Mascot retires, training begins

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Cheer coach Ashley Robinson introducing the cheer team. The mascot performs during the pep rally.

Trinh Ha, Staff Writer

Mascot training began in October as the current mascot for the past four years of Ann Richards, Monica Martinez, anticipates graduation which will end her four-year tenure as mascot in the spring of 2015.

The Ann Richards school cheer-leading team, born in 2012, is a program founded by a fellow senior in the class of 2015, Jazmine Smith and by a sponsor from the school, Ashley Robinson. Monica Martinez, now a senior, has served as the Ann Richards School mascot alongside the cheer team from when they started three years ago.

“It all started when I was a freshman, my dad drops me off early to get to his teaching job so I am always at school early,” said Martinez in a phone interview. “Then one day Ms. Waugh asked me to get inside the star costume and try it on. I didn’t know that it would turn into a four year commitment.”

Mascot training will consist of a fitness test that includes a mile time trial, participating in work outs with the cheer-leading team, and conditioning.

“They have to come out during a game and shadow Monica for at least 30 minutes and ask her questions if they have any. Then they can change into the costume themselves and see if it fits them and see if it’s comfortable or not,” said Cheer coach Ashley Robinson.

The mascot is a known figure in the school hallways and events, when asked what is the best thing about being the mascot Martinez said, “Having so much freedom, you can go in front of a teacher and dance with them or just have fun and going crazy. Nobody cares what you’re doing when being crazy is what you’re supposed to do.”

From Monica’s freshman year to now, the cheerleaders and mascot have performed in front of the school various times — during school assemblies, opening ceremonies, volleyball games, basketball games.

“The mascot is really helpful to the cheerleaders and to add any kind of pep at all because when we’re all really tired, seeing Monica out there makes us laugh and reminds us why we’re there,” said Jazmine Smith, former Cheer captain.

Monica’s adventure in the five pointed tip costume taught her a couple of lessons along the way.

“Be very lovingly and caring. Just have fun with it and decorate the costume with ribbons and bows if you can,” said Martinez. “Be aware of your surroundings, you will move a lot and bump into people often.”

It’s no secret that the person inside the costume is Monica Martinez, from taking pictures with students to doing cartwheels in school assembly, it’s obvious that being that mascot requires enthusiasm.

“She’s a very high energy person and she definitely advocates for herself,” said Robinson.

As for the benefits of becoming the mascot, Martinez said, “Being the mascot gave me more confidence because I could do whatever I wanted in the costume, just be prepared for hard work in practice…and set aside fresh clothes.”