Coming soon ... a new "character" at extracurricular DLS student activities.
Not a bird. Not a plane.
But a Pilot mascot!
Yes, you read that right. De La Salle is unveiling its very own mascot in April.
Designed to look like a fighter pilot from the World War I/World War II era, the mascot is equipped with the brown "bomber" jacket and the aviator cap.
The last time DLS had anything close to a mascot was in the early 2000s, when students would dress up at sporting events, and other extracurricular activities, in jackets and caps similar to those worn by 20th century military pilots.
Kevin Fitzhenry, '03, the school's Director of Marketing, had the idea, inspired by the various professional sports team mascots that have appeared in ESPN's "This is SportsCenter" commercials over the years.
“While watching the 'This is SportsCenter' commercials, I thought wow! What a great marketing tool!' You see mascots all the time at games and on TV. And, many even have their own social media accounts," Fitzhenry said. "It has been such a long time since DLS has had a strong visual representation of the Pilot. We want a character that can be right up there in popularity, with the likes of the Phillie Phanatic, Mr. Met, and Sparty.
Most importantly, Fitzhenry believes the mascot will be a valuable marketing tool for DLS.
"The new Pilot mascot will give DLS an opportunity to stand out, especially for video and social media marketing," Fitzhenry said. "It's a way to highlight school spirit, while creating a positive image that can be used to reinforce our Lasallian mission. The mascot will be an essential marketing piece for us moving forward."
Throughout the process of coming up with the mascot, Fitzhenry has actively sought advice from Robert Hathaway, '06, who is presently the mascot coordinator for the Minnesota Wild in the National Hockey League.
If done right, Hathaway believes the mascot can be an effective branding tool for the school.
"It's going to be a great branding opportunity for DLS, and from all accounts, the school is very invested in doing this right," Hathaway said. "It's why I believe it will become one of the biggest focal points of the DLS brand."
One of the initiatives Fitzhenry has in mind with the mascot is a kids club, aptly titled the "Pilots Kids Club." Fitzhenry plans on launching the club in the summer, and believes it will serve as a recruiting draw.
"The Kids Club will give opportunities for young future Pilots to be associated with the school for several years before they officially enroll. The mascot will become the face of the Kids Club," Fitzhenry said. "We want our young, future Pilots to have positive and friendly interactions with the mascot, such as a hug, taking a selfie, or just getting a high five."
Present DLS students will also have the chance to get involved in the mascot fun by donning the costume.
Hathaway, who participated in DLS's drama club, the Wig and Mask Society (WAMS), during his time as a Pilot, believes that WAMS performers should be strongly considered for the position.
Regardless of who portrays the character, though, the No. 1 priority will be to have fun with the part.
"I believe the mascot will be a super fun student activity that will also aid in the development of students," Hathaway commented. "Being a mascot sets you up for when you're older and have to interact with people. In this way, I think the mascot will become a very important extracurricular activity for DLS students."
Be on the lookout for the mascot at DLS events starting this spring.