San Juan College prepares for the new mascot debut by holding a naming contest.

Outline graphic of SJC Mascot Blaze

In preparation for the new mascot debuting in late spring of 2023, a naming contest was held. This was not just any naming contest. This contest was open to the entire San Juan College community—students, employees, donors, families, neighbors and anyone who wanted to be a part of SJC history.

Over 300 name submissions received 

With only a silhouette of the mascot and a list of the mascot’s characteristics, the naming contest campaign was introduced in March. Submissions for the name were accepted for a couple of weeks. More than 300 name submissions were received. From those submissions, the top five name suggestions were compiled. Apollo, Blaze, Fuego Ray and Sol were the names with the most submissions. Then in mid-April, 650 students, employees and community members voted on the name of the mascot from the top five names.

Spirit Week

The week leading up to the mascot’s debut, where San Juan College would meet the new mascot and hear his name, was declared Spirit Week at SJC. Monday kicked off as Feel the Heat day, where students and employees were invited to wear sunglasses, sunhats, Hawaiian shirts and sandals. Tuesday was set aside as Door Decorating Day. Students and employees could show their school spirit in celebration of April being Community College Month by decorating their office, classroom or housing doors with school colors. On Wednesday, Denim Day, as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, everyone was encouraged to wear jeans or other denim items. Sunshine Day, a day for students and employees to wear brilliant colors to be a “ray of sunshine” for others.

Blaze stands with four SJC employees at introduction ceremony.Mascot Launch Party

Friday was School Spirit Day & the Mascot Launch Party. The Learning Commons Plaza was filled with people wearing their SJC gear at the launch party. During Spirit Week at SJC, the new sports logo and Feel the Heat vinyl clings were placed all throughout campus to feed the anticipation of the new mascot. Countless students, offices and departments participated in the activities and even posted photos on social media. Mary’s Kitchen joined in the festivities by offering “sizzling” specials all week with sun themed dishes like sunburst veggie pizza and the solar blaze burger (this was before Blaze was named—maybe now we will have a burger named for our mascot?).

The winning name is announced

“What better way to welcome our new mascot into the SJC Family, than by a family who is so invested in SJC,” said Dr. Toni Hopper Pendergrass at the mascot launch party when announcing the naming contest winner. “Marcus Clyde  is the winner of the naming contest, with the name Blaze. He is a student at San Juan College, as are both of his daughters. He thought it might be fun to suggest a name given that all three of them are students. The really neat part of this story is that all three of them will be graduating this
May! He has been working on a Business Administrative degree and will graduate with a Liberal Arts degree, and both of his daughters will receive an associate of science in biology, as well as their high school diplomas from San Juan College High School.” “Marcus was one of 35 people who submitted the same name,” continues Pendergrass. “As per the naming contest rules, we put all 35 names in a basket and Marcus was selected.” He received a gift card and backpack full of SJC merchandise. He will also have the option to appear with the mascot at the city parades this year. 

A Message from the SJC Marketing & Public Relations Team

A very special thank you to all of those who participated in the naming contest for our new sun mascot. You have played a significant role in this momentous event at SJC. More than 300 of you submitted a name suggestion and 650 of you voted on his name. The name BLAZE emerged at the top of the list and our mascot name was chosen. We would also like to thank President Pendergrass, the SJC Board of Trustees, Amanda Robles, Lizbeth Moreno, Margaret Clair, Jacinta Esquibel, Donna Ellis, Media Services, KSJE On the Road, Campus Activity Board, Associated Students, Herencia Latino Center, volunteers from SJCHS, Fire Science students, the SJC Bookstore, Dual Credit Ambassadors, Department of Public Safety and Mary’s Kitchen. All of you have played a key role in bringing our mascot, Blaze, to the SJC Family. — Thank you!