Posted on

Exchange student earns Mr. Renaissance title

Exchange student earns Mr. Renaissance title
Exchange student earns Mr. Renaissance title
Benni Krueger, an exchange student from Germany who attends Lanesville Junior-Senior High School, was named Mr. Harrison County Renaissance during Sunday afternoon's contest. In the background is North Harrison High School senior Cole Duffy, who was first runner-up. (Photo by Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor)

Benni Krueger was nervous about being a contestant in Sunday’s Mr. Harrison County Renaissance contest. The exchange student, who is a junior at Lanesville Junior-Senior High School, told his host parents, Bob and Theresa Schickel, that he didn’t want to come in last.
The young man from Germany didn’t need to worry; he won the contest.
After receiving his crown, trophy and prizes, and getting congratulations from his host parents, Krueger said he would have to call his mother, Angelika Krueger, when they got back to the Schickels’ home. His escort was Daria Blank.
The Mr. Harrison County Renaissance contest was started in 2004 as a fund-raiser for the countywide Renaissance program. A nationwide program, Renaissance was started in 1988 as a way to recognize students for positive behavior, good grades and improved academics. Teachers and staff are also recognized at the more than 1,500 schools across the nation that have Renaissance programs.
Sunday afternoon’s contest, held in the auditorium at Corydon Central High School, is not a beauty contest. Instead, male students in grades nine through 12 are judged in swim wear, formal wear, talent and an onstage question.
While most of the 16 contestants gave the basic information ‘ name, school, grade and parents ‘ in the opening round, some personalities started to come through, like when Ben Schreck, a junior at South Central Junior-Senior High, said he likes to take long walks on the beach and enjoys hot tubs.
The talent portion included a piano solo by South Central senior Stephan Dittrich, another exchange student from Germany; a monologue by Lanesville senior Nic Parsons of Abbott and Costello’s famous ‘Who’s on First’ routine; and an impressive juggling act by Andrew Sherrard, a junior at South Central. Two contestants, junior Keith Scranton and senior Jerry Grant, both students at North Harrison High, read poems they had written (Grant’s was a tribute to his grandparents and mentioned his late mother, Melissa Grant).
There were several singers, including juniors Nathan Ettinger and Jake Helms, both from CCHS, Rusty Farris from South Central and Seth Jacobs, from Lanesville, and then there was NHHS senior Cole Duffy, who ‘selected’ a female to join him on stage while he sang ‘Fever’ to her and twirled her around on a few occasions.
For his talent, Krueger played a song by the heavy metal band Metallica and a couple of short songs from his native land. He showed his versatility by playing portions with the guitar behind his back.
Strutting across the stage in swim wear was a little more nerve-racking for some of the contestants. CCHS junior Jamien Tomlinson opted to take a different route and dressed as a girl, while Lanesville senior Aaron McKim and NHHS junior Eric Baxter wore flotation devices around their stomachs. Glen Gruny, a Corydon Central sophomore, drew a face on his chest and stomach.
After a quick change into formal wear, donated by Sam Myers, the eight semi-finalists were announced. They were Duffy, Farris, Helms, Krueger, McKim, Schreck, Sherrard and Tomlinson. They each randomly selected a question to answer onstage.
Krueger, in response to his question about what he does to lead a healthy life, said he stays away from drugs and goes to the gym.
Duffy was named first runner-up, and McKim, was second runner-up.
Throughout the program, before the announcement of the 2006 Mr. Harrison County Renaissance, there was entertainment, including the 2005 and 2004 Lanesville Heritage Queens, Heather Schaefer and Rebekah Jordan, respectively, Amanda Johnson, who was joined by Ettinger, and magician Joseph Nix, who was a contestant in last year’s competition.
Last year’s winner, Nick Allen, who graduated in 2005 from North Harrison, also did his rendition of ‘Amazing Grace,’ sung to different tunes, including ‘Yankee Doodle’ and ‘Jingle Bells.’
Gary Pope, vice principal at CCHS, said the contest ‘gets a little better and a little longer’ each year.