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Walsh Hall crowns Mr. O’Neill as Mr. ND during signature event

| Friday, September 22, 2017

Walsh Hall hosted its 17th annual Mr. ND Pageant, which invites men from each of Notre Dame’s male dorms to compete for the ultimate title of “Mr. ND,” on Thursday.

The Mr. ND Pageant is Walsh Hall’s signature event, with all proceeds from ticket sales benefitting Joseph Academy — founded 34 years ago by Notre Dame alumni to assist young students with learning disabilities — in Chicago.

Junior Adam Kulam, a resident of O'Neill Hall, beat 12 other contestants to win the title of Mr. ND.Peter St. John | The Observer

Junior Adam Kulam, a resident of O’Neill Hall, beat 12 other contestants to win the title of Mr. ND.

Junior Elizabeth Cameron, who organized the pageant with sophomore Holly Harris this year, said it serves as an opportunity for each male dorm to display an aspect of the dorm personality.

“[Mr. ND] is very representative of all the dorm communities,” Cameron said. “It’s a super fun, eclectic event.”

Walsh awards three different titles to contestants: “Mr. ND,” the top honor chosen by Walsh Hall’s rector and two Assistant Rectors as well as the reigning Mr. ND champion; “Mr. Walsh,” chosen by the women of Walsh Hall; and “Fan Favorite,” chosen by the crowd through a text-poll.

Cameron said winners are judged on “personality, technical skill and overall talent.”

During the pageant, each contestant had time to perform a talent in front of the crowd. This year’s talents included a reenactment of the “Jingle Bell Rock” scene from the movie “Mean Girls” by freshman Michael Newcome of Duncan Hall, a PowerPoint presentation about parietals by junior Patrick Messina of Siegfried Hall and a ribbon dance to the George Michael song “Careless Whisper” by freshman Ryan Burns of Sorin College.

At the end of the night, Walsh crowned junior Adam Kulam of O’Neill Hall — who performed “Defying Gravity” from the musical “Wicked” for his talent — as Mr. ND. Kulam won favor with the judges through his use of props including a fidget spinner, a broom and a padfolio. Kulam delivered a six-minute performance where he danced and sang lines for multiple characters.

When asked about how he felt about winning the pageant’s top prize, Kulam said, “I feel weightless … as though I were defying gravity.”

This year’s “Mr. Walsh” was junior Davis Gonsalves of Dunne Hall. Gonsalves, who wrote a letter to the editor in The Observer earlier this semester ranking Notre Dame’s resident halls, re-ranked the male residence halls to the tune of Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” for his talent.

Gonsalves noted before he began that in his earlier rankings he chose Walsh Hall as the best women’s dorm on campus and stood by the claim. Gonsalves’s rewritten lyrics to “Piano Man” claimed Dunne Hall was the best men’s hall, eliciting several jeers from the crowd.

Sophmore Jay Herrans of Stanford Hall was rewarded for his acoustic performance of Maroon 5’s “She Will be Loved” with the title of “Fan Favorite.”

Following the announcement of the winners, Kulam, Gonsalves and Herrans each received a sash with their respective titles emblazoned across the front. Balancing out the Mr. ND Pageant, O’Neill Hall will be holding its annual Ms. ND Pageant in the spring of 2018.

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