Does Competition Define the Numbers of Walk-A-Thon?

by J1 reporter Anna Cook

It’s 1984 and 1985, Marian High School has raised $10,000-$24,000. Flash forward to 2015 and 2016, where Marian girls have raised around $125,000-$160,000. For what? Walk-A-Thon (WAT)! Over the years the amounts raised by an incredible sum. The goals have been changing drastically.

According to the yearbook articles, in 1985, the goal that year was $24,000. Students surpassed the school goal by $1055. Two years following that particular WAT in 1987, the school goal was the same as in previous years, but students managed to surpass this goal by $5,000.

There was also an increase of money brought in during the early years. Articles state that the Student Board Council (Stubo) utilized competition between classes to to see who could raise the most money. Sounding similar, in 2015 the school goal was $88,000 but the school ended with a record breaking grand total of about $160,000. Some classes doubled their class goals by 200 percent!

So, in 2015, what spurred the classes on to raise enough money to buy a house? Junior Kathryn Burbach says, “I think the competition has been healthy over years. Sure, it might have gone a little overboard, but our classes are all so close.” Many reasons behind the competition would point to Field Day and the pressure of winning WAT for Color Block.

Color Block has been a tradition leading up to Field Day at Marian for many years. Student representatives for each grade gather together to choose two colors that match their theme for Field Day. The significance of the event can make or break the students’ performance for Field Day.

Stubo has also utilized individual goals to encourage Marian girls to bring in money. In 1994, individual incentives of raising more than $100 to receive the “gold card” that would allow a student to dress down for week, a free day of their choice, and an opportunity to win $50. Another prize is what really encouraged girls: the chance to go on a blind date with one of five guys. Talk about motivation! The school raised over $40,000 that year.

Although some would say differently, WAT isn’t all about class competition and individual privileges. Students also focus on the actual walking part of the fundraiser. The distance now, compared to then, has an impact on class unity and moreover school unity. The numbers would say in 2003 Marian students walked a 10k which is about 6.2 miles and raised about $80,000, but in the most recent WAT fundraisers, students have only been walking a 5k.

With all of the the motivations taken into consideration, a variety of factors spark the ambition for girls to raise so much money in such a small amount of time. Maybe it will never be clear, but one thing known from all these years of raising money is that it all goes back to the school.

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First Place Seniors, Class of 2017, walk the one mile on September 30th, 2016. 

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