Field Day motivates competitive students during Walk-A-Thon

By J1 Reporter Grace Sall

On Sept. 30, the junior and senior halls of Marian could be heard bellowing past Field Day songs with the sound of clapping and slamming lockers shaking the school. It was the day everyone had been anticipating, the results of Walk-A-Thon (WAT) 2016.

Why are the results of WAT so crucial? Since 2004, WAT has directly affected Field Day. According to Marian yearbooks, the class who raises the most money earns the right to pick Field Day colors first in March. All eyes were on the junior and senior classes in the West Gym that Friday morning, as rumors had been flying about who would walk away with the gold.

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Junior Class Officer Olivia Putnam holds up the class of 2018’s WAT results on the morning of Sept. 30

Juniors were on top for the first three collection dates, but the seniors were not deterred. This was evident when each class opened the manila folders with their place in WAT and the senior class officers revealed to their class a blue first place ribbon.

They had earned first pick in Color Block.

Field Day wasn’t always the incentive to raise money for WAT.

Before 2004, prizes included free days, a week of dress down, and gift cards. In the 1997 yearbook, the “competition” during WAT season between the junior and senior classes was over parking spaces.

The junior and senior classes aren’t the only classes who can come out as winners. For example, the 1998 yearbook states that the freshman class raised the most money with 21 percent over their goal of $13,104.60.

The biggest example of competition between classes for Field Day privileges was in 2015, as yearbooks reveal. The school raised $88,000 the first collection day alone, and surpassed the school goal by $70,000. Most students and faculty can agree it was due to the intense rivalry and competition between the classes of ‘16 and ‘17.

But WAT didn’t always determine who got to reserve their Field Day theme first. Many students and faculty disagree with the decision Mr. Mark Koesters, former student board moderator, made back in 2004 to relate the two events. Mr. Tom Baker opposed the Field Day incentive.

“I think that Walk-A-Thon and Field Day are two distinct ideas that don’t need to be overlapped,” said the social studies teacher. Baker is one of many who believes that Field Day occurs only in April, and shouldn’t be a year-round issue. Baker explained that the reason the school goal was surpassed by so much in 2015 is because of the 1-mile walk incentive for raising $150 by the first collection date.

“Marian girls are inherently lazy,” he said.

Senior Courtney O’Brien, on the other hand, had a more positive opinion on the Field Day motivation.

“I think it’s a clever way to get classes to take Walk-A-Thon more seriously.”

O’Brien, along with other students, loves the fact that WAT affects Field Day. To them, it is motivation to raise the most money possible and come together as individual classes. This was evident when all the students gathered in the gym the day of WAT holding hands while the results were announced.

Seniors placed first, with juniors coming in a close second, merely $5,000 short of the class above them. Freshmen and sophomores reached their class goals as well, both with more than $23,000.

This year, seniors will have first pick in Color Block. However, seniors will not always be guaranteed that right in the future. With such a competitive sophomore class and the huge number of freshmen, next year’s results could be completely different. One thing is for sure, Marian girls love a little friendly competition.

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