DISCLAIMER: This article and blog, The Little Hoax, are meant to be satirical. The quotes, reactions, and points of view expressed in this article are meant to be humorous and fictional, and any resemblance to real people is entirely coincidental.
While he cheers wildly at sport games and enthusiastically rallies the student crowds, Louie the Little Hawk, City High’s aviary school mascot, leads a very different life away from the game.
“I think a lot of people think that I’m a very happy, driven person,” Louie told The Little Hawk with the help of a mascot-gesture interpreter. “I do try to be like that away from the games, but sometimes it feels like it’s impossible for me to be happy anymore.”
Louie spends his weekdays residing in the storage shed alone, accompanied by only the abandoned inflatables from last year’s winter break assembly and the occasional family of spiders. Louie describes his home as “dismal, cramped, and unspeakably lonely”. On weekends he roams the empty halls of City High, admiring the portraits of smiling students on the walls and reminiscing the time he spends dedicated to his true passions.
“I’m alone a lot, so I have ample time to spend amusing myself,” Louie said. “Sometimes I run down the hallway and back and try and time myself. Sometimes I pretend I’m at the football games again or reenact really amazing moments in City High athletic history. But I spend a lot of time just sitting and staring at the clock, too.”
The withdrawal from sports events seems to be the leading cause of Louie’s developing depression.
“I love the games so much,” Louie said. “They’re the place I can finally be myself and do what I love. I love hearing all those kids cheering with me, knowing that they appreciate me and that they’re having fun.” (Hands shaking, Louie paused to gather himself before continuing.) “I don’t feel like that anymore. I never feel more alone than I do the day after the game, because then I realize nobody is there for me.” Louie then broke down into silent, shuddering sobs and refused to answer any more questions.
When she was informed of the tragically decomposing emotional state of the mascot, school psychiatrist Janine Clarke decided to take the situation into her own hands as a personal project.
“We take care to dedicate so much time to our students’ mental and emotional health, making sure they know we’re there for them, that they have a support system,” Clarke said. “It’s very disappointing that we have neglected the most important member of our City High community in this process. Louie’s health is just as important as any other students’ and it is about time we paid attention to him. The fact that his suffering has gone on so long already is unacceptable.”
Clarke and several concerned students banded together to create a support group for Louie’s benefit. The club now meets after school on Thursdays for an hour, with meetings convening in his storage shed. Meetings generally consist of the spilling of feelings over the process of a board game.
“Our meetings with Louie are always really great,” Francine Mueller ‘19, a devout new member of Louie’s support group, said. “It’s like a little family we created. We play Scrabble and talk about our problems and maybe it’s a little strange, but it’s like Louie is my best friend now.”
The club has proved to be remarkably successful in its efforts to improve Louie’s quality of life.
“I’m very grateful that [Clarke and the students] have come together to do something like this,” Louie said. “It’s definitely helped to have someone to talk to, now that I’m not always alone. My shed isn’t even dismal or sad anymore. I think it’s important for everyone to have a support system like this and I’m optimistic about the future.”
Louie continues to show signs of improvement and is eagerly looking forward to his next public appearance. Clarke believes Louie’s story and recent progress is a positive sign for struggling students or staff members at City High.
“The generosity and empathy these students have shown is remarkable, and every day I become prouder of Louie,” Clarke said. “We all can learn from this experience. It really shows that no matter who you are or what you’re going through, someone is there for you.”