The Greatest Pageant

“The Greatest Show” was the 25th annual Mr. and Mrs. Jackrabbit Pageant, that displays the talents of senior students at Long Beach Polytechnic High School. This year 13 Jackrabbits competed with each other for the title “Mr. and Mrs. Jackrabbit”. Meanwhile 3 fellow seniors took place in the show by participating as hosts. Here are some questions we asked each contestant, along with the three daring hosts:

  1.  What prompted you to try out for the pageant/host?
  2. If you could only have one wish, what would you wish for?
  3. If you could visit any place in the world, where would you go?
  4. What have you gained from the experience of working up to the pageant and/or the pageant as well?

Michael Chhay

1) Well, during my junior year, I was the head of the Jackrabbit Pageant and organizing it was one of my proudest accomplishments. So, of course, I wanted to be in it because of how it brought the community together.
2) I would wish for an unlimited boba supply in my fridge so I can have easy access in times of need.
3) I would visit Japan because I have studied the language and culture, and I would live to put my skills to use while seeing the beauty of the country.
4) The most valuable experience is the connections I have made with the contestants and MCs. We have gone to school together for the past four years, and some I didn’t know well, but they have gone from familiar faces to reliable friends. Now when we see each other in the hall, our greetings changed from small smiles to warm hugs.

Chakravartin Sokhomsan

1) From attending Jackrabbit Pageant in previous years, I realized there was a lack of Cambodian representation in the pageants. This was saddening since Poly is located in the largest Cambodian population outside of Cambodia. Therefore, since as a freshman, I’ve wanted to represent my culture and heritage; I thought, what is a better way than performing a Cambodian Classical Dance piece and dressing up as a pioneer paving the way for more men to be a part of Cambodian dance!
2) If I could wish for one thing, it would be rain for Australia, and no drafting for WWIII, I’m trying to go to college.
3) If I could visit any place in the world, it would probably be somewhere in Southeast Asia. On my bucket list are Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam since their culture and heritage and arts are similar to Cambodia.
4) A valuable lesson is the importance of authenticity: It’s not just about winning. You should remain yourself, especially when competing in a pageant. Once you’re focused on the prize rather than your pride, you lose yourself. Choosing to perform certain pieces, and portraying myself according to certain inspirations was on my terms; swaying from portraying any other way to not please others.

Valery C. Sanchez

1) I wanted to do something for myself, and perform, I love to perform and I just wanted to be apart for the 2020 pageant.
2) That’s a hard one but I think I would just wish for more wishes like everyone else.
3) Europe, for sure, I would to visit many places but Europe is the first place I would go.
4) Just so much love and support from everyone and the contestants. We kinda have this family bond.

Gari L. Nolan

1) I saw it last year and just knew I had to be in it. The past contestants looked like they were having so much fun, so I knew I had to do it.
2) I would wish for more wishes, obviously.
3) I would really like to visit Ethiopia because my ancestors are from there and I would like to experience the culture.
4) I have met a lot of new people as a result of being in the pageant, and I don’t think I would have met them if it wasn’t a contestant.

Heather Davis

1) I’ve always loved performing and being on stage since I was a kid because I grew up doing dance and being in dance recitals.
2) For my family to always be okay, like to be healthy, always be okay financially, and to be safe.
3) Sydney, Australia because I just think it’s so beautiful and I’ve never been out of North America, and I really want to go to Australia.
4) It’s great getting to know all of the other contestants and being part of a big show. It’s helped me make my senior year memorable and fun.

Emmanuel Guia Guerrero

1) What prompted me to try out for the pageant was knowing that it would be my very last important performance in high school.
2) If I were to have one wish, it’d be to help anyone that is suffering physically, mentally, and/or emotionally.
3) I would love to go to New York. It has always been a huge dream of mine ever since I was little. I’ve always dreamed of being able to see musicals on Broadway, take a walk at Central Park and take a boat ride to the Statue of Liberty and see all the pieces of history.
4) What I gained from working on the pageant is that it takes hard work and determination to put on a huge show. It may be tiring with rehearsals and meetings, but in the end it was completely worth it. Knowing that I was able to be part of a huge production and creating new friendships that I know will last for years to come.

