Core values inspire Walk-A-Thon philanthropy

By NoraCorrigan

The month of September is filled with bake sales, give-back nights, class spirit and friendly competition all in support of Marian’s annual Walk-a-thon. Class Officers and Student Board members spend the weeks before the school year starts organizing the school’s largest student-led fundraiser. While the Student Board chooses the theme and reaches out to local businesses for potential sponsorships, Class Officers seek out creative ways to fundraise with give-back nights or jewelry sales.

Color WAT Megan Lawson ’20, Shruthi Kumar ’20 and Liv Mathews ’20 throw colored powder in the air in the Performing Arts Center parking lot. The lot was turned into a colorful dance party after all-school fundraiser, Walk-A-Thon took place on Sept. 27, 2019.

While the main goal of WAT is to raise money for tuition assistance, incentives each year have added a new air of competition. For some Marian girls, Walk-a-thon is the first stop on the road to Field Day. The class who brings in the most money wins first pick of colors at color block. First pick at color block is ideal for securing colors that coordinate with your class theme.

Other incentives beyond the motivation for color block placements include parking spots in the upper lot, donuts for the winning homeroom each week, a day off, an all-school Halloween movie, and much, much more. Though incentives hold power in reaching the overall school goal, Principal Mrs. Susie Sullivan wants to take a step back from these motivators and go back to the roots of Walk-a-thon: philanthropy.

“What I didn’t know about Walk-a-thon was that a lot of girls don’t contribute at all, and I think that’s because they don’t know what the money goes to,” Sullivan said.

“Every dime from WAT goes directly back to the students for tuition assistance.”

Walk-a-thon is ultimately meant to make Marian accessible for all girls. “As a part of not only our Catholic identity but our Marian core values too,” Sullivan says, “ we are called to serve our community.”

Sullivan, along with the entire faculty and staff, have placed an intentionality on our core values this year to honor the Servants of Mary. “We want to solidify the Servants of Mary story, history, and mission. Honing in on our core values is the best way to do that,” Sullivan says.

Increasing sisterhood and decreasing the amount of competition that arises due to WAT is just one way Marian is beginning to honor the Servants of Mary core values. In doing so, Sullivan hopes that students will seek out donations not because they want to win, but because they know just how unique a Marian education is, and what it means to contribute to one’s community.

The theme for Walk-A-Thon 2022 is Splash WAT. Students will celebrate their fundraising success with a water slide and dunk tank following the 2 or 4 mile walk. It helps motivate students to raise money towards the all-school goal as well as providing a fun reward for their fundraising efforts over the 4-week period of Walk-A-Thon.

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