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Luke Leech Recalls Longest Run as Highland’s Rocky the Ram Mascot

 

“I danced, and I cheered. It was amazing!”

The Highland County schools’ mascot for athletic events is known as Rocky the Ram, and the voice you just heard belongs to the most recent personality behind the costume: Luke Leech. Performing on the cheer and dance teams for several years, he was fully in to his role and was a crowd favorite. Luke officially graduated from Highland High School in 2016, but he stayed on for two more years fulfilling the role of Rocky the Ram as part of his educational plan. His four-year run as the energetic dancing mascot was the longest in school history.

During Homecoming on February 3, 2018, Luke had his last official dance as Rocky the Ram, and he was recognized at halftime of the Girls’ Varsity game with a signed picture board and standing ovation. Luke explains what it felt like. He says, “The audience went wild for me because I did a great job and it was my last time. I feel like I was sad, but my friends miss me a lot. My fans in the crowds, they signed their names on my picture board. The whole team signed their names on the board because they liked that picture. The picture, it was of me with my Rocky head.”

For those unfamiliar with what the Rocky the Ram costume looks like, Luke describes the main features. He continues, “It looks like a sheep. I wear a fur coat, and I wear the head. I can see through the holes from the teeth in the mouth. It is comfortable for me to wear it, but when I get too hot, I wear the jacket.” That special jacket helped him to remain cool. No matter the full suit or the jacket version, though, it was clear that Luke was having a great time in his role. His last main dance was to his favorite song. Luke says, “My favorite song is ‘Can’t Stop the Feeling!’, Justin Timberlake.”

Luke also had high accolades for his cheer and dance coaches, Ann Foster, who he calls Ms. Ann, and Ashley Hutchinson. He says, “Ms. Ann was my coach. She did a great job for her job, and Ashley is my dance team coach, too, and she did a great job.”

Despite moving on from his active position as Rocky the Ram, Luke Leech is still quite busy in the community, whether he is working as a preschool intern, fulfilling duties as a Mill Gap Ruritan Club Member, being active in church at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Franklin, West Virginia, or helping out on the farm and home with animals and pets.

Luke Leech as Rocky the Ram (Photo courtesy of Gwen Cauley)

 

Story By

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Chris Swecker

is the Assistant Station Coordinator and a News Reporter for WVLS. He has roots in Highland County going back several generations, and he grew up in Monterey. Since graduating from James Madison University with a bachelor’s degree in Media Arts and Design, he has pursued his career at a news station and advertising agency in Virginia, on Microsoft’s campus in the state of Washington, and in both states as sole owner and employee of a video production company. He enjoys exploring life with his wife, Jessa Fowler, traveling, hiking, hunting, gardening, and trying new foods, all while discovering more about what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. He feels blessed to be a small part of this talented AMR team to help give back to the community that has provided him with so much.

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