An annual tradition comes back to Biddeford High School.

As Mr. BHS makes a return, the absence of Miss BHS raises questions.

Michael Tenney, Staff Writer

Hopeful contestants make their way to the stage with blank smiles and big dreams as they compete to make it to the top.

Mr. BHS, an annual tradition at Biddeford High School, has males from each class compete for the title of Mr. BHS-but some new changes have been put in place.

“This year we’re changing [and] getting rid of the swimsuit competition,” said Victoria Salo, the sophomore class advisor who put on Mr. BHS. “I think it’s [the change] gonna bring in some new students, which it has.”

However, some of the contestants still felt pressure to bring laughter to the audience, including 2013 winner, senior Connor Bouffard.

“I feel the basis the judges were judging us on, apart from the Minute-To-Win-It challenges, was how funny we were,” Bouffard said.

Humor is a part of this year’s Mr. BHS pageant. 2017 class secretary Cassie Riley fears for the contestants that are more shy than others.

“Boys that are a little more shy may not be included as much but I’d like everybody to be included,” said Riley. “[However], I don’t see that happening.”

As work was done to make everybody included, females have a place in Mr. BHS as well.

“We’re having them as escorts, which I’m honestly not a fan of,” said Riley. “They’re gonna be dressed up and looking pretty, but also, I think we should have guy escorts as well, why not?”

Having male escorts and even possibly in the future exchanging male contestants with female contestants could turn a Mr. BHS into a Miss BHS, which Salo thinks is a great idea.

“In that case [I worry that] it’ll be more of a beauty contest than a character contest. Which is what we’re trying to build for the men,” Salo said.

Bouffard thinks a Miss BHS would be great idea as well, but believes that “it shouldn’t be based on looks, it should be based on the same thing that Mr. BHS is.”

Not only would Miss BHS be a good idea, but Riley thinks that it would be easier to get girls involved opposed to guys.

“As long as it’s appropriate and fun for everybody, I think we should totally do it,” Riley said.

It may be fun for everybody, but Salo worries that too much money would be put into it.

“To me, the boys are just gonna wear whatever they have that’s nice,” said Salo. “Versus the girls who might go out and spend money to have a beautiful dress.”

Riley believes that those in charge just don’t want to see girls dressed up.

“I think girls are more sexualized and that’s why they don’t want to,” said Riley. “We’re [women] not taken for funny, we’re not taken for talent, and we’re not taken for smart.”

Being taken for all these things is exactly what the male contestants were aiming for in Mr. BHS, which Bouffard says is nerve-wracking.

“There wasn’t a lot of people there, but everybody’s eyes on you is daunting, and kind of scary,” Bouffard said.

With this year’s Mr. BHS, it shouldn’t be as daunting as it was in the past, Salo believes. “I think at this point it’s tradition, and they [the students] want to bring it back,” said Salo.

Bringing back old traditions with a new mindset is exactly what Mr. BHS is doing, after contestants battled it out for who has the best mental traits.