Blackwell fills role of mascot with energy, personalityFriday, December 16, 2005 By Alexi Holian
Twittering down the hallways, sporting colorful outfits with her long blonde hair trailing behind, one might liken Cayleigh Blackwell more to a parakeet than a bird of prey. For the last two years however, Blackwell has transformed from the bubbly blonde into a nighthawk for athletic competitions, complete with talons and an enormous beak. “Cayleigh is a very outgoing person. She isn’t afraid to go out in front of people and do crazy things,” junior Katie Blackstock said. Kim Murray, parent and member of the FFHS Athletic Booster’s Club was the first to suggest that Blackwell would be spirited and outgoing enough to fill the position of FFHS’s Nighthawk. When Blackwell showed an increasing interest, it was decided that she would be the Nighthawks’ mascot. Working her comic routine for the crowds at basketball games, the spastic ladybird flutters and slides in hopes of charging the crowd. “I knew Cayleigh had a great personality, and she’s just full of energy,” Murray said. “She really gets the crowd going.” For Blackwell, suiting up in the Nighthawk costume is simply a joy. “It’s really fun when little kids come up and hug you, and they just think you’re the best,” Blackwell said. And though she may have an 8-foot wingspan, Blackwell is far from bird-brained. She is active not only as the school mascot, but is now a member of one of the teams she frequently cheers on: the varsity girls basketball team. With her many commitments, there are times when she just needs to rest her wings. And overexertion is not the only downside of the job. Blackwell has been the victim of others’ foul play on several occassions. “Older kids think it’s fun to call me names and push me around,” she said. “But I definitely think the pros outweigh the cons.” Blackwell has not decided if she is going to continue her mascot career beyond high school. As of now, her hopes are high.