This past Wednesday at Columbus, students took part in one of the most anticipated events of the year. As Walk-a-Thon approaches, the annual pep rally got students and teachers hyped up and ready to participate in Columbus’ biggest fundraiser.
The Walk-a-Thon is a Columbus tradition. Without it, Columbus would not be one of the most developed schools in the state of Florida. “All the beautiful buildings that you see around here were not here when I was going to high school here,” said Mr. Michael Marinelli, Columbus Admissions Director and official spokesperson of the Walk-a-Thon.
Students are expected to raise at least $80 or more to be able to participate. Skipping a day of school, students report to Tropical Park instead of Columbus to walk the perimeter.
It all starts at the pep rally three weeks before. “The key is excitement,” said Marinelli. Marinelli is responsible for making Columbus pep rallies as exciting as possible. With years of successful Walk-a-Thons, this year should be no different. “You want to get people aware of what Walk-a-Thon is and teach them what it is and get them hyped up and ready to go for the festival,” explained Marinelli.
When asked what his favorite part of the Walk-a-Thon is, sophomore Gregory Mesa went with the most popular answer on campus- Mr. Marinelli’s pep rally. “Once they’re in there, they have fun with it,” said Columbus principal, Mr. David Pugh.
Through the years, Marinelli has hyped up class after class. This could be a lot of pressure to deliver at every pep rally for a high school admissions director. However, he handles it the only way he knows how…like a champ.
“It’s really a festival. You got food sales in the hallway, you got food sales in the classroom. I mean, to me, that’s what Walk-a-Thon is. It’s a huge festival,” said Marinelli.
But Marinelli’s duty doesn’t end after the pep rally. Throughout the Walk-a-Thon weeks, he appears daily on CCNN Live to hand out the much anticipated prizes. Marinelli’s polarizing personality and energy has become a constant tradition at Columbus and students look forward to it every pep rally.
Of course, we can’t forget about the competition! The underclassmen face off against the upperclassmen every Walk-a-Thon to see who can raise the most money for the school and this year, the usually lackadaisical seniors might be making a bigger push than usual. “They were a little bit more enthusiastic this year,” said Pugh, the representative for the upperclassmen. “I think we’re going to do it this year, I think we’re going to raise more money than the freshmen and sophomores. I don’t know that that’s ever been done.”
Pugh’s upperclassmen will take on President Brother Kevin’s underclassmen on Friday, October 9th. Until then, Marinelli will keep the students updated and entertained!