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Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

Central Times

Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

Central Times

Interview with senior Nick Peterson, Mr. NCHS Contestant

Peterson performed in the Mr. NCHS competition held in the Central auditorium on February 20. For the theme, “Mr. NCHS goes to Hollywood,” Peterson chose to be the actor Jackie Chan.

Q: Describe your experience being in Mr. NCHS.

A: Well, the entire experience of being in Mr. NCHS was just a party the entire time. It was just very enjoyable to spend a lot of time with the guys together. There were a lot of them that I didn’t know beforehand like Jeff Lepine or John Rodgers. By the end of it all, they’re some of my better friends now. And I never knew how funny John Rodgers was.

Q: Comment on the other acts.

A: Dave Lass. That’s all I have to say.

Q: What was your favorite part of the show?

A: My favorite part of the show was watching other people’s acts. It was really fun to do. And then the dance because none of us knew [the song] “Glamorous.”

Q: What thoughts went into picking your character, Jackie Chan?

A: When they told us the theme, I was just like, ‘I have to be Jackie Chan.’ It was between Grant and I, and I was debating between Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee but Jackie Chan is more well-known, I think, than Bruce Lee.

Q: Can you describe the preparation for your act?

A: Preparation for my act was interesting because I tried out for something completely different than what I did in the show. For a while I was preparing the other act, but then this was just what I did eventually, just playing the piano. I worked with my piano teacher for a while and then just practiced a ton on my own.

Q: What was your other act and why did you change acts?

A: I had a looping pedal where you start out playing one instrument and you press a pedal. [Then the pedal] loops like it’s recording so then you can make multiple layers and make a song of your own just with one person. I did that with string, bass, ukulele, boxing, piano, and singing, but then Mr. Plackett said, “Do you want to change to piano?”

Q: Do you know why Mr. Plackett wanted you to change acts?

A: He said I’d have a better chance at Mr. Talent and I was just like, “All right, sure.”

Q: What piece did you play on the piano?

A: I played Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin. It was fun. I actually arranged part of it because I had to cut some parts off so it wouldn’t be 14 minutes long.

Q: What was the time limit for each act?

A: Between 5 and 7 minutes.

Q: Why did you decide to try out for Mr. NCHS?

A: It just seemed like something fun to do, and since I can’t do the Multicultural Show this year that’s what I decided to do.

Q: Can you talk more about behind-the-scenes parts to Mr. NCHS?

A: The changing room experience was very interesting. There’s a lot of pep talks and getting fired up. In between changes I know both me and Andrew Barrett had a couple minutes to change. For my changing, I had less than two minutes to get out of my tux and get into summer wear. Things at some point were really stressful, but most of it was just laid-back and a really fun experience.

Q: How did the video making happen?

A: That was done a while ago. That’s the reason we had to have our characters so early, so we would be able to make the movies early on. That was probably in mid-January that they were made. Mark [Irion and Pat Mallett, seniors] do a great job editing but I’m sure it takes a long time.

Q: What did you get out of the Mr. NCHS experience?

A: People from different friend groups can still be friends. A lot of people I wouldn’t be friends with otherwise—Jeff Lepine or John Rodgers and I probably wouldn’t be as close friends with Mike Neal or Jack Taylor. A lot of us grew a lot of closer, which just show that social barriers can be broken. People can be friends no matter what.

Q: Most unique part of the show?

A: I think it was Kyle’s act, not going to lie. I had never seen anything like that before. I don’t think anyone had. And just the way that he went about it with a straight face the entire time was really amusing.

Q: What do you think was the highlight of the show?

A: Two things: when John Rodgers walked on to the stage, his whole clan would start yelling his name and then also, when [John Rodgers] decided that no matter what question he got, he was going to recite [the Miss South Carolina 2007 answer].

Q: Were the answers on-the-spot or were they planned out answers?

A: We were given some questions the day before, but the questions we got up there weren’t the exact same ones. Some of the wording was changed, how the question was asked. Some of the general ideas were kept the change. For Dave’s [question], his was “Who do you think should be Mr. NCHS?” and the question before was “Why do you think you should be Mr. NCHS?” When Dave first got that question, it was hilarious. He just looked down the line sizing us up and was like, “Uh…Kyle?”

Q: Anything to add?

A: For next year’s Mr. NCHS,  just to make sure to have a sleepover after that.

Q: Advice you have for future Mr. NCHS contestants?

A: Don’t wait to the last minute to start putting together your act, and just relax and have fun with it. If you try to force the answers out to the questions, it will just be eh. But if you just have fun with it, it will be funny.

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About the Contributor
Emily Zhen, Managing Editor, Opinions Columnist
Email: [email protected] Favorite Quote: "Do you ever have nightmares that you don't align to baseline grid?" - Mikayla Ostendorf Best CT Memory: Walking down the San Antonio Riverwalk with the rest of the CT staff at convention last year. It was absolutely picturesque at night, and we ate at a great Tex-Mex restaurant called Iron Cactus. They had the best guacamole that we sat there eating for a whole hour. A word that describes me is... enthusiastic because I'm passionate about the activities and organizations I'm involved in. My interest in journalism is... news and opinions writing.
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