Members of the Marian Catholic High School's Men of Marian (MoM) booster organization are excited to have reach over 500 members via their Men of Marian 500 Plus membership campaign. Tom Gerhard, MoM President, stated, "Through the efforts of our members and Jack Malarkey (membership chairman), we are excited to announce that we have surpassed our membership goal, reaching 520 members." Gerhard added, "Men of Marian holds and provides primary fundraising opportunities for the school."

The Men of Marian booster organization started in 1964 and was primarily responsible for helping with transportation costs for students at the Marian Catholic High School, Hometown.

In the last 15 years, the organization has donated more than $1.5 million to the school for use in multiple athletic and academic projects and activities. Members pointed out that amount does not reflect the total number of hours members have spent selling tickets and refreshments at games, maintaining the stadium, holding picnics and other activities, as well as constructing the Men of Marian Stadium and refreshment stand.

Board members pointed out that members are not required to be alumni of Marian High School and that both men and women could join.

Malarkey, who was also a past principal, said, "We've always been encouraged by the support that we've gotten from the Marian family and supporters throughout the years."

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

Gerhard added, "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 sending a message explaining what we (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." Adding, "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 during the drive.

Men of Marian's key fundraisers are their Chinese Auctions and Men of Marian Picnic.

Over $20,000 worth of prizes will be awarded to lucky supporters of the Men of Marian's 22nd Annual Chinese Auction, which will be held this Saturday and Sunday at the Marian Catholic High School on Marian Avenue in Hometown. The auction itself will also be available to the public at 11 a.m. Sunday. Bidding will take place until the prompt starting time of 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. "Polka Joe Manjack" will be broadcasting live from Marian High School gymnasium from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. The auction will kick off with a preview night on Saturday from 5-8 p.m.

Through the generosity of numerous supporters, the auction will offer large a selection of items and gifts, to include a refrigerator, recliner, Kindle Touch, washer/dryer, Home Theatre System, flat screen HD television and so on. Organizers pointed out that a variety of homemade food items will also be available, including meatballs, pierogies, halushki, sausage and peppers, barbecue, pizza, homemade soups and baked goods.

Their 42nd annual Men of Marian Summer Picnic will be held July 27-29, Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. This family-oriented event will consist of a large flea market, games, prizes, rides, refreshments, live music and other new attractions, such as a fireworks display on Sunday at 10 p.m.

For more information about the Men of Marian, it's Chinese Auction or other programs the organization sponsors, contact the Marian High School Development Office at (570) 467-0641 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. or (570) 582-0021.

"The attitude and dedication to the school is something that 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 [1] #http://www.MarianCatholicHS.org

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

"If there wasn't a Men of Marian organization, over $100,000 would have to come from the school every year," added Malarkey

Even though they reached their members goal, board members point out that they are always looking for new members who are able to get involved in their fundraising efforts and school projects. Their next membership drive starts June 1.