Jared Leggett, 18, took it upon himself during his senior year to bring a mascot to PPHS. And not just any mascot — a Black Knight that has been four years in the making.
Since his freshman year, Leggett and his father, Patrick Leggett, the high school’s counselor, have been interested in purchasing a historically accurate mascot uniform. Just this year, all the pieces of that uniform came together and during homecoming week at school, Leggett was able to suit up in his armor and take his place in history at PPHS.
“My favorite part during homecoming was hearing the reaction from the student body,” Leggett said.
After homecoming, Leggett said he was approached by principal William Cottrill who asked him to continue serving as mascot. Once the teams approved, Leggett was racing up and down the field at the new athletic complex, cheering on the football team and getting the crowd involved.
“The hardest part about being the Black Knight is having endurance,” Leggett said. “This uniform adds so much additional weight, especially if you let the score of the game get you down.”
Leggett said one of his favorite memories during football season was during the team’s game against Keyser. He said he was trying to keep the team spirit up and could feel the weight of the helmet, armor and cloak weighing him down. But then the team made a play that gave him a much needed burst of energy and he was able to pep back up and run down the sidelines, waving the sword.
Leggett has taken being a high school mascot to a whole new level.
Recently, Leggett presented legislation through the high school’s Student Council to set rules for the next Black Knight. He believes there should be a process in which the next student who fills his shoes is chosen. Leggett added that he feels that any student, from freshman to seniors, and either a boy or girl, should have the chance to represent the school.
Some of the criteria includes having a certain grade point average, attendance, being responsible and, of course, having school spirit. The mascot will be chosen by popular vote, with the final decision made by high school officials once several delegates have been nominated by the students.
When he is not dressed from head to toe in black and red, Leggett is involved in other school activities and his community.
Leggett is scholastically accomplished, having taken many advanced placement courses and honors classes. He is also part of the dual-credit program with Marshall University’s Mid-Ohio Valley Center. He is currently taken online courses toward his college degree as well.
He is a three-year member of Student Council, a former kicker-punter for the junior varsity football team, a four-year varsity soccer player, a two-year member of the basketball team, and is in his second year of being the varsity basketball manager.
As manager, Leggett is in charge of nearly everything from sweeping the floors to getting water for the players and taking pictures during the games. He says he does whatever the coaches need.
Having played nearly every position in soccer, Leggett also volunteers his extra time out of school to help with the Mason County Soccer League U-19 team. He also makes many appearances in the community as the PPHS mascot.
Leggett’s hobbies include founder of the Magic-Gathering club, an international trading card game; hanging out with friends, reading newspapers and staying up-to-date with science and world news. He also enjoys relaxing and eating good food.
Perhaps his interest in science came from one major accomplishment that took him to Morgantown.
Last winter, Leggett put in nearly 20 hours per week to be involved on the U.S. First Robotics Team and helped to build a robot designed to play a game.
“It was a complicated process, but it was a lot of fun,” Leggett said.
While he is undecided about where he wants to further his education, Leggett knows his future plans include majoring in mechanical engineering or weapon design.
“I love physics, science and math,” Leggett said, “and I have always thought I would be interested in some type of engineering.”
As of right now, he has applied to several schools including WVU Honors College, Princeton, Brown, and Cornell, just to name a few. Leggett said it basically comes down to where he receives the best financial aid and scholarships.
While he is busily preparing for graduation and completing scholarship forms, Leggett does admit that he will miss his years inside the doors at PPHS.
Leggett grew up in Doddridge County then moved to Mason County his freshman year. By joining the soccer team and being challenged in his classes, he grew to love the “hustle and bustle” that the school and community offered. He also added that black and red are his favorite colors.
“It’s been great so far,” Leggett said as he reflected on his senior year, “I really like it here at PPHS.”
Leggett is the son of Patrick and Judy Leggett.