Going behind the mask

With Chester the Wildcat

Regan Grant

More stories from Regan Grant

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Bella Fogg

Chester the Wildcat at the Varsity Football Game on Aug. 27 against Kingwood High School.

Sweaty and tired, Chester the Wildcat returns to his locker room with a life-changing surprise waiting for him.
When Senior Black Wallace entered his locker room he noticed a man in a bright orange shirt after wiping his foggy glasses.
Wallace, who plays the mascot for Cypress Woods High School, was surprised to find a Clemson mascot recruiter waiting to interview him. Being a mascot isn’t the path that Wallace had imagined for himself, but he was honored to be scouted.
Originally, Wallace played football, but after suffering from a back injury, he could no longer play the sport he loved so much.
“I still wanted to be close to football without being able to do it,” Wallace said. “I decided to be a mascot because it was closest and it was something different, and I’ve been doing it ever since.”
After trying out freshman year, Wallace was officially Chester the Wildcat. His first appearance was at the annual powder puff football game.
“I didn’t understand that the mascot was supposed to wear clothes, so I was naked,” Wallace said. “I remember being hot and I didn’t know what to do, and I was constantly looking down the whole time.”
Since then, Wallace has come a long way and is no longer the scared, apprehensive mascot he was during his freshman year.
Senior Kelvin Pickett, varsity cheer captain and long-time friend of Wallace, has seen Wallace slowly improve his cheer and mascot skills.
“He has really grown over the years,” Pickett said. “He has really broken out of his shell when he becomes the mascot.”
Cheer Coach Lemanda Singletary, is grateful for Wallace and all that he has done for the cheer team.
“He has really been there for all the cheerleaders and when he is Chester he always puts a smile on everyone’s face,” Singletary said. “It has been really rewarding to see him get better and bring Chester alive.”
Wallace has taken on the character of Chester and has even created a backstory for Chester in order for him to truly transform into the infamous wildcat.
Chester the Wildcat is known for bringing the spirit to every event he attends, so Wallace created a reason for Chester’s liveliness. “Chester has ADHD. He has medicine for it, but he doesn’t take it,” Wallace said. “That’s the reason he has so much energy.”
“I’m really quiet and I don’t really say much, I’m always in the back of class,” Wallace said. “Chester is the complete opposite, so I can’t be myself as Chester. Chester is his own person.”
Wallace has gotten offers from the University of Houston, Clemson and Texas Tech. He hasn’t made a decision yet, but is excited to continue on his journey of being a mascot.