Contributed by: Damaiya Mickens

Mascot Jabari Kelly has been inspiring crowds for the past two years.

Alexis Wood, Reporter

Every school has a mascot, whether it’s the Lake Mary Rams, Lyman Greyhounds, or Winter Springs Bears. For our mighty tribe, the reigning ‘Nole mascot is played by the exuberant senior Jabari Kelly. Kelly has been Seminole’s mascot for two years and is now preparing to end his final year with a bang.

During the audition for school mascot, prospective students were required to “pretend to hype a crowd” by showing the judge tricks. That’s when Kelly’s now-iconic crowd-pleasing backflips first came into action.

Even before he starting energizing crowds, Kelly always had a passion for performance. He discovered his love of cheerleading after watching a YouTube video and practicing in his backyard. His family regarded his passion with caution at first, but eventually grew to support him over the years.

“Cheerleading lifted me up,” Kelly said. “I couldn’t be myself around my family, so I expressed myself through cheer.”

Not only is Kelly SHS’s mascot, but he also has years of experience in other areas of performance.

“I dance, cheer, and coach at Legendary Athletics in Longwood. I’m also the dance captain of Destiny Show choir at school, as well as an officer of the First Take a cappella group,” said Kelly.

Even with other priorities, Kelly takes pride in never letting the crowd down. He enjoys bringing spirit to fellow students with his famous “Hail Seminole” chant and by leading the Jiggalow dance.

“Something I will miss is interacting with the crowd,” Kelly said. “My favorite memory was my junior year when we won our last season game, making us undefeated.”

With Kelly’s experience, it will be hard to compete with the man himself. Now that he’s reached his final year, he is committed to making memories.

“I’m very sad this is my last year,” Kelly said “I will miss supporting the team. Whoever the mascot after me is, the only advice I have is to enjoy it while it lasts and be yourself. Remember don’t try to put on a show, be the show.”