Two personable George Mason High School seniors, Andrea Dilao and Alec Reusch, won the 17th annual Mr. and Mrs. Mason pageant/competition and will be riding the float as the King and Queen of Falls Church during the 2017 Falls Church Memorial Day parade this Monday.
The contestants were nominated by faculty and judged by a collection of student and teachers on four different categories: a prepared bio and a talent demonstration, and for the finalists, a formal wear and questionnaire portion of the competition. Dilao and Reusch rose to the top thanks to their out-of-the-box skills and clever answers that ensured they’d be representing their school come May 29.
The two took some time to sit down with the News-Press and discuss the experience during the competition, how their time was at Mason and their plans down the road.
News-Press: So how exactly did you two go about becoming Mr. and Mrs. Mason?
Reusch: Last year, since I was nominated then, too, for my talent I juggled two balls with one hand while brushing my teeth. For this year, I wanted to continue with the multi-tasking thing, and since I play hockey, I flipped a puck up on my stick and kept it in the air while reciting a Shakespeare monologue.
Dilao: I was also nominated before. My sophomore year I did this lip sync where I walked down the hallways and lip-synced to a rock song and then I got onstage and danced to a song with a few friends. I wanted to do something along the same lines this year, so Nico Ferrara and I did this Backstreet Boys vs. Spice Girls dance battle, except we gender switched. So me and four other friends were the Backstreet Boys and Nico and four other boys were the Spice Girls.[But] I think my bio was what earned me Mrs. Mason because I pretended I was a princess for the Philippines and my sister was my bodyguard and she walked me across the stage.
Reusch: For the questionnaire part of I had invent a new letter in the alphabet so I came up with this letter that makes a [weird] sound and started drawing it.
N-P: Graduation’s right around the corner, what are you plans for the summer and the upcoming school year?
Reusch: I am going to go to Ohio State University, and actually my family is moving there – to Columbus – so I think some point in July or August we’ll be moving there and getting settled there. I don’t know what I’m going to study yet, I’m undecided in arts and sciences, but I’ll figure something out I’m sure.
Dilao: I am going to the University of Virginia, and I’m also kind of undecided, but I’m thinking along the lines of political science or international relations. I do know for sure that I’m going to minor in Spanish. Over the summer, I’m going to the beach with a few friends the Saturday after graduation and then I’m going back to the Philippines for three or four weeks. I haven’t been back since I was in eighth grade so I’m very excited to do that.
N-P: I know you both are still on the fence about what you plan to do career-wise after college, but what would be your the ideal field to work in if you had a choice?
Reusch: I’m big into theater. At Mason, I’ve done all the shows. So I’ll keep doing it to some degree [in college], whether it’s as a hobby to be in some shows or to actually study it. Really just some kind of actor or performer on stage.
Dilao: After college, I wanna test the waters a little. I wanna do some humanitarian work, I’m also kind of interested in law and teaching, so we’ll see where that takes me.
N-P: Mason’s unique in that it’s a small school in a major metro area, unlike the other schools around here. How was your own experience at Mason?
Dilao: I could never express how grateful how I am that we’re such a small school in a tiny community, but also have so much diversity. We’re exposed to more than we could have imagined even living in a small community just because D.C. is minutes away. We have State Department kids coming to Mason all the time that are sharing their experiences and we deal with a lot of strong opinions and are exposed to a lot of personalities. Even though it is kind of a bubble because it’s so isolated at times, it has been a great experience and being able to know how to deal with different kinds of perspectives that come in with the new kids and being so close to D.C, it’s definitely been a bit of a ride.
Reusch: I moved around a lot when I was younger. I was born in Virginia and lived around here, but lived in Australia when I was really young and Colorado and England at one point, so I was really grateful to stay here for the entirety of my high school career. It was good to grow up, at least in high school, in such a great community because it’s pretty tight-knit.
N-P: Anything challenging about going to such a small school?
Dilao: Everybody knows everything. You can’t keep anything hidden for very long. That hasn’t really been a problem for me, it’s just hard when something that could have seemed personal is something that everybody already knows. The community is very supportive, but it’s so small that nothing stays quiet for very long.
Reusch: You don’t really meet a ton of new people. You know, you come to school everyday and see the same people everyday, which is great, but I’ll be excited to move out and actually meet new people.
N-P: If you could go back in time and tell your freshman self one thing, what would it be?
Reusch: I probably wouldn’t say much, if anything. I don’t have one single regret where I’m like “Oh I wish I did that differently,” everything’s been pretty fine.
Dilao: I would probably be the same way. I wouldn’t say much because I’m happy with senior me, like, I’m glad freshman me made all those mistakes because i’m happy with the way I turned out. But, if I could give freshman Andrea some advice, I’d say “Don’t stress out so much.” Everything’s gonna work out.
N-P: Pretty cool that you’re a part of the parade, do you have any special gestures in mind?
Dilao: Probably not [laughs], maybe I’ll throw candy to children.
Reusch: I’ll be doing my Queen wave, but otherwise we’ll figure it out.