Jailenn A. Williams

1) Watching the show as an underclassman I knew that I wanted to be a part of it but I didn’t have talent so I thought being a MC would be a good fit for me, I also thought it was a great way to finish off my time at Poly.
2) I would wish for the ability to stop the world at any moment and take a nap, or go to the mall and grab a pile of clothes and then let it continue when I want it to without anyone knowing it stopped.
3) If I could visit any place in the world it would be the setting of the movie Guava Island with Rihanna and Donald Glover.
4) I have learned that JPAG is so underrated and how much time and effort is put into it to become the greatest show.

Lucille A. Nottonson

1) It seemed like it would be a cool event to experience since it’s already my senior year.
2) I would wish to be happy for my whole life without any sadness to deal with. It will bring me more success.
3) I would visit Egypt so I can see the pyramids with my own eyes instead of pictures.
4) I met new people from different programs around Poly and made new friends.

Zane Witter

1) I decided to try out for the pageant because I wanted to feel like I was participating during my senior year, but also because the deadline had been extended due to so few male applicants.
2) I’d wish for a more cooperative global community (world peace is always a classic).
3) I’d visit some super remote area of Alaska that’s been almost untouched by humans, the geography there is spectacular.
4) The greatest thing I’ve gained from the Pageant is 12 new friends, and that’s not counting everyone involved in the pageant that I grew closer to but wasn’t a contestant. They’re all so supportive, and they made the hard weeks leading up to the pageant worth it.

Snigdha Barua

1) I think I ultimately auditioned for JPAG because I wanted a high school experience that went beyond the classroom. As someone who is not involved in many activities on-campus, I thought JPAG would get me out of my comfort zone and allow me to meet people outside my pathway.
2) It’s a bit foolish, but I would wish for my home-country Bangladesh to be larger in landmass. I think a lot of the problems faced by many Bangladeshis such as sanitation could be improved by it.
3) If I could visit any place in the world, I would go to Lumbini, Nepal. It’s Siddhartha Gautama’s birthplace and its sort of a pilgrimage site; I hold deep value in Buddha’s teachings so being able to go there would be amazing.
4) As cheesy as it may sound, I now understand what “it’s not the destination, it’s the journey” means. Throughout the past months we (the contestants) worked tremendously hard alongside the ASB heads, Stage Crew, staff in charge, etc. Although our end goal was to put on “The Greatest Show” the bonds we created together will forever stick with me. I was rather “over it” the week prior to the show and now I miss it.

Nohemi Pino

1) I really wanted to be a part of something big at Poly, because I’ve never been super involved in school activities.
2) I would wish for my college to be paid for.
3) I would love to go to Greece, it looks so beautiful.
4) I definitely bettered my public speaking and planning skills, bust most importantly, I gained an awesome group of friends!

Amanda Angeles

1) I love to perform and it would be a cool opportunity to show my talents on stage for the whole school to watch. I had never performed in front of this many people from Poly before, and it was interesting to sing for a full auditorium of her peers.
2) I would wish to be on Broadway.
3) If I could go anywhere in the world I would go to New York.
4) Unlike my typical musical theater performances, this type of audience tended to want to clap in the middle of my song instead of waiting for the end. It was interesting to have to work around the cheering and stuff like that. So I guess I learned how to adapt my performance based on having a different kind of audience.

Dominic Rojas

1) I’ve performed at a lot of the Poly Faire’s and I liked singing in front of people so I thought “why not?”
2) I’d wish for free education because college debt is no joke.
3) I’d visit Hawaii and chill at the beach.
4) I gained valuable friendships with some of Poly’s most talented people. I’ve also became more confident in performing.

Laura Yontz

1) I just wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone and have fun.
2) I would wish for the world to receive what it needs most to become a better place.
3) I would go to Egypt and explore the rich history there.
4) Taking a baby step and trying something new can open so many doors for you to broaden your experiences and to meet new people. The best things always come as a surprise!

Micaela A. Ramos

1) I thought it would be fun and I thought it would be a good opportunity to perform for the school. I wanted to put myself out there and be brave.
2) That a drunk driver didn’t kill my family. I would love that.
3) I think it’d be cool to go to Japan.
4) I got a lot closer with people I wouldn’t have had if I didn’t do Jackrabbit Pageant.

Janelle Soriano

1 ) I wanted to try out for the pageant because I’ve known about it since I was in 8th grade and I love showcasing my talent.
2 ) If I had one wish, I’d wish for a lifetime supply of boba from Sharetea 🙂
3) I’d want to visit Bora Bora because I love being on tropical islands.
4) I’ve gained new friendships along with a new love for my talent. I learned that singing is all I ever want to do in life 🙂