The Eagle Revealed! Sort of.

After being carried into the gym on a plywood platform by a team of senior boys, the Eagle removed his headpiece to reveal his true identity before the entire student body at a pep rally last month.

Mr. Ross Bridges.

“I…I believe…I believe that… I believe that we… I believe that we will win!” Bridges screamed, revving the students up before the game.

“I now have a new-found respect for people who do that for an extended period of time/career. It was a lot more difficult than I expected,” Bridges said in an e-mail.

The new eagles have a big beak to fill after the departure of Raj Patel, who served as mascot between 2012-2014 before graduating last year.

“Last year, he was the only one acting in the suit because he was just so great at it,” Sports Information Director Ms. Terry Sowell said.

After Patel graduated, he received a scholarship to Mercer University to act as Tobi the Bear, Mercer University’s mascot.  Patel sometimes returns to help coach the current Eagle before special events.

“It was a lot of hard work, but it paid off in the end,” Patel said. “I have taught the current eagle a few tips and tricks once or twice this year.”

So far, Bridges is the only eagle to reveal his identity.

“We wanted somebody that was full of energy — someone who could get the crowd excited and show school spirit,” Assistant Football Coach Miles Pippin said.

But Sowell promised not to keep the eagle masked forever.

“The secret identities will be revealed by the end of the year,” Sowell said. “Being the eagle is a huge honor and it is truly a representation of Stratford. I think that’s something we need to take seriously, and we need to respect whomever is in the costume.”