The Origins of the Boosters and Bird Keepers Club

The truth behind the mysterious Bird Keepers and Booster Club


Aida George

The Bird Keepers and Booster club celebrate Bellaire scoring a touchdown with cheerleaders and band. The Birdkeepers lifts Ralph, the cardinal to carry on tradition.

The blue and white denim jackets with the cardinal emblem can be spotted from yards away in the football stadium. They parade around in a circle on the football field, lifting a cardinal statue to express their enthusiasm about Bellaire’s football team scoring a touchdown. Their persistent energy emerges despite victory or defeat, but their purpose remains a mystery.

Booster club rallies up the crowd with goodie bags during the homecoming game. The goodie bags are thrown and contained candy for the crowd to enjoy during the game. (Aida George)

The Bird Keepers and Booster Club is a group of seniors formed to elevate school spirit. The club carries out traditions that have been practiced at Bellaire for decades, striving to set good examples of leadership for underclassmen through participation and volunteering.
Assistant Principal and club sponsor Al Lloyd said the club has been at Bellaire for decades.
“The Bird Keepers and Booster Club started years ago, far back when the school started in the late 50s and early 60s and they’ve continued the legacy up until now,” Lloyd said.
Originally, the Bird Keepers emerged to prevent rival schools from tampering with the mascot. The Bird Keepers’ duty was to protect Ralph, the Cardinal mascot, hence their name.
“There have been attempts to steal and vandalize the bird, but our Bird Keepers have done a great job,” Lloyd said.
Senior Jeremiah Liscano said he joined the club to express his school spirit by protecting the Cardinal.
“I just felt like the club was for me spiritually because it’s a club for school spirit and I have great school spirit so I decided this is my club,” Liscano said.

Boosters and Bird Keepers occupies the crowd sitting on the bleachers during the homecoming game at Butler Stadium. The Boosters and Birdkeepers entertains the crowd with a lightsaber. (Aida George)

The Booster Club intends to involve more students to participate during school, sports games and events.
“The Booster Club was also meant for leadership to provide a boosted spirit for our games,” Lloyd said. “And the fans look forward to the boosters during games to hype up the fans and get the cheers really loud.”
Senior Lexi Martin, a member of the Booster Club, said she encourages students to participate at games by engaging with the student section of crowds at sports games.
“We are in charge of maintaining school spirit and keeping up at all games, not just football games,” Martin said. “We’re working on going to all of them. Basically, we’re representatives of the school body on the sidelines of the field hyping up the crowd for our team.”
Traditions such as matching attire and raising the mascot are carried out annually.

“I think of it like bloodlines,” Lloyd said. “You are able to trace traditions back to their origins and have guidance to the future to what the possibilities are for our school to evolve. Keeping some of our traditions alive is a staple to our society.”
Bird Keepers and Booster Club members can be identified by their matching denim jackets.
“Denim jackets were around because that was the style back in the day,” Lloyd said. “Denim jackets were really cool other than having a leather jacket. It had a better sense of humanity than leather.”

Although denim jackets are still trending, other articles of clothing donned by former Booster club members and Bird Keepers aren’t as popular anymore.
“They [Bird Keepers] have changed a little bit where they wear khaki shorts with their denim jackets,” Lloyd said. “Clothing for the Boosters changed a little also; they started wearing less polos and T-shirts but now they’ve started to wear denim jackets and khaki shorts like the Bird Keepers.”
Throughout the years, the club made some modifications to be more inclusive to both genders.
“Originally, all guys and all girls were separate and as times changed, different people have applied to be a Booster and Bird Keeper; it’s not gender specific,” Lloyd said. “It’s opened up to both sexes so boys can apply to be a Booster and girls can apply to be a Bird Keeper.”
Although the cardinal statue is significant to Bellaire students and staff, the statue will retire soon.
“We’re actually building a new bird that is lighter and easier to maneuver and to lift at games,” Lloyd said. “And we plan on retiring the bird this year or next year and it will stand as a monument on campus.”
Senior Bird Keeper and Homecoming King Owen Zhang said he likes the idea of a new bird.
“I would love it to be lighter and I’m sure there’s some nostalgia with the old bird that’s been used forever,” Zhang said. “Holding the bird sometimes can get a little heavy and getting a new, lighter bird would be cool.”

Senior Jeremiah Liscano dances with the band during the second half of the Homecoming football game at Butler Stadium. Cheerleaders, Birdkeepers, and Booster club members circle around and cheer him on. (Aida George)

Martin said the club has made a positive impact on the members’ lives and has been a networking opportunity for them.
“I think this club has made me a more outgoing person and helped me gain confidence for myself just by being on the side of the field,” Martin said. “I had to build up confidence to be loud and to support our team.”
Zhang said the club has encouraged him to develop his leadership skills and introduced him to unique volunteer opportunities.

“I think it had a big impact on my life and there’s a leadership benefit to represent Bellaire,” Zhang said. “When PTO has a fundraiser or auctions, we’ll volunteer for these events to help the school.”
Zhang said he was inspired to become a birdkeeper from his upperclassmen friends.
“My senior friends had a great influence over me when I was a freshman and they helped me to adjust to the school and pick out my classes, so I wanted to follow in their footsteps,” Zhang said.

Chris Parrack sprints with a Bellaire flag along with Jeremiah Liscano during the Homecoming game in the third quarter on the track. The crowd cheers them on. (Aida George)

Martin said the Bird Keepers and Booster Club is a close group of people who enjoy each other’s presence.
“I think we’ve all gotten closer,” Martin said. “It’s a good group of people comprised of different friend groups. It’s a good way to meet new people — we’ve definitely gotten closer and I enjoy the people around me in the club.”
Liscano said the Boosters and Bird Keepers are not perfect and have their flaws.
“I try to keep the group glued together,” Liscano said. “This group has to improve their relationship and communication skills.”
Despite complications, the Boosters and Bird Keepers leave a lasting impression on our school’s reputation and spirit.
“I think it’s really important to have a group of people to look forward to during school events, to feel like they have a group to support them and to set a good reputation for the student body,” Martin said.