Having raised over $40,000 for Walk Day in 2016-2017, McNicholas fell short of a similar goal this year, only raising a total of $29, 668 for the annual event on Sept. 29.
One possible reason for this was the change in Walk Day format. New this year, students walked a communal course based on the amount of money the school received as a whole rather than an individual course based on personal contributions. So, a student who brought in $1000 walked the same 10k as a student who brought nothing. With the previous year’s format, the $1000 student would have only had to walk the McNick Mile while the other walked the full 10k.
This reward system removes the main incentive to bring in money, which is to walk a shorter course, and forces students to rely on others’ success, gaining no reward for personal achievement. People respond to incentive, so removing that incentive, making it too hard to obtain, or making it reliant on the performance of others, makes people unwilling to respond.
Sophomores Liam Dolan and Griffin Jutze preferred last year’s format. Dolan said that the main reason for his discontent was that “when people slacked off it affected everybody, whereas last year, when people slacked off it affected themselves.” Dolan brought in $43 this year.
Director of Curriculum Dan Rosenbaum said that the main reason for the change in format was to foster comradery and to do the Walk as a community. He added that there are changes in the Walk each year, but that “some years are bigger changes than others.” A drop in enrollment may have also contributed to the smaller profit from the Walk, as there are about 40 fewer students at McNicholas High School than last year. Rosenbaum considers this year “an overall down year” in terms of finances, but an “overall success in terms of spirit week.” That being said, “$30,000 isn’t a small number,” he added.
While the support of the Walk itself was lower than the previous year, Spirit Week did its job in fostering school spirit and uniting the school in a common theme of fun and school spirit. Rosenbaum noted that the administration has also contemplated the idea of adding a “second Spirit Week later in the year” in order to liven up the school year and break up some of the monotony.
Another possible reason for the lack of support for the Walk is that students don’t know exactly where the money is going. Shawn Young, Manager of Alumni Relations and Special Events, and Rosenbaum both confirmed that Walk Day money goes towards the general fund, money from which the school draws from in order to fund basic maintenance and utility costs such as heating in the winter and minor repairs around the building.
Last year, the administration held a meeting in an attempt to revise or add to Walk Day. Some of the ideas proposed included a car raffle, food truck rally, craft show, trivia night, poker or euchre night, and a 5k run.
A replacement for Walk Day is not needed, but a supplement would be beneficial both financially and in increasing school spirit. For example, the school can hold a food truck rally after a 1 mile walk and if a student brings in enough money they could receive a pass for a free meal. The school would gain revenue from renting space to the food trucks or taking a percentage of their profits, and the students would have a small food festival after Walk Day.
Young, who is in charge of Walk Day, is open to suggestions from both students and faculty for next year and encourages students to email him with suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.