Roadway to MarianFEST: Journey for tuition assistance


Many students often are confused when their parents are walking out the door in fancy outfits saying they are going to MarianFEST. They wonder what occurs during the event and why it takes place because it isn’t talked about much during the school hours. 

Mrs. Karen Hotz, Mrs. Christina Butler and Mrs. Rachel Stricklett discuss the final details of the Feb. 3 MarianFEST with auctioneer Mr. Jon Schaben. Photo by NoraCorrigan

However, students need to be informed about this event because it benefits them in multiple ways. MarianFEST is an annual fundraiser that helps raise money for tuition assistance for students. 

FEST stands for Funding Excellence in the Servite Tradition. This acronym relates back to what Marian is based on, the six core values. The core values include Marian identity, compassion, spirituality, empowerment, service and community. The 600-700 attendees at MarianFEST help fulfill these core values by allowing girls the opportunity to attend Marian by participating in this event.

“The planning process for MarianFEST starts in August,” Events Director Mrs. Rachel Stricklett said, “because the process of planning is broken down into many different sections that are time consuming.” One of the major steps in the planning process is choosing a theme.  

MarianFEST will take place on Feb. 3 at Peter Fink’s Car Museum at 5808 North 90th Street. This unique location leads into the theme for this year which is MarianFEST: Motorway Race for Tuition Assistance.“The venue gave us the idea for the theme because of all the unique cars that are there,” Stricklett said.  

The theme of MarianFEST also leads into the form of entertainment for this year’s event. Oftentimes, Marian’s choir will perform, but this year due to the unique location it will be the actual car show at the museum. The venue contains more than 100 American muscle cars which guests can view. 

Another one of the main categories for planning is the silent and live auctions. The silent auction contains roughly 165 packages that people bid for online. Stricklett said, “these packages are smaller in nature and offer things such as restaurant gift cards, sports-themed essentials, tickets to musicals, drive-in movies and bowling parties.” 

These packages are all donated from families, businesses, alumnae or friends of Marian. All the money from the auction goes directly to tuition assistance. The live auction is the bigger of the two auctions and contains things such as trips and experiences. One of the live auction packages this year even includes Taylor Swift tickets. 

Lastly, raffle tickets will be sold for $100 each. This gives parents or guests the opportunity to win a full year of tuition for their daughter for the 2023-2024 school year or $10,000. 

During the event, current students that have benefited from tuition assistance give an in-person or virtual speech on what attending Marian has meant to them. This year seniors Regina Anyaegbunam, Claire Bentley and Erika Ramirez-Henriquez will share their appreciation through a video. “Marian has given me endless opportunities to learn and grow not only as a student but also as a person,”  Ramirez-Henriquez said. 

MarianFEST is not just an event so Marian can remodel classrooms or update their technology platforms, it makes many girls’ dreams of going to Marian possible. 

It provides an opportunity for girls to receive an excellent education while learning valuable life lessons with a group of supportive classmates and teachers around them. MarianFEST is more than just an annual fundraiser. MarianFEST has been going on for 41 years and will continue going on for many more, continuously making an impact on girls.

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