What in the Blue Devil Is Going On?

Among the many new activities and Poly spirit-inducing events taking place at Homecoming 2021, the one we’re most excited about is the Blue Devil. After more than 50 years, our Poly Blue Devil mascot design is getting its first refresh.

Origin Story

In January of 1968, Poly students held a contest to pick a mascot for the school to boost enthusiasm around athletics. A small committee came up with ideas and took suggestions from the student body. Students voted in their homerooms and on February 9, it was announced in the Chapel that the Blue Devil, offered by Martin Kafina ’71, got the most votes. Poly had a new nickname and shortly thereafter, a new student-created design, the one we all know today.

Blue Devil teaser
Why the Change?
Blue Devil Retirement logo

“It’s unusual for a mascot design to remain unchanged for more than 50 years,” shared Jennifer Slomack, Poly’s Director of Engagement & Communications. “Normally, a mascot is refined or refreshed over time so that it evolves along with the institution it represents and can adapt to modern communication methods.” She went on, “the Poly of 1968 is very different from the Poly of 2021. That devil design predates girls being able to enroll and the addition of seven Lower School grades and many other significant changes. We were overdue for a thoughtful refresh.” 

Slomack led the internal committee and worked with the brand agency, Fancy NYC, and award-winning illustrator Ken Niimura, in a process that spanned four months—from the first creative brief to an entire new sub-brand around the devil. “It’s not just one design,” Slomack said. “In addition to the creative mandatories that inform the devil’s appearance, flexibility and expansiveness were also part of the deliverables.” There are now multiple marks, logotypes, graphic elements, and spaces for customization that students can use to visualize their Poly Blue Devil activities. “For a long time, the mascot was used mainly for athletics, but this new design was created to serve Poly stories across all divisions and disciplines.”

A Sneak Peek 
Poly People
Ryantony Exuma ’22
Zoe Feuer '22
Zoe Feuer ’22

The first students to see the new design were Ryantony Exuma ’22 and Zoe Feuer ’22, Student Government President and Vice President, respectively. Slomack said, “I showed Zoe and Ryan the designs as we worked on the Homecoming shirt. Doing the reveal for them was the only time in the process I was nervous. When I opened the file, Zoe’s first reaction was, ‘I love it!’ and that made my day.” In an interview, Feuer said, “I’m excited that we can use different options to fit different events or departments. I hope the students embrace this change because the new devil is, in my opinion, way more fun. I also love how there is a specific Blue Devil for the Lower School. [Spoiler: there is a Blue Devil for Lower School.] I want the seniors to be proud to be the first class to graduate with this new devil.”

Coach Michael Junsch
Mike Junsch ’71, P’94, ‘95

“You wouldn’t wear the same suit you wore 50 years ago…”

A Poly alumnus and veteran physical education faculty member and Varsity Girls’ Basketball coach seemed like a good person to ask about this new version of the Poly Blue Devil. Mike Junsch ’71, P’94, ‘95 who is celebrating his 50th Reunion at Homecoming, made the great point that “styles change.” “You wouldn’t wear the same suit you wore 50 years ago,” he said. “Other schools have updated their mascots recently. This is exciting.”

What’s Next?

The big reveal will happen at Homecoming 2021 where every student will get a free T-shirt with the new devils. Expect to see Blue Devil design rolling out across Poly throughout the year, including new mascot costumes. This month we’ll feature an interview with Ken Niimura, about the process of modernizing our mascot. Slomack plans to work with students on names for the characters and an origin story that Niimura can bring to life in a mini graphic novel.

Homecoming with horns
Saturday, October 16 starting at 9:30 AM – Be there.