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Old 02-15-2018, 11:39 PM
Newton Daily News Newton Daily News is offline
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Default Berg Middle School Lip Sync Battle returns

Berg Middle School teacher Tyler Stewart has the best kind of problem. His event, the school’s annual Lip Sync contest, continues to get bigger every year. As students and staff members gear up for the third running of the contest, Stewart said he never expected the event to become so popular.

“It started off as a small event for students to work together as a team, it got a little more elaborate last year, and this year it’s gotten completely out of hand,” Stewart said. “It’s a monster that I can’t control. I can’t contain it anymore.”

With 20 groups of contestants this year, including two groups of teachers and several groups of high school students, the contest has gotten bigger than Stewart ever imagined when he staged the first event three years ago. A fundraiser for the student council, the event has generated plenty of laughs over the years as student strut their stuff on the stage in the Berg gym. The event is set for 7 p.m. Friday and tickets are $2 at the door.

Stewart said more and more students are getting together to practice their routines in hopes of seeing their names engraved on the giant trophy that’s awarded to the winning team.

“It’s really fun to see the groups of kids get together,” Stewart said. “It’s challenging, they need to use teamwork to get through the struggles of putting their acts together.”

Bragging rights aren’t the only thing the winners will receive this year, local State Farm Insurance Agent Lonnie Portner donated $100 to the winning high school and middle school teams. The competition doesn’t just benefit the winners, Stewart said, the event is the biggest fundraiser the school does every year, with the contest bringing in $2,500 last year, a record he expects to blow past this year.

“Our student council is doubling everything we’ve done from last year,” Stewart said. “We’ve got a $20,000 account balance as of today.”

Stewart isn’t just running the show, he’s participating as well. Planning a rehash of Justin Timberlake’s Super Bowl performance, Stewart has been scouring local stores to complete his transformation into the pop icon, although he admitted he’s had trouble coming up with a camouflage suit. Berg Middle School Assistant Principal Steph Langstraat said she and Stewart both experienced a moment of sticker shock when they found the suit online.

“We’ve been looking for a replica, it’s a Stella McCartney suit, you can’t just dig those up,” Langstraat said.

With or without Timberlake’s signature suit, Stewart won’t be alone on the stage Friday night. Langstraat said she plans to join him to perform some of her favorite Pink songs. Despite only a single rehearsal, Langstraat said she’s confident she’ll have an act that will wow the audience, promising a few “big surprises” in the works. Despite all of the interest surrounding the event, Langstraat said she’s not nervous to step on stage.

“I don’t know that I’m confident, but my track record says I do my best work under pressure, I’m all about winging things,” Langstraat said.

Even if the duo’s high flying act is a flop with students Langstraat said she’s just going to shift the blame to her costar. After all, the whole thing was his idea, she said.

“This is all on Stewart, if it’s not good this is all on him,” Langstraat said.

Contact David Dolmage at 641-792-3121 ext. 6532 or

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