New Teachers Dive Head-First into Walk-A-Thon

By J1 Reporter Nina McMullen

Seniors take four years to truly understand the nuances of Marian’s Walk-A-Thon (WAT), yet teachers are expected to get the hang of things in one. Do teachers new to Marian thoroughly understand the intricacies of WAT? 

Mr. John Paul Franco, a Spanish teacher in his first year at Marian, is understandably a little lost in the whole concept of WAT. He knows WAT in its simplest sense, describing it as “an all school fundraiser over four weeks.” 

The experiences of new teachers are pretty similar to the experiences of freshman students. Each year spent at Marian, new students and staff get a little more well versed in the traditions. Look at the seniors, for instance, they are growing into their own and have taken home first place in WAT their junior and senior years.

WAT is Marian’s only 100% student-led fundraiser and it can fall on the freshman to pull weight they aren’t expecting to pull. Franco is admittedly surprised by each grade’s goals as well as the school wide goal. His junior homeroom’s goal was $2,736 and 62.7% of that goal was made. Motivating his homeroom “was a bit of a struggle,” Franco said. “I liked being with juniors because they knew what they were doing.”

Of course, there’s always a helping hand at Marian and Franco isn’t completely in the dark. New teachers are assigned mentors to help show them the ropes and Spanish teacher Mrs. Amanda Pritchard filled this role. Pritchard remembers her first year at Marian in 2017. Much like her mentee, she had a junior homeroom in her first year.

Walk-A-Thon is seen as a sacred time for those who walk Marian’s halls and Pritchard describes how, “there was this feeling in the air, I mean you could just really feel it.” Not being a Marian alumna, she didn’t know what to expect, saying, “when I saw our goal, I thought ‘Holy crap, that is a lot of money; there’s no way we’re going to reach that!’” Much to her surprise, her first homeroom won donuts for bringing in the most money one WAT week.

As the years go by, she, and many other once-newbies, grow into their strengths and change up strategies when it comes to collecting Walk-A-Thon money. “You have to turn into the hype woman,” Pritchard said. Her best advice for WAT motivation is, “really work together as a family and always pump up the girls. Ask a lot of questions and just keep Walk-A-Thon on their minds.”  

“I’m going to have to step it up a notch,” said Franco, already thinking forward to next year. “It’s more of a fierce competition than I expected, but I’m ready for next year.”

Marian is a place riddled with traditions and as the years go on, those who participate come to a unique understanding of the true meaning of each, such as Walk-A-Thon. These experiences stay with people, no matter if it’s their first or last year at Marian.

Marian students gather in the PAC parking lot to enjoy a post-walk foam party. New teacher, Mr. John Paul Franco, was unable to attend the Friday walk.

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The Network is the student newspaper of Marian High School, Nebraska's only Class A College-Preparatory School for young women.

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