PORTAGE | Thirty-three Portage High School seniors are hoping they've got what it takes to be named this year's Outstanding Young Man on Feb. 2.
To gain the top spot and the scholarship dollars that come along with it, the 33 will compete in a physical segment, showcase their academic achievements, answer questions of a five-judge panel and strut on the stage in both business casual ware and tuxedos.
"It's pretty awesome," said Rashaan Coleman. "It's kind of a brotherhood. A lot of these guys, I've gone all through school with."
It is also the kick off to the events that will round out their senior year, said Coleman, who will attend the University of Indianapolis to study economics and sports management.
"My brother was a part of it and I've heard nothing but good about it. It is a lot of fun," added participant Eric Anderson, who has been accepted at Kansas State University and will study animal science.
Since the competition was started 22 years ago, thousands of dollars in scholarships have been awarded, said Will Fortenberry, a Portage High teacher, former contestant and co-sponsor with Brett Gordon of the program.
"This is a chance to give them their time to shine," said Fortenberry.
While they plan on giving away $9,000 in scholarships this year, Fortenberry said donations have been down. They are looking for donors to keep the program moving forward and are also looking for donations of anything from gift cards to cash to reward winning contestants.
The program was established by former Portage High teacher Joe Stevens as the male answer to the then Portage Junior Miss program, now the Distinguished Young Woman.
Coleman and Anderson said those who attend also will be entertained for the evening as the contestants perform on stage with the physical segment to MC Hammer's "Can't Touch This." The segment is choreographed by PHS Distinguished Young Woman Rachael Stewart and Clarissa Tokash.
Tickets are $10 per person at the door. The program will be at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 2 in the PHS East auditorium.