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Cary High School Unveils New Imp Mascot
January 19, 2010By Carlen Dixon of Cary High School
Darcus Whitley, advisor for the school's Ambassadors Club, says the price of the mascot costume was covered by donations and fund-raising efforts at the school, including selling T-shirts and hoodies.
"For ten years, I have wondered what would be the best way to have a formal Imp mascot," Whitley said. "So, last year, when I became the advisor for the Ambassadors Club here at Cary High, I put the two together."
The Ambassadors Club is a group of students whose main purpose is to represent Cary High to new transfer students and to ninth graders as they transition into high school.
"We needed a service project for spring and I put two and two together and with the help of our principal, Mr. Doug Thilman, came up with the idea to sell t-shirts proclaiming that 'I helped bring back the IMP.'"
Whitley says the community also got involved with the process.
"The word spread with parents and local businesses, members of our Cary Business Alliance, who are huge supporters of students and staff at Cary High. Mr. Paul Ashworth, owner of Asheworth Drug Store in Cary was a big contributor. Karen Mills, an avid supporter and never ceased to make me smile. Everyone reached out to support the effort. Ambassadors sold out the first order of t-shirts enough for a down payment on the costume and Cary High School's IMP club stepped up and paid the balance. It was a great Christmas gift arriving on December 17."
Whitley says that Stagecraft in Cincinnati designed and built the costume. The company creates mascots for schools all across the country, including North Carolina State's Mr. and Mrs. Wolfpack.
According to Cary Athletic Director Kurt Glendenning, the Imp mascot originally came about in the 1930's. The modern version was designed in the 1960's by Cary student Lee Mauney, who would go on to become the school's art teacher and serve as athletic director. Glendenning says the choice of the imp may have been influenced by the Duke Blue Devil mascot.
The Imp mascot has been recognized nationally as the fourth most unique high school nickname in the country by Sports Illustrated. ESPN has also honored the school as one of the nation's best nicknames.
Cary High School, a 4A-A high school and a member of the Tri-9 Athletic Conference, was established in 1896. In 1907, Cary High became, if not the very first, one of the first public high schools in North Carolina.