Benny the Bengal: Unmasked

After two years, we can officially reveal that Ralph Philips has been inside the costume of Benny the Bengal for Fuquay Varina High School.
After two years, we can officially reveal that Ralph Philips has been inside the costume of Benny the Bengal for Fuquay Varina High School.
Olivia Franks

Benny the Bengal, the official mascot of FVHS, is a name that resonates across our campus. For the past two years, he has been a ubiquitous presence, gracing every major event. It’s rare to find a student who hasn’t had a memorable encounter with Benny. 

Yet the man behind the mask has yet to be revealed. 

There have been many theories, including one that claims he is played by our principal Mike James, but Benny has still remained a mystery, until now. 

Today, it’s finally time to reveal the identity of the biggest icon at Fuquay-Varina High School—the man behind the passion students feel at every school event. 

Without further ado, the voice of the Orange Crush: Ralph Philips.

Philips has donned the Benny the Bengal costume since his sophomore year, rallying students to support their fellow classmates at sporting events and theatrical performances.

“Fuquay is a very tight knit community. It was amazing being there and connecting with all fans, families and players at all sporting events,” said Philips. 

  Philips has been involved in everything from theatre to baseball, prioritizing his FVHS community throughout his four year tenure. However, Philips is a senior, and will soon have to move on from Benny the Bengal.

“I plan on attending Appalachian State University with a double major in communications and musical theatre,” explained Philips.

Philips recently participated in “The Sound of Music” musical and has a spot on the baseball team, all while balancing his role as the school’s mascot.

“I love being busy,” exclaimed Philips. “I love to keep myself going. It was never hard for me to balance both school and extracurriculars.”

Philips had some pretty amazing experiences as Benny the Bengal, but nothing comes close to his experience as Benny the Bengal during his junior year.

“I loved riling up the crowd at home during basketball games,” explained Philips. “Nothing felt better than interacting with students and families during those games.”

Being Benny the Bengal was a big task for Philips to undergo, but with impeccable time-management skills and a genuine passion for FVHS, Phillips always brought positivity paired with a real “go-getter” mindset.

With no one currently lined up to take over the helm as Benny the Bengal, Philips is looking forward to the try-outs for the next FVHS mascot on June 4, 2024. 

Try-outs are open to everyone who thinks they can bring the same school spirit and charisma that Philips has brought to FVHS for the past two years. Who will don the mask and be our next mystery mascot?

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