What is Mr. Apex?
By: Kylie Radford
When working on an article about Student Council, I stumbled across an old student council site with a tab designated “Mr. Apex”. Out of interest, I began looking through the website to see just what life was like just seven years ago. Upon further investigation, I was intrigued by what I found: a YouTube video that consisted of male students being asked a series of interview questions. I found the video very funny and entertaining, and was curious to learn more about what exactly Mr. Apex was. After a series of dead ends, about three weeks ago, I returned to the website with a renewed urge to investigate further. After many attempts, I decided my only option was to reach out to the Mr. Apex candidates and see what they were able to tell me about the event.
Of the seven candidates, I was able to get into contact with three; all of whom seemed thrilled about the chance to share about a fun time in their lives. They collectively explained to me that Mr. Apex was essentially a men’s talent show/pageant that originated at Apex in 2015, and only occurred once more in 2016. In Mr. Apex, a handful of senior boys were nominated by their peers during homeroom to perform in Mr. Apex; the nominees were interviewed, and a final few students were selected to participate in the event. The final competitors were then revealed during the morning announcements. One of the competitors, Andrew Fiorentino, explained to me that one of his favorite things about Mr. Apex was that there was a large variety of contestants; each of the candidates came from different backgrounds and had different interests and personalities.
As a candidate of Mr. Apex, students were expected to participate in two specific performances. The first performance was a group production, in which all Mr. Apex nominees participated in a dance together. The group performance was done to several trending songs of the time.
Following the group dance, the nominees created their own dance or displayed a talent. They could partner up, or do them individually. I was able to interview Tyler Galvin and Andrew Fiorentino, who had paired up to perform a dance to “Sexy and I Know It” by LMFAO. I was also able to interview Connor Riley, who had paired up with Sammy Camut to recreate the Blues Brothers’ “Soul Man” dance from the Drake and Josh Talent Show episode. Zafir Alam, the 2015 Mr. Apex winner, had staged a magic show as his talent. After the performances, a vote was taken to decide who would earn the title of Mr. Apex. Friends and family of the performers, as well as many other students, came to observe the event in the auditorium after school.
In addition to staging performances, the Mr. Apex nominees were also expected to attend numerous meetings, in order to practice for the event. They were also expected to participate in an interview video. I asked each of the interviewed candidates to reflect on their previous answers, and compare them to now. In the original interview with Tyler Galvin, he is asked what his best dance move is, and he demonstrates the worm. I was pleased to know that he can still do it, although I regret not getting a rendition.
Next, I interviewed Connor Riley. In his Mr. Apex interview Connor was asked what his dream car is, and he replied that it was a Lamborghini Aventador. Connor informed me that the $500,000 car remained his favorite, and he was saving up to purchase one of his own. The Mr. Apex video also included Connor being asked what his dream date would be, and he stated that he would love to take his girlfriend in the Lamborghini to a car show. This brought about much serendipity as Connor explained that while he hadn’t taken any girls to a car show in a lambo, he did rent a Lamborghini Huracan in Miami and use it to propose to his (now) fiancé. Connor’s final interview question was to state his best pickup line, to which he replied, “Hey there, my name is Connor Riley.” The icing on the cake was that these were Connor’s first words to his fiance, so clearly they were an effective choice.
Though I was unable to interview competitor Sammy Camut, his best friend and fellow Mr. Apex nominee- Connor Riley- was able to give me an update on Sammy’s life. In his previous interview, Sammy Camut was asked about his biggest fear, to which he responded- and I quote- “Not being filthy rich and having a cow of [his] own.” I asked how that was going for Sammy, and Connor responded, “He is still working on getting rich and getting cows.”
Finally, I interviewed Andrew Fiorentino. In his Mr. Apex interview, Andrew was asked what his best pick up line was, to which he responded, “Are you an angel? Because you fell from heaven. (*insert wink here) Bing!” Andrew stated that he has since evolved away from pickup lines due to their cringy nature, and he advises everyone to do the same. In his interview seven years ago, Andrew was also asked what his biggest pet peeve is. He replied, “When people take days to text me back,” followed by him calling out his friend Jimmy Stevens. Andrew informed me that he is still waiting on that text back from his best friend Jimmy Stevens, because he is very bad at responding.
With the passage of time, many Mr. Apex competitors had drifted apart after graduation. Especially with the conflict of distance, as Andrew Fiorentino moved all the way to California! However, two of the competitors- Sammy Camut and Connor Riley- have remained best friends throughout the years. Connor Riley stated in an interview, “Sammy Camut and I were best friends in high school, went to ECU together, remained best friends throughout college, graduated together and both are currently succeeding in our career fields. I am working at Oracle Health Sciences and Sammy is working at Dell Technologies. We are still, and will continue to remain best friends.”
During my time with the nominees, I asked each of them to reflect on their time in highschool; this specifically included them sharing their favorite memories from their time at Apex. Tyler Galvin stated that his favorite memory was the Mr. Apex competition, as well the football games and senior lock-in. Connor Riley then explained, “My fondest memory at Apex was leading the Cougar Crazies (student section) my senior year alongside my best friend Sammy Camut.” Andrew Fiorentino stated that some of his fondest memories were the trips to other schools for cross country and track.
Having experienced high school here at Apex only a short time ago, I wanted to see if the Mr. Apex candidates had any advice for current students as they progress through their high school career. Tyler Galvin stated, “You only get one highschool experience, so make it fun. Don’t get caught up on things like drama and the stress of schoolwork… but do your work obviously.” Connor Riley added, “Always be kind to others and Be. Your. Self. Come up with your own dreams and goals, keep them to yourself, and don’t let anybody stop you from making those dreams become a reality.” Finally, Andrew Fiorentino advised current students to soak up every moment and enjoy life in high school.
Andrew Fiorentino explained the nostalgia that came about while reflecting on the Mr. Apex event. It was clear to me that even though it was only a short seven years ago, it was great for Andrew, as well as the other competitors, to look back at high school which was considered one of the greatest times in the course of their lives. Andrew said exactly what had been going through my mind since I began this journey: we should bring back Mr. Apex. Andrew stated, “Bringing Mr. Apex back would encourage charisma and spirit, and could also be used as a fundraiser for a charity.” While it would take a lot of effort and planning, I believe that the return of Mr. Apex would be a great addition to the Apex High School community.