The student news site of George Rogers Clark High School

Smoke Signals Student Media

The student news site of George Rogers Clark High School

Smoke Signals Student Media

The student news site of George Rogers Clark High School

Smoke Signals Student Media

GRC just got a little more wild

The Wildcard is a creation of a GRC student who spent 311 hours making the costume from scratch.

America has the bald eagle. Thanksgiving honors the turkey. Now, GRC’s own signature bird got a wild twist.

Having its first sighting at the Homecoming football game, the Wildcard has truly made a ripple in the GRC atmosphere. But there’s one question on everyone’s lips… who is behind that mask?

Not to be mistaken with our coveted Cardinal mascot, the Wildcard is a creation entirely constructed by a student. Using materials like upholstery foam, various fabrics, and liquid tape, the costume was a very tedious project. 

“It took me around four months to create the Wildcard, about 311 hours,” says the Wildcard designer, a GRC student. “I started it on April 25, 2023, which is also the birthday I assigned to the Wildcard.”

While the actual Cardinal suit took a while to create, the custom-printed Wildcard jersey was the finishing touch that took the longest to be made. After the suit and jersey were complete, it was time to do the stress tests.

“To stress test his head, I basically threw it across the room, and can even drop kick it without it tearing,” says the designer. “The stress test for the feet was just walking outside while wearing them.”

Even though the suit passed all the tests, the next obstacle to overcome was how to function with the costume on. In attempts to keep the identity of the Wildcard a secret, the designer refuses to speak while in character.

As well, walking has proven to be a challenge. With comically large feet to make everything proportional, the Wildcard has to essentially take larger steps in the suit as to not trip over himself.

However, the Wildcard has truly brought a lot of joy, despite the obstacles faced behind the mask. With a goal of becoming a beacon of positivity and spirit within GRC and Winchester, the Wildcard is instilling a motto.

“Small Town is Our Superpower” are the words the Wildcard operates by, and is planning on conveying this through different events. 

Whether that is ringing a bell for Salvation Army at Christmastime, attending football and basketball games, or just showing up at more events around the community, the Wildcard is proving that spirit doesn’t have to be contained in the walls of GRC.

But even though the Wildcard was created with a motive of instilling joy and spirit, some people have had other reactions towards it. 

“It’s really interesting to see how people react to him differently,” says the Wildcard. “Some people look at the Wildcard and think he’s creepy, especially since he can’t talk.”

Even if some people may think the Wildcard is a bit creepy, there are many supporters within the community. Superintendent Howard even gave his stamp of approval on the creation of the Wildcard, and has continued to express that at games.

“My dad emailed Mr Howard before I went out in public, and he approved the entire project,” says the Wildcard. “Even when he sees me at games, he’ll come up and say Hi.”

The Wildcard has quickly become a recognizable asset to the spirit within GRC, and will hopefully continue to be so. Whether its games or events within the community, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for this coveted cardinal.

But there’s still one question that is driving everyone wild… who is behind the mask? We may never know.


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About the Contributor
Zach Ross
Zach Ross, Features Editor
Once upon a time, a baby was introduced into the world. Fast forward 17 years, and you may find that this baby has grown into being a very talented, amazing, and awesome Features Editor. That baby grew up to be Zach Ross. In those 17 years of life, Zach has experienced the joys of dinosaurs, Broadway, Backyardigans, and Smoke Signals. And though he was once a baby, uncertain of the world ahead of him, he found a signal in the smoke and everything became clear. With every good story, there is a beginning and an end. The beginning was birth, and the end is Smoke Signals.

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