Members of the Marian High School's Men of Marian booster organization are putting strong efforts towards recruiting new booster members via their Men of Marian 500 Plus membership campaign.

When the Men of Marian booster organization began operating in 1964, it was primarily responsible for helping with transportation costs for students at the Marian Catholic High School, Hometown.

In the last 14 years, the organization has donated more than $1.5 million to the school for use in various athletic and academic projects and activities. Although that amount does not represent the number of hours members have spent selling tickets and refreshments at games, maintaining the stadium, holding picnics and other activities, and constructing the Men of Marian Stadium and refreshment stand.

Men of Marian Board members point out that they are looking for new members who are able to get physically involved in their fundraising efforts and school projects. Board members pointed out that members are not required to be alumni of Marian High School. They also pointed out that from the club's start, both men and women could join.

Jack Malarkey, Membership Chairman and past Principal, said, "We've always been encouraged by the support that we've gotten from the Marian family throughout the years. We hope to can increase that support, because the major needs still continue to affect Catholic education."

Sister Bernard Agnes, Principal added, "The more members we have, the less strain it will be on all the members.Our goal is to increase our membership, which will increase our school's revenue and lighten the burden on those who are already overburdened with the work that they do for us."

Tom Gerhard, President, said, "We want to get our message out there. Men of Marian is our primary fundraising organization for Marian Catholic. We have a lot of great volunteers that come out and help us throughout the course of the year. By increasing our membership 500 plus, we are going to send a message out there what the Men of Marian are all about."

The late Joseph L. Boyle of Jim Thorpe, who served as the group's first president, stated in 1989, "We just had a heck of a lot of good fellows who were just willing to work." We were starting from scratch when Father (Frederick) Winkler, the school's first principal, called us together and told us what he had in mind. School officials say the organization has played an invaluable role in helping to shape the school."

"Besides being the primary booster organization for athletics, the club also helps out by providing support to the band, cheerleaders and providing financial support to needy students," said Malarkey.

Because the group supports the athletic program, school officials are able to use all tuition money for academic programs.

"It's given us the balance to be able to cover the major expenses that would be far, far more difficult to cover. Without any tax support, we depend largely on fund-raising and support," Malarkey said. "If there wasn't a Men of Marian organization, over $100,000 would have to come from the school every year," added Malarkey.

Men of Marian's key fundraisers are their Chinese Auctions and Men of Marian Picnic. Their 41st Men of Marian Summer Picnic will be held this weekend, Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. The family-oriented event will consist of a large flea market, games, prizes, rides, refreshments, live music and other new attractions. Bands performing will be "Kartune", "Crazy Heart", "Remember When" and Marian's own "The Had Knots". The public is encouraged to attend.

For more information, please call the school at (570) 467-0641 or visit their website.

"The attitude and dedication to the school is something that I think carries on a very positive attitude from graduating class-to-graduating class," added Malarkey.

Men of Marian membership is only $5 and membership forms can be downloaded on the Marian High School's website www.MarianCatholicHS.org

Tom Gerhard pointed out, "The best years of Marian High School are ahead of us."