and what would you say to the people who are interested in the program?

“My favorite aspect of the IB program is how small it is and how dedicated most of the staff are to working with students for their success. In other words, my favorite aspect of the IB program is Mr. Kakimoto. In IB, I am surrounded by others who will hold me accountable to things that I want to improve about myself as a student and a person. [So] for the people who are considering joining IB, I say think hard before joining and ask a lot of questions to the staff, current IB students, and yourself before committing. Understand that even if IB aligns with your academic trajectory, you do not have to go along with the full diploma program if you cannot see how it will benefit you. There is no shame in taking a couple IB certificate classes. Do not get pressured into doing it by anyone.”

Rafael Safin (12)

As Mr. Connect, can you tell us about the Connect club?

“Connect club is a club where underclassmen can get help or get advice from upperclassmen. [The club aims to] create bonds and memories between the under and upper classes. The reason why the club started in the first place was because our cabinet saw that there were a lot of freshmans uncertain about their future. This was an opportunity for the seniors who are leaving soon to come and reach out to the freshmans. I am very proud of what we achieved this year as a club and I look forward to seeing how it grows in the future.”

What was the most difficult part of the preparation process for Mr. Wilson?

“I would say that everything was difficult because we had to make sure all of our performances were perfect and we would be able to amaze the crowd with the performances. However, even though it was a very tedious process, I am still glad that I did it.”

As a senior in the college admissions season, what are your plans for college?

“My plan is to attend Cal Poly Pomona and earn a masters degree in Business administration.”

Favorite fruit and why?

“As a picky eater, I would not fruits in the first place. But if I had to eat fruits for survival, I would eat a watermelon because it is the only fruit that I would eat.”

Aaron Hou (12)

How would you sum up your experience at Mr. Wilson?

“My experience participating in Mr. Wilson was amazing. It was super fun practicing with my fellow Mr. Wilson contestants. Mr. Wilson helped me make new friendships [despite] how time consuming it was. It was a very fun experience.”

As a senior, what advice would you give to the current juniors (rising seniors)?

“Be involved in school, the more you do the memories you create. Do not hesitate to do anything, just go for it.”

Why did you choose to participate in Mr. Wilson?

“I thought [Mr. Wilson] would be a fun experience and people convinced me to do it.”

If you had to move to a new country, what would it be and why?

“I would move to Japan [because] it is very clean. It is also cheaper than living in the United States.”

Favorite fellow Mr. Wilson contestant?

“All of them are equally loved by me, no favorites.”

Anthony Navarro (12)

How was your overall experience at Mr. Wilson?

“My experience at Mr. Wilson was honestly a lot of fun. Dancing, performing, and making new friends with the guys was great.”

What is your favorite season of the year and why?

“[My] favorite season has to be summer because I prefer warmer weather over colder weather.”

How do you balance school and your extracurricular activities?

“If I have any [events] during a week, I try to plan out my days around those events so that I know for sure I would not miss the events.”

What do you do in your free time?

“I usually play video games, talk to friends, or read anything that I find interesting.”

As a senior leaving Wilson, what is your advice for the incoming freshmans?

“I would tell the incoming freshmans to never be afraid of making mistakes because it is a chance to grow and become better.”

Freddy Ramirez (12)

How would you describe your experience with Mr. Wilson in six words?

“Crazy, fun, exciting, friendship, fast-paced, one-of-a-kind.”

In your opinion, what was the best event at Mr. Wilson?

“To me, the best event was Joseph’s Talent round. I was definitely impressed.”

How did you prepare for the Mr. Wilson show?

“Preparing for Mr. Wilson took a lot of dance practice. For my talent round, I had to figure out how to work my haircut clippers — not going to lie, that was pretty hard.”

Were there any last minute preparation or changes behind the scenes of the Mr. Wilson performance?

“Yes! For my lip sync round, I came up with the California Love part the night before and had my dad sit in the front so I can get him involved. I also really needed to practice cutting hair, which my friend Sam surprisingly let me [practice] on him.”

If you had to choose to travel to the North Pole or the South Pole, which one would you choose and why?

“I would choose to go to the North Pole so I could have a pet polar bear.”

Michael Twyning (12)

When did you first encounter drama and why did you decide to pursue it?

“I first encountered drama in my junior year because I had an interest in acting. I decided that it was definitely something that I would love to pursue because of the amount of amazing memories I made and the new acting skills that I acquired in the drama program.”

What is your advice to next year’s Mr. Wilson contestants?

“I would say to definitely enjoy and cherish every moment you have, whether it be with your sports, other extracurriculars, or participating in the Mr. Wilson event.”

Reflecting on your experience at Mr. Wilson, what do you think of your performance?

“The experience that I had while participating in Mr. Wilson was definitely more fun than I could ever describe. I believe I did well in my performances along with representing Mr. Drama too.”

What is one random fact about your high school experience?

“There have been a lot of life lessons that I have learned all throughout high school, but one that has stuck with me was that it is not always about the quantity of friends you have, but instead it is about the quality.”

How do you spend your weekends?

“I tend to spend my weekends roller skating, spending time with friends and family, along with memorizing lines [for drama].”

Kevin Xiong (12)

What was the funniest moment of Mr. Wilson?

“I think the funniest moment in Mr. Wilson was definitely all of the practice that we had. Sure it was really stressful, but seeing everyone practicing their talent for the first time was truly a sight to see. During the actual show, I was amazed by Joseph’s dancing. And I thought Aaron’s wing eating [performance] was hilarious.”

How would you describe yourself in five words?

“Have fun whenever you can.”

On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate your experience at Mr. Wilson and why?

“I rate it a 12 out of 10 because it was so fun getting to know all the other boys so well. We were always so supportive of each other. In fact we kept saying “only winners, no quitters” throughout the show. Having the courage to perform on stage in front of the school brought us closer than ever. And [this] is truly a highlight of my high school experience. The entire Mr. Wilson show was so engaging, fun, and stressful, but it was well worth it as I got to make new friends, have fun, and put on a good show.”

As Mr. Robotics, how did you initially encounter robotics and what prompted you to pursue this passion?

“I tried out for the Glen A. Wilson robotics team at the end of my eighth grade year. I just so happened to see a flyer on one of the science buildings.”

What is your favorite genre of music?

“My favortie genres are Indie, rock, or 80s music.”

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