Attend a Hoquiam High School football game last year? There’s a good chance you saw Breaunna “Mogley” Simpson. But you may not have recognized her — she was the one decked out in the Grizzly mascot costume, performing cheerleading moves and giving spectators high-fives.
There’s a good chance you saw her at the high school’s softball games and girls basketball games, too. She also led several assemblies and offered support to classmates as the Associated Student Body (ASB) president.
And for her years of service to the school, Simpson was given the 2014 “Class Hearts” award.
“Mogley is a true Grizzly through-and-through. They couldn’t have picked a better person for the Class Hearts award,” said Bonnie Jump, who teaches leadership at the high school and served as Simpson’s ASB adviser. “She always has such a great attitude and will to whatever it takes to help out,” she added.
Annually, since the 1930s, Hoquiam High seniors have chosen who they collectively believe to be the friendliest, most beloved member of their class.
Simpson, a graduating senior who plans to attend Grays Harbor College and study criminal justice, said her high level of involvement was her way of enjoying high school.
“I just get involved because that’s what makes high school fun,” Simpson said. “I like school, but sitting in class isn’t my favorite thing. But I love being here, I love being around people. So I think that’s why I’m so involved.”
As the student body president, she’s responsible for leading assemblies and helping organize school dances. She also helps decorate the school for various occasions, including the holiday season.
“You’re just there in case someone needs help, other kids need someone to talk to or teachers need something done,” Simpson said. “The president just makes sure things run smoothly.”
She became the school’s mascot, the Grizzly, two years ago. The former mascot quit after overheating inside the costume, and Simpson was worried about taking on the role. She wore the suit for the first time at a Foodball event, and fell in love with the job.
“Whenever I was in the suit, I wasn’t myself — I was a bear,” Simpson said. “I’d hug the kids, give them high-fives. It was really fun to see kids so excited to see the bear. I know I loved it when I was a kid, I think I looked up to the bear a little bit.”
Simpson decided to try her hand as managing the school’s sports teams after her own athletic career came to an early end. During her sophomore year, she tore her meniscus and ACL. She served as a manager for both the girl’s basketball and softball teams.
“It became clear that I wasn’t going to be a varsity athlete — and I never really was,” Simpson said. “It was important to me that I didn’t just quit sports, so I decided to be supportive of other people instead.”
She recently attended the state tournament with the softball team, and said it felt great to be part of the players’ success. She also won her own award for being a spirited team manager.
As she moves into the next chapter of her life, Simpson said she’s excited for the changes, but knows she’ll miss the close-knit community she found at Hoquiam High School. She said she’ll miss attending the Aberdeen-Hoquiam football game as a student, participating in Foodball and attending high school band concerts.
“I really liked to see what other kids are good at, see what they liked to do,” Simpson said. “And I think I’m going to miss that.”