The two Falls Church City natives and soon-to-be George Mason High School grads who were named Mr. and Ms. Mason said they were nominated, as tradition goes, by their teachers to compete in the faux beauty pageant.
But Constance also said he competed to uphold the tradition of his two older sisters, who competed and won the Mr. and Ms. Mason competition in recent years. And Miller said that she had to overcome some stage fright in order to give her pageant-winning performance this year.
The duo sat down with the News-Press to talk about the Mr. and Ms. Mason competition, their Memorial Day and Mason memories and their plans for the parade and the future.
How did you win the Mr. and Ms. Mason titles?
Sarah Miller: So I did a skit. It was a satire on the big crazy college admissions process. I called it “College Applicants Shoot for the Moon,” and it was about how applications to the University of the Moon have skyrocketed this year. And it was just kind of silly. I pretended to be an ABC reporter and I wrote this thing to talk about and then I interviewed a bunch of my friends who are seniors about why they did or didn’t apply to the University of the Moon.
Gus Constance: I won by collaborating with my friend Emma Graig. We did a video together and in the video we performed a skit.
The premise of the skit was that the SCA advisor and an English teacher at George Mason, Mr. Laub, had been framed for embezzling money from the school, so we wanted to get to the bottom of that. We were trying to be funny and all.
What are your memories from past Memorial Days in the city?
Sarah: I love Memorial Day and chicken on a stick obviously. I love the Fun Run. I take the fun part of Fun Run seriously and I used to run cross country and I love to do it with friends and stuff. I also love just seeing everyone. It’s just so special that everyone in Falls Church comes out and I can see like my first grade teacher, or someone from my swim team that I haven’t seen all year who doesn’t necessarily go to City schools. Everyone is out at once, which is fun.
Gus: What I always looked forward to about Memorial Day was the different booths and stands and different food.
There’s this one booth that always had good lemonade. And then the parade is always very fun, with the Shriners going around in their cars and stuff. It’s just a good time.
Did you know that, by winning Mr. and Ms. Mason, you became king and queen of the Memorial Day parade?
Sarah: It was in the back of my mind but I had kinda forgotten about it until like after it happened when they were like ‘Oh, by the way, you’re the queen now.” And I was like “Oh my gosh, right. I forgot about that.”
Gus: Yeah. Both my older sisters were Ms. Mason before I was, so I knew that’s what I was in for.
What are your parade plans?
Sarah: Well, since monarchies are kinda dying out, this might be last chance to be a queen, so I’m going to go all out. So I’m definitely going to wear a crown, do the queen wave and stuff like that.
Gus: I have this really cool Hawaiian shirt that I wanna wear, probably under a blazer I guess because it’s supposed to be a little bit formal. I’m going to try to have a good time with it.
What kind of royal behaviors do you exhibit in your daily life?
Sarah: I guess queens are famous so they need to avoid paparazzi and I’m not very photogenic so if I had paparazzi I would also want to avoid them. But usually people aren’t trying to take my photo so that’s a good thing.
Gus: Exercising everyday [insert] plug for Title Boxing Club. It’s a great place. Awesome trainers. And just hanging around the many wonderful places that we have here in Falls Church. Cherry Hill Park is a favorite of mine.
What was your Mason experience like?
Sarah: It’s been wonderful. I’m so glad I was lucky enough to grow up here. Everything about Mason is so special. I love the community because it’s a smaller school, especially this year, our grade has gotten really close. And the teachers are so supportive and so wonderful. I love how everyone knows each other and the teachers go above and beyond. And just like no one takes themselves too seriously which I like. I remember my eighth grade year was the first year I was there and I was kind of apprehensive about going to high school like “Oh my gosh, there are people here who are five years older than me. That’s insane.” But some time during the school year there were people, to this day I don’t know why, but there were people dressed as Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man and the ghosts and chasing each other around the school and like no one blinked an eye like it was normal. And I thought okay, I can fit in here. I can do this.
Gus: I’d say overall it was enjoyable just because it was an environment where I was able to be friends with pretty much everyone in my grade. And so, as stressful as it may be, it was always a friendly place that I didn’t mind going back to necessarily.
What is one Mason memory you’ll never forget?
Sarah: I’ve been on swim team and student government and I started the Settlers of Catlan Club and doing the activities with that club has been so fun. And this year, my brother [David] is a freshman this year so we’ve been able to overlap and he’s been on student council, which has been so much fun. We’ve gotten a lot closer this year and I love him and I’m going to miss him so much next year. But it’s been so fun to be together this year, so I’ll never forget that.
Gus: Probably being a part of “Les Miserable,” the musical, in eighth grade. That was my first musical and I stayed a part of the theatre program since then. It was just awesome being a member of that cast. I think we got some kind of award for that. But yeah, that’ll stay with me for the rest of my life.
What are your plans after graduation?
Sarah: In the fall I’m going to Dartmouth College and I want to study neuroscience and maybe minor in statistics. I’ve done a lot of work with kids neurodevelopmental delays or that are on the autism spectrum and I’m also really interested in science, so maybe eventually get my PhD and contribute to the knowledge of neurobiological factors of developmental delays.
Gus: I’m attending VCU this fall and majoring in psychology. I’m excited to live in Richmond.
What are your career aspirations?
Sarah: As of right now – I’m definitely open to changing my mind, but I want to get my PhD and do research in that field and maybe be a professor or something like that, so I can do research or maybe a marine biologist. That’s always been my childhood dream like ‘I want to be a marine biologist,” but I’ve never done anything with marine biology, so we’ll see. I love manatees, though.
Gus: I hope maybe one day to have my own occupational therapy practice and if that doesn’t work out I might try to open a record store.
What is your message, as king and queen, to your subjects?
Sarah: I guess my message to my subjects would be if you’re a little sweaty that’s okay. I think everyone sweats at Memorial Day, so just embrace that. And you’re all wonderful and Falls Church is a great place.
Gus: Stay in school.