Tai Groeneveld Wins Dr. Harriton


Last Friday, Tai Groeneveld, senior, was crowned the first Dr. Harriton for his stunning solo dance routine on the stage of the high school auditorium.

Tai ordinarily dances at DanceXpress Dance Studio, and his talent shone through to the judges and impressed the avid audience. Matt Pearl won second place, and Zeke Millrood placed third.

The 12th annual competition, organized by Student Council, raised $35,239 for charity. Dr. Harriton’s theme was motion pictures, and each contestant represented a different movie genre.

This year’s crowd was bigger, compared to last year’s show, and every section of the auditorium was filled, the audience eagerly rooting for each act of the program.

The controversy of the name change, from Mr. Harriton to Dr. Harriton, seemed to be forgotten since the unpopular rebranding did not put a damper on the attendance or enthusiasm.

“It was really fun to see my first Dr. Harriton show,” Evie Greenberg, freshmen, said.

Ben Newman (Adventure), senior, sang and beatboxed along to “Attention” by Charlie Puth, compiling his live voice with prerecorded instrumental and harmonizing clips of himself.

Graham Branscom (Mystery), “Detective Rat,” gave a stand-up show while creating balloon animals complementing his punch-lines. The junior touched upon being a teenager at Harriton and advocated for later start times, which was welcomed with warm applause.

Michael de Botton (Documentary), senior, delivered a one-man-puppet dance to “YMCA.” Poles were connected horizontally to his and the puppets’ limbs, making it seem as if the puppets were doing the same moves as him.

Zeke “Zoup” Millrood (Horror), senior, combined a magic trick with a drum solo. He asked each judge to write a number 1 to 300 on a slip of paper, and as the paper was passed down the table, the numbers were added together. After giving his drum performance, the sum was revealed to be 417, and sure enough, 417 was written on the chalkboard his partner, Grace, who came onto stage, held.

Mike “The Italian Stallion” Becker (Action), danced, mimicking as if he was playing the Just Dance video game. At end, it was revealed that the senior was really painting with his feet on a banner. When held up, it read, “I’m Dr. Harriton.”

Ryan Dieudonné (Romance), senior, gave a fitness training lesson, part of his “Big Dog Fitness Volume 2.” In an ’80s style workout, he showed his strength, by squatting while lifting two fellow students on each side of a barbell.

Jono Levit (Comedy), senior, taught the crowd how to make a classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but used sunflower butter for allergy concerns. Like the Not My Arms challenges on YouTube, his partner Nikki Handel stood behind him, making the sandwich, and Jono explained the task.

Scott Blender (Musical), junior, rapped to an original track, proclaiming himself a “rap god.”

Tai Groeneveld (Fantasy) gave a beautiful dance performance and even threw on his tap shoes as part of the routine.

Matt Pearl (Sci-Fi), senior, played a traditional piece on the grand piano, but then spontaneously switched to an electronic piano, accompanied by a slow beat. He then sang a romantic ballad with a talk box, a device that makes the voice sound auto-tuned and robotic.

The annual competition is considered Harriton’s biggest student event. The show brings together all types of students since peers and teachers want to show up and support the contestants, who come from different clubs, activities, and social circles.

“The show was really great,” Sage Torrisi, sophomore, said. “My favorite part was Ben [Newman]. I feel obligated to say that since I’m in Acapella.”

At the closing of the show, Jacob Eiseman, the 11th Mr. Harriton, handed the crown off to Tai Groeneveld, the 12th winner.