Thomas to perform as Big AL

Published 10:32 pm Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Chilton County senior Macee Thomas was chosen as one of the students to serve as the University of Alabama’s Big Al mascot, the culmination of seven years of work toward this dream.

It began when Thomas was chosen as the Adair Junior High School mascot, “Chili,” at the end of her sixth grade year.

Thomas was then chosen as “All-Star Mascot”—a distinction that comes with a trip to Orlando, Fla. for the Capital One Bowl-at a camp at Auburn University.

The suit Thomas was using was several years old and worn out, so she received her own Tiger suit for Christmas that year.

Chili made appearances at birthday parties and other community events, and Thomas sold T-shirts to help pay for her trip.

Chilton County High School did not have an official mascot when Thomas began attending the school, but she named the mascot “Chil-Co” and performed at some football games.

Thomas twice attended cheer camp at the University of Alabama as an individual, and once again was named All-Star Mascot. She also was named Camp Champ and received several other superior ribbons.

After 35 years without one, CCHS decided to have an official mascot before Thomas’ junior year.

Thomas now attended UA’s cheer camp with the squad, and earned the distinction of All-Star Mascot for the fourth and fifth consecutive years.

Her senior year, Thomas was awarded the Leadership Award, which she said meant more to her than the others because her peers voted for her.

Thomas attended tryouts for Big Al during UA’s A-Day festivities in April.

“Now, I will be replacing my tiger suit for the ultimate one, an elephant, a Big Al suit,” Thomas said. “Being on the sidelines at Bryant-Denny Stadium was a thrill hard to describe and a memory I will always hold within my heart. I believe my hard work and determination to fulfill my dreams paid off in the end.”

MaryJo grant, program assistant for UA’s cheerleading/Big AL department, wrote in a letter about Thomas:

“We have been impressed with her talent and her determination for quite some time…For a young person to make up her mind, set her goal and go for it shows great initiative…Macee is a very mature and outgoing young lady, a rare find, and we are proud to have her with us.”