Bearden mascot identity revealed as she prepares to graduate with the Class of 2023


Meghan Oros

When the Bearden Bulldog dressed up as Captain America during the football season, most students did not know the mascot’s true identity. HINT: It was not Steve Rogers.

For the past two years, no one has known who the Bearden Bulldog mascot is.

But it is finally time for that to change as senior Rachel Lipina prepares to graduate and retires from her job as the school mascot.

Lipina wanted to start her freshman year, but as was the case with so many aspects of campus life, the pandemic put a temporary hiatus on those plans. She officially tried out and made it her junior year.

She said she wanted to become the Bearden mascot because of all the opportunities it brings: the chance to cheer on family and friends for free at games and also the possibility to get scholarships in college.

Her brother DJ played football for Bearden and graduated in 2020. The past two years – during Rachel’s time as the mascot – he was a graduate assistant coach.

“You can possibly do this in college and get scholarships,” she said. “I can get into football games and basically cheer on my brother and classmates.”

Lipina talked about how being the mascot changed from cheering on friends to being invested in Bearden sports and athletes.

“A win for the team is a win for me,” Lipina said. “A loss for the team hurts.”

Lipina said when in costume, she is able to let go of any social anxiety around peers because they do not know who is behind the mask. 

“I got to push any anxiety or fear away,” Lipina said. “That didn’t matter because nobody knew who I am.”

Lipina was the one who made the decision to keep the mascot a secret. She thought it would help her to be more comfortable being fun and open at games.

“I know high schoolers can be brutal sometimes, and people are people and drama occurs,” she said. “I’m just a public face.”

When asked how she thinks people will react, she said she thinks they will be surprised. They get to see a whole new side of her that has been there all along.

“I think some people will be surprised,” she said. “A lot of people are going to know me on a different level, because I may not always act that way, but it’s still technically who I am.”

Lipina is sad that her time as mascot has run out, but is hopeful to continue as a mascot in college.