Teen of the Week: Tristen Lockhart takes wing as Belpre Eagle

Tristen Lockhart, 17, a junior at Belpre High School, hopes to become a professional firefighter after he graduates high school. (Photo by Michael Erb)

Tristen Lockhart, 17, a junior at Belpre High School, hopes to become a professional firefighter after he graduates high school. (Photo by Michael Erb)

BELPRE — Belpre High School junior Tristen Lockhart is soaring high as the school’s feathered mascot.

The 17-year-old suits up every week as the Belpre High School Eagle, leading cheers and entertaining the crowd at every Belpre High School football game and some basketball games. He also participates in numerous local parades and public events.

Lockhart says he loves representing his school and community.

“Just the interaction with the kids and the parades,” he said.

Lockhart has been the Belpre Eagle for two years, a role that started with a gentle push from his father, Jonah Lockhart. The two were at a Belpre High School football game when Jonah Lockhart noticed something was missing.

Belpre High School junior Tristen Lockhart has been the Belpre Eagle for the past two years, and says he loves representing his school and his community. (Photo Provided)

Belpre High School junior Tristen Lockhart has been the Belpre Eagle for the past two years, and says he loves representing his school and his community. (Photo Provided)

“I’ve been going to Belpre games for 30 years, and the Eagle was always there, and then just was gone,” Jonah Lockhart said. “I said to Tristen, ‘you should talk to them and see if they need someone to be the mascot,’ and they were delighted to have him.”

Tristen Lockhart said being a school symbol comes naturally. When Jonah Lockhart was a student at the old Roosevelt Elementary School, he represented the school’s Rough Riders team as Teddy Roosevelt.

“I had the little glasses, a mustache and everything,” Jonah Lockhart.

The Belpre Eagle role can be challenging at times, Tristen Lockhart said. Being the mascot is a lot of physical activity in a heavy and often hot costume, which also requires care and maintenance.

“There is a lot that goes into it behind the scenes that no one sees, especially with that old suit,” he said. “The old suit, we sewed it every week because it was just that old and falling apart.”

Last year the Belpre High School senior class bought the school a new Eagle suit, and Lockhart decided to end the original costume’s 44-year career with a splash.

“I participated in the Polar Plunge,” raising more than $600 for Special Olympics, he said. “I retired that suit the right way: Doing something for someone else.”

In addition to being the Eagle, Tristen Lockhart also is a driven student. He takes classes at the Washington County Career Center, including some for college credit, and is only a handful of classes away from completing high school.

“I’ll graduate this year as a junior,” he said. “I’ve got to find someone to take over for me next year” as the Eagle.

Tristen Lockhart also was part of the Little Hocking Junior Fire Department before the program was discontinued, and said his ultimate goal is “to get back to firefighting.

“I want to be a firefighter,” he said.

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