Haris Yahaya '24
Sep 30, 2022
Last week, Mercersburg’s Communications Office issued a statement: “The school is interested in exploring whether our community would be open to creating a mascot that could accompany our "Blue Storm" terminology. Currently, our unofficial mascot is the lightning bolt. Do we need an official mascot? Let us know what you think, and, based on your feedback, we will take the conversation to the next level.” To understand both current and past students’ views, we interviewed students to understand their perspectives on the matter.
Isonah Dlodlo 23’ is currently in her fifth year at Mercersburg and wants a cool mascot. “I think the Blue Devils would be cool; the merch would be so cool,” they said in an interview. Nina McDowell 25,’ Caroline Wilkinson 23,’ Oscar Su 25,’ Jason Jones 24,’ and Peter Rice 23,’ all shared her sentiments. “First off, I think we should go back to being the Blue Devils because that would be so much cooler [than the lightning bolt],” Jones stated.
The Blue Devil was the school’s mascot before it was changed in the late 1990s. Although unspecified within Mercersburg history, the nickname was most likely adopted in 1963 as detailed in a New York Times article. During this time period, Mercersburg used the name for branding and clothing but never created a physical mascot that students were allowed to represent. This mascot was eventually changed in the late 90s to the school’s current Blue Storm but the tradition of the Blue Devils still has appeal among members of the community.
To be sure, the Communications questionnaire asked students to create or think of a mascot that would accompany the lightning bolt. As the Blue Devil would replace it, students had to think about other creative options. “If we had to have a mascot, I think I would want it to be like a Greek god that holds a blue lightning bolt; kind of like Zeus,” Jones suggested. “Our mascot should be someone like Thor who can ‘summon the storm,’” Wilkinson added. Both ideas do a great job of mixing the simple lightning logo into a fun and strong school mascot.
As we have now heard from a wide variety of current Mercersburg students, how did alumni feel about the mascot during their time here? Jen Smith ‘97, Mercersburg’s Dean of Academics said, “There was not a physical mascot, at least not when I was a student here. No costume, no one dressed up, etc. I think there was a cartoonish blue devil that was painted in some of the athletic areas and on some of the school clothing, but I don't really recall. I can't speak for all students, but it was my impression that the student body would have preferred to keep the Blue Devil mascot rather than change it to something else. I don't think this was due to a particular fondness for the blue devil itself, but rather because it was what we associated with Mercersburg and it connected us to alums from the past,” Smith stated. Smith’s commentary emphasized the importance of reviving traditions that unite alumni and current students. Rice suggested that the return of this mascot would revamp a school tradition in a similar way that the return of Step Songs has.
Whether or not Mercersburg reinstates the Blue Devil as its mascot, there will always be a need for someone to play the role of the mascot during school and sporting events. Students offered a mixed array of responses to that idea. “Jerry Wei should be the mascot,” Su said, nominating his fellow lower-middler. Others added their suggestions. “The mascot should be Peter Rice,” McDowell and Wilkinson agreed. Jones noted that the mascot could be anyone as long as they bring energy and spirit to Mercersburg. Rice, on the other hand, took a more unusual, yet creative approach. “Get one of those big, hot mascot costumes, and make kids with guard wear it as a punishment,” he said. This consequence could be a fun replacement for guard and would surely be preferred to walking around a track on weekend mornings.