After 34 years of Walk Day at McNicholas, many attributes of the fundraiser have been altered since the first Walk in 1982. Changes in the advertising, walk routes, and money collection have all been geared towards encouraging students to raise more money for the school.
“A lot of the changes that we’ve made have always been with the goal…to help incentivize kids to bring in money,” said Director of Curriculum Dan Rosenbaum.
One change has been the institution of multiple walking routes. Beginning with the 31st Walk Day, students were offered different walk courses based on the amount of money they raised. This year, they were able to trek a shorter 3.1 mile course for bringing in over $60 and a 1 mile course for bringing in $100 or more, significantly shorter than the 6.2 miles for those who brought in less than $60.
However, even the main walking route has been shortened over the years. Athletic Director and former Walk coordinator Rob Heise said the occasion used to be “publicized…as a 10-mile event” while the actual measurement was closer to 8.5 miles.
“The course has changed considerably in the last five to six years,” he said.
Students also used to ask for “pledges” per mile from those willing to contribute. The pledges were collected by the students after the walk was completed. Now the money is all collected before the actual Walk occurs.
Tying The Walk in with other school activities has also been introduced. Rosenbaum believes one of the most effective changes over the years has been the connection of Walk Day with Homecoming Week.
“From a spirit standpoint amongst the students [and] amongst the faculty and staff, I thought it was a great week with all of the activities going on,” he said.
Despite the changes made, the faculty has noticed consistencies regarding Walk Day numbers. Chief among those is student procrastination in bringing in money. This year alone, students set a Walk Day record for a single day by bringing in $15,808 on the day before the event.
“The workers, the administrators, we get pretty nervous about it, but when it’s all said and done, the kids always come through,” Heise said.
Shawn Young, Manager of Alumni Relations and Special Events, has been in charge of Walk Day activities for the past two years at McNick. In preparation for next year, he hopes to reach out to teachers and students to gather their opinions on possible changes to future Walk Days.
“[Students] are the ones out there doing it, so [they] should have a stronger voice in how it’s done,” he said.