Walk-A-Thon Sparks Field Day Competition In September

By J1 Reporter Reagan Rosenbaum

Walk-A-Thon (WAT) is the biggest fundraiser that Marian High School has every year. Each class is given the challenge to raise as much money as they can to try and reach their class goal in only five short weeks. Students will set up car washes, bake sales and lemonade stands to help out with raising money for their class.

Besides Field Day, this is the second biggest competition held during the school year. The tensions are high each week because every class is striving to be at the top since the prize for winning is one of the most coveted things at Marian: first pick in color block and the order your class will go on Field Day. 

What most of the student body does not know is that WAT has not always been connected to Field Day. It was originally implemented back between the late 1990s and early 2000s as a way to encourage students to bring in more money and to help increase the competition factor.

The idea of connecting the two came from theology teacher Mr. Mark Koesters who took on the role of Student Board moderator in 1990-1994. He said “that it was very difficult to motivate students to bring in money and reach the goal that had been set for them.”

Before the Field Day connection all current Marian students know today, Koesters said they offered a cash prize to the students who brought in the most money at one point but this still did not work to properly motivate the student body. 

When Field Day and Color Block were brought into the picture, the enthusiasm for the beloved competition started earlier on in the school year. “After a year or two when the students realized how important it was to have the first pick of things for Field Day, enthusiasm for WAT improved,” Koesters said. 

Today, there is no issue with finding a way to incentivize the student body because once a class experiences their first Field Day, there is no misunderstanding about the job that needs to be done. But because the freshman class has never experienced either WAT or Field Day, the upperclassman help them out with setting up restaurant nights and educating them on the importance of bringing in money.

Girls can come up with the most creative ways to raise money for their class all because of the prize at hand; anything that is on the table will most likely be used. Marian girls will do anything including selling homemade jewelry or a random article of clothing they find around the house if it means bettering their chances at finishing on top of the podium on Field Day.

By connecting the two competitions, the students benefit in more ways than one; all the money raised during the fundraiser goes back to students who need tuition assistance and the class who is able to have the highest percentage of money brought in is rewarded with first pick in Color Block and the first choice for when their class will perform their skits, cheers, and demonstrations. Overall, when Field Day is in the picture, there is no question about whether or not a Marian girl will do her part for her class.

Class of 2021 celebrates Field Day victory after they placed second in the 2020 WAT. 2021 Field Day took place at The Baxter Arena. Photo by Mrs. Kalkowski.

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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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