Walk-A-Thon past inspires future fundraising

By J1 Reporter Brooke Herdzina

Sophomores wear their matching Walk-A-Thon t-shirts and Splash Party accessories as they walk down 78th Street on Sept 30. This year sophomores placed third and walked four miles.

Walk-A-Thon (WAT) at Marian has always been an integral part of the school year. Now, Marian students know Walk-A-Thon as a first glimpse into Field Day and a way to show solidarity with your class, but has it always been this way?

To answer this question, we travel back to 1985 when Walk-A-Thon first started. The goal of Walk-A-Thon was to raise money for tuition assistance and in 37 years, this hasn’t changed.

Students then participated in a walk through the Keystone neighborhood and down the Keystone Trail, and everyone walked the same distance, no matter your class’ placement. Some years, the walk could be as long as six miles, which compared to today’s 4-mile or 2-mile route is considerably longer.

The idea for themed t-shirts didn’t come until the early 2000s, when Student Board president, Megan Mulherin came up with the idea. This quickly became a tradition loved by many, not only because of the creative designs, but because it broadened Marian’s reach in the community. Companies in Omaha were now able participate in Walk-A-Thon and donate to the cause while also receiving advertisement.

Walk-A-Thon and Field Day haven’t always been intertwined, and it wasn’t always this competitive. This changed in the mid 90s when Mr. Mark Koesters, Student Board moderator at the time, had a new idea for Walk-A-Thon.

“I came up with the idea to tie Walk-A-Thon and Field Day together. At first my decision was met with some backlash.” he said. Though this may have been the case when the idea first took shape, it is now one of WAT’s defining qualities and encourages the competitive edge throughout the student body.

In recent years, the competition can be intense at times but when it first started it was much more tame, in fact “Girls often forgot about Walk-A-Thon results until Field Day rolled around in spring and the Color Choice results were brought back up,” former Student Board moderator and English teacher, Ms. Sisson Sisson said. 

The one unwavering ideal throughout every Walk-A-Thon at Marian has been generosity. Marian has always had ambitious Walk-A-Thon goals and the school has continued to meet them, time and time again. “This speaks to the generosity of the community,” Sisson said. “It showcases the belief that people have in the mission of Marian.”

This very belief continues to flourish decades later. 

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