Instead of participating at the Soles for Catholic Education Walk at Mount Mary University this year, students, staff and parents of St. John XXIII Parish School in Port Washington will walk through the community on Oct. 2. (Submitted photo)


This year’s Soles for Catholic Education Walk, the annual fundraiser for Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, is going virtual.

The fundraiser provides parish schools an opportunity to raise funds to benefit their classrooms and students. Each school sets its own goal for their needs, and determines how and where walkers will participate.

At St. John XXIII School in Port Washington, Principal Kristi Klein and Lauren Koch are walk captains and plan to have students walk Oct. 2 from their current campus to their former elementary campus, St. Mary’s on the Hill, 1.6 miles away. Younger students will make a half loop — all will walk with their classes, socially distanced and wearing masks.

Students are required to have a minimum sponsorship of $10. The school is also hosting out of uniform days and crazy sock days for $1 each

“Each class will have a sign that says, ‘Soles Walk – Walking to support Catholic Education at St. John XXIII.’ When students return from the walk, they will enjoy an ice cream treat outdoors,” said Koch.” Our goal is to minimally raise $5,000 or more.”

At St. Matthias, event captain Kaitlin Hahn said they are encouraging families to walk through their neighborhoods, and spread messages of kindness by saying hello to neighbors and leaving messages in chalk on the sidewalks.

“We are doing fundraising to give our students tools to help them in their virtual education,” said Hahn. “We will be holding games, a virtual raffle/silent auction and decorating our hallways to raise funds and build community.”

This year, Waukesha Catholic School System plans to walk in a socially distant manner on the Catholic Memorial track. According to captain Lisa Dietz, they are holding a trick-or-treat event for their Soles for Catholic Education Walk.

“The kids will be able to dress up in costumes if they wish. Participants are also offered the opportunity to walk in a different area of their choice, if they prefer,” she said. “A flyer about the event is available to see on the Waukesha Catholic School System Facebook page if they want more information.”

Like other schools, registration recently began, but Dietz said she is optimistic for good participation.

“We are hopeful that our school community will enjoy having a safe activity to participate in during this challenging season,” she said.

In Kenosha, All Saints School families are encouraged to “kick off” their Soles Walk on Oct. 17 in their neighborhoods, according to captain Sue Wendorf.

“Participants are asked to send in pictures of their walk. Then, the following week, students from 3K to eighth grade will be participating in the Soles Walk and will be walking during their gym class on Oct. 20-Oct. 22,” she said. “We will have a route set up outside (weather permitting) for the students to walk. Having the walk during the school day will encourage full participation by all students and will show them the importance of walking for the benefit of their school.”

Though the walk is normally held at Mount Mary University in Milwaukee, facilitating it at All Saints will increase participation and hopefully increase funds for the school, explained Wendorf.

“We understand that we have to be sympathetic to families that may not be able to donate or are experiencing difficult financial situations due to COVID, yet we also know that there are many families and community members that are passionate about our school and are looking for an opportunity to give especially in times such as these,” she said. “Finding that balance will be important.”

St Gabriel School in Hubertus encourages families to consider the school’s mile-long nature walk as a destination for the Soles Walk this year, said Principal Bridget Bartholomew.

“St. Gabriel has had an excellent track record of participation by our families; so we’ll be encouraging all 100 of our families to register for the walk,” she said. “We’ll also take part in the ‘Stuff the Bus’ shoe collection to assist families in need. Our school theme this year is ‘See Christ in Others, Be Christ for Others.’ The Soles Walk and the shoe collection allow us to tangibly support each other in our school community and care for others in the larger community.”