PHOTO ESSAY: Rocky Was Red Hawk Ready To Celebrate His 19th Birthday

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Published October 11, 2020
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The Montclarion
Rocky the Red Hawk waves to fans from his decked-out birthday golf cart. Michael Giannotti | The Montclarion

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic was not stopping Rocky the Red Hawk from celebrating his 19th birthday this October. The mascot’s birthday was celebrated on Monday, Oct. 5 and was filled with fun activities for Montclair State University students to attend both in-person and virtually.

The first event of the day was breakfast in the Student Center Ballrooms. Rocky and his sister, Roxy, were available in the morning to take some pictures and dance with guests as they ate bagels.

This event happened in two shifts, from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Students could sign up for one of these two time slots in order to celebrate with Rocky, while keeping the number of people in the room low to follow safety precautions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Junior Destany Armani George, freshman Ellie Gressman and junior Sammi Gerbrick pose with Rocky in the Student Center Ballroom. Photo courtesy of John LaRosa

Junior Destany Armani George, freshman Ellie Gressman and junior Sammi Gerbrick pose with Rocky in the Student Center Ballroom.
Photo courtesy of John LaRosa

A partygoer at Rocky's Birthday Bagels writes a message on Rocky's birthday poster. Photo courtesy of Nicole Comly

A partygoer at Rocky’s Birthday Bagels writes a message on Rocky’s birthday poster.
Photo courtesy of Nicole Comly

Next was Rocky’s birthday parade. Several student organizations joined Rocky in his march around campus and handed out goodies to the students who cheered Rocky on. The parade route went all around campus, starting at the Student Center and ending at the Montclair State Ice Arena.

At the arena, Rocky was greeted by Spongebob Squarepants and Patrick Star for a photo-op. There were plenty of fun activities for students outside of the ice rink, like the RecBoard wheel to win a free shirt and a soup tasting table.

Everyone sang happy birthday to Rocky. Cake with Rocky’s face on it was served to all of the guests in attendance.

The Montclair State University Dance Team poses with Rocky outside of the Student Center. Michael Giannotti | The Montclarion

The Montclair State University Dance Team poses with Rocky outside of the Student Center.
Michael Giannotti | The Montclarion

Rocky the Red Hawk poses for photos by Team Rocky in front of the Student Center at Montclair State University. Sunah Choudhry | The Montclarion

Rocky the Red Hawk poses for photos by Team Rocky in front of the Student Center at Montclair State University.
Sunah Choudhry | The Montclarion

Team Rocky's senior psychology major Grace Ehrline, freshman Ellie Gressman and junior political science/German language major Sammi Gerbrick get ready to roll out for Rocky's birthday parade. Michael Giannotti | The Montclarion

Hawk Squad’s senior psychology major Grace Ehrline, freshman Ellie Gressman and junior political science/German language major Sammi Gerbrick pose on Rocky’s birthday golf cart. 
Michael Giannotti | The Montclarion

Rocky's birthday parade beginning its procession from the Student Center. Michael Giannotti | The Montclarion

Rocky’s birthday parade beginning its procession from the Student Center.
Michael Giannotti | The Montclarion

A Montclair State student wafts a bubble wand through the air to create bubbles during Rocky's birthday parade, near Dickson Hall. Sunah Choudhry | The Montclarion

A Montclair State student wafts a bubble wand through the air near Dickson hall to create bubbles during Rocky’s birthday parade.
Sunah Choudhry | The Montclarion

Team Rocky poses for photos along the parade route. Sunah Choudhry | The Montclarion

Team Rocky poses for photos along the parade route.
Sunah Choudhry | The Montclarion

Roxy joined the parade caravan to wish Rocky a happy birthday. Michael Giannotti | The Montclarion

Roxy joined the parade caravan to wish Rocky a happy birthday.
Michael Giannotti | The Montclarion

Michelle Lee, a freshman business administration major, poses with a gift she painted for Rocky the Red Hawk’s birthday. Instead of staying inside and watching Netflix, Lee decided to join in on the fun for Rocky’s birthday celebration. Sunah Choudhry | The Montclarion

Michelle Lee, a freshman business administration major, poses with a gift she painted for Rocky the Red Hawk’s birthday.
Sunah Choudhry | The Montclarion

Michelle Lee, a freshman business administration major, gifts a piece of art she painted for Rocky in front of the Student Center. Sunah Choudhry | The Montclarion

Michelle Lee, a freshman business administration major, gifts a piece of art she painted for Rocky in front of the Student Center.
Sunah Choudhry | The Montclarion

To finish off the in-person events was an ice skating lesson with Rocky. Roxy watched as Rocky tried his best to follow along with the rest of the students. After the lesson, everyone was able to free skate with Rocky.

In order to participate in the ice skating event, students had to RSVP as the ice rink only allows a certain amount of people in the rink at a time. People were able to take photos with Rocky after he was done skating on the ice.

Montclair State University police officer, Amanda Rusticus, wishes Rocky a happy birthday at the end of the his golf cart parade, near Montclair State Ice Arena. Sunah Choudhry | The Montclarion

Montclair State University police officer, Amanda Rusticus, wishes Rocky a happy birthday at the end of his golf cart parade, near Montclair State University Ice Arena.
Sunah Choudhry | The Montclarion

Senior psychology major Diamond Jordan, a member of the Montclair State University Rec Board, dressed up to help at Rocky's birthday celebration. Photo courtesy of Nicole Comly

Senior psychology major Diamond Jordan, a member of the Montclair State University Rec Board, dressed up to help at Rocky’s birthday celebration.
Photo courtesy of Nicole Comly

Junior Komal Bains works behind a prize table in front of Montclair State University Ice Arena. Photo courtesy of Tatiana Gaddy

Junior Komal Bains works behind a prize table in front of Montclair State University Ice Arena.
Photo courtesy of Tatiana Gaddy

Freshmen Remi Kwityn and Faith Wolf pose with Rocky the Red Hawk. Photo courtesy of Tatiana Gaddy

Freshmen Remi Kwityn and Faith Wolf pose with Rocky the Red Hawk.
Photo courtesy of Tatiana Gaddy

Rocky finished off his birthday on Instagram Live. There, students could wish Rocky a happy birthday, ask him questions and celebrate their mascot in a socially distant way.

Team Rocky also took that time to thank everyone involved throughout the day, such as all the student organizations and the Student Communications department.

In spite of the pandemic, it was a busy day celebrating a vital member of our campus community.

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