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He's Got Spirit!

He's Got Spirit!

photo credit: Mykal McEldowney, IndyStar

Big O has been a familiar sight on Avon High School's sidelines and baselines. As Owen Carr, the young man inside the costume, prepares to hang up his fuzzy yellow boots at the end of his senior year this May, his commitment to the Orioles, his warm spirit, and his harrowing story have caught the attention of local media.

The IndyStar published this video and article in which Owen and his parents recount his story and talk about what sparked his passion for being the mascot.

I just want to make people happy. Owen Carr, Big O

Owen's parents, Kevin and Kelly, moved to Avon when Owen was 18-months-old because they knew he would require special education services throughout his school career. "After researching several area school corporations," says Kelly, a preschool owner, "we knew Avon Schools would be the best fit for us. We have never regretted that decision." Owen attended developmental preschool and elementary school at White Oak Elementary (now White Oak Early Learning Center). He went to AIS East and then AMS North before landing at Avon High School in 2020. "We are so glad his school administrators allowed him to pursue his passion as a mascot," says Kelly. "It was his idea and it has been the perfect way for him to carve his own path and make his own connections."

Owen may be the most unlikely mascot. A student with multiple developmental disabilities, he was afraid of mascots through his elementary years. He clearly overcame that fear and turned it into a way to bring joy to others.

"I just want to make people happy," says Owen. "Even though being a mascot is hard work, I really love it."

"It has been fun to watch Big O since he was the mascot at AMS North," says Avon Schools Superintendent Dr. Scott Wyndham, who is a regular recipient of Big O's high fives at varsity football and basketball games. "I love seeing his school spirit and nothing brings me more joy at a game than seeing a young Oriole fan walk up and give Big O a hug or high five. He's inspiring that same school spirit in so many others."

Owen graduates this spring and he'll pass on the mascot costume to the next student who comes along with a desire to be Big O. He plans to continue being involved in the community he loves. He has been thinking about ways to help other young people with special needs participate in the life of their schools. "Being Big O has given me a chance to really be part of my school," says Owen. "Sometimes it can be hard to fit in but when I put that mascot costume on — BAM! — I'm in there!"

Owen will still be a regular at sporting events. He has plans to purchase an all-sports pass next year so he won't have to miss a home game. Instead of sweating it out on the sidelines, he will be seated in the bleachers and enjoying concessions while continuing to root for his beloved Orioles.

IndyStar Video & Article