Marist High School campus minister Patrick Meyer ’10 will attempt to break a world record by swinging on a playground swing at the school for 36 hours straight on October 13 and October 14. Meyer is making the bold effort to raise funds and awareness for the Marist National Day of Service.
On March 29, 2017, all the Marist schools in the United States will participate in community service in honor of the Marist Brothers’ 200th anniversary. At Marist Chicago, the entire junior class will participate in a project on campus with Feed My Starving Children (FMSC). The juniors will be challenged to assemble 100,000 meal packs which will then be delivered by FMSC to children and families throughout the world, including 83 countries with Marist schools and ministries.
As is the practice with FMSC projects, the $25,000 cost of the food is borne by the participating organization – in this case, Marist High School and the school’s junior students and families. During initial planning, the projected cost per student was $50.00; however, to help defray the cost for our juniors, Marist will be hosting a number of fundraisers for this project.
Meyer was inspired to do something himself for the project. He searched through some world records, and thought the swinging challenge was doable, unique, and could be fun for the students and community to rally around. Meyer has been training for the event by swinging at local parks. Marist’s chaplain, Deacon Andy Neu ’78, will build a two-person swing on campus for the actual event just outside the school’s Red & White Stadium. “I am nervous,” Meyer said. “I just don’t want to let anyone down.”
Based on the support of students in the Marist Youth service group and his colleagues, he doesn’t have any reason to be nervous. “Everyone is behind him,” explained fellow campus minister Colleen Pochyly. “The kids are excited and have been eager to help.” Students are selling “swing squad” t-shirts that can be worn in school the day of the event. Raffle tickets are also being sold for a signed and authenticated Walter Payton football jersey. Shirts and raffle tickets are priced at $10.00 each, and are available in the campus ministry office. In addition, Marist Youth will host a fall fest on the football field on Thursday evening October 13, complete with food for purchase, a petting zoo, and pumpkin launching. Money from shirt sales, jersey raffle, and the fest will go towards lowering the FMSC fees. A generous donor has already given $4,000 in an effort to help the school meet its cost to participate in the FMSC project.
The 36-hour event will start early on Thursday, October 13, with an opening ceremony at 6:30am. Comedian and Marist alum Pat McGann ’94 will help kick things off that morning, and will join Meyer on the swings for a short while. As the day goes on, other celebrities will join in on the fun, including Fr. Tom Hurley ’85, Pastor of Old St. Patrick’s Church, Alderman Matt O’Shea (19th Ward), and others. School administrators Br. Hank Hammer and Larry Tucker ’79 will also take part. During lunch mods on Thursday, students will be invited to come outside and cheer on Meyer. The fall fest will take place Thursday night, and some energetic co-workers and friends will support Meyer through the night. If successful, Meyer will finish at 7pm on Friday night just before the varsity football game against Benet.
Information about FMSC will be on display, and donations will be accepted throughout the event.
Following the event, Meyer will submit all documentation to the Guinness Book of World Records for review. The entire night must recorded. He can have a five minute break for every 60 minutes of swinging, and must be in constant motion while on the swing. Marist also hopes to provide a live feed of the event.
For more details or to support this event, contact Patrick Meyer.
Photo: Mr. Meyer swinging at Kairos with the help of some current students.