Jul 26, 2014
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Sixth Grader Leads Middle School in Panther Pride

From sporting events to pep rallies, Joe Rico knows how to work the crowd.

Sixth Grader Leads Middle School in Panther Pride Sixth Grader Leads Middle School in Panther Pride Sixth Grader Leads Middle School in Panther Pride Sixth Grader Leads Middle School in Panther Pride Sixth Grader Leads Middle School in Panther Pride

Joe Rico is overflowing with Panther Pride – and he’s only been Panther for a few months.

When the 's student council sought applicants for this year’s Panther, a role that usually goes to a 7th or 8th grader, Rico was the only student who raised his hand. That hand – and the rest of his body – is a bit smaller than that of your average 8th grader.

So Joe’s mom Stephanie went work, creating a new Panther costume from scratch, save for the classic Panther headgear. Stephanie Rico used a template she bought on eBay to craft the costume, with foam feet and all.

“It came out great!” Joe Rico said.

The job keeps Rico pretty busy. He often finds himself running between multiple events, squeezing out of the outfit for short spells between the pre-game, halftime and post-game cheers for basketball games and a slew of other school events.

“It gets crazy sometimes,” Rico said.

Rico is an active member of the school’s student council, a member of campus clubs and a fabulous student, according to school counselor Alison Goodman.

“And Joe is one of the most outgoing, kind and enthusiastic kids I’ve ever met,” she added. “Joe is well liked amongst peers and staff and is always the kid we can rely on to do pretty much anything. He has a spirit and energy that’s contagious and he is making his mark at Mill Valley Middle School.”

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