Ashlyn Ellison, a Bridge City High School sophomore, has excelled in sports and grades, but she is looking to take her life in a new direction and has recently become the new school mascot for the upcoming year.

“I feel that I need to start doing different things” the 16-year-old Ellison said of making the most of her high school years.

But, this means she will have to give up volleyball which she has participated in since the sixth grade and basketball which she has played as long as she can remember.

“I have always wanted to be Big Red,” she said.

To become the lovable mascot,  she first had to turn in an application and meet the requirements. She  also had to try out in the huge costume where she danced to the school song and performed in a two minute school related skit. With the help of fellow students, Ellison did a basketball skit featuring the old rivalry between Bridge City and Orangefield High Schools.  The practices lasted for three days and up to three hours each.

Finally the big day came where she performed in front of the judges.

“It really makes you nervous,” she added.

Ellison has put a lot thought into what it was going to be like to be Big Red. The current school mascot, Haley Duhon, gave her pointers and what to expect when wearing the costume such as having every inch of skin covered in the scorching Southeast Texas heat. She also will work on making the dramatic movements while wearing the enormous head and to look through the neck of the costume in order to see her adoring fans. The feet of Big Red are a size 13 shoe which will require her to wear her own shoes inside the yellow bird-like foot.

“I was surprised at the movement,” Ellison said. “Everything is 10 times bigger.”

Ellison will attend cheer camp in June along with the cheerleaders. But, she will also attend mascot classes too.

“I feel like I am ready, but after cheer camp I know I will be ready,” Ellison said.

Ellison said she can’t wait to see the children at the football games yell and wave at Big Red and the joy on their faces when she is near them.

After graduation from high school, Ellison is not certain what she wants to study but plans to attend Lamar University to obtain her basic studies while she decides what path her life will take her next.

Pictured: Ashlyn Ellison, 16, sophomore at Bridge City High School, has been named as the new Big Red mascot during the 2013-14 school year.