MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (WTNH) — Each year Mercy High School in Middletown hosts a Walkathon. It’s one of the school’s biggest fundraisers and students in every grade participate. Of course, with COVID-19 this year’s event looks different. 

Newly named President of Mercy High School Alissa Dejonge is an alumnus herself. She said of the walkathon, “[It] has been a tradition for the last 45 years so it didn’t really feel like an option to cancel it.” 

She wanted to make sure they didn’t lose the tradition to the pandemic. The school reworked some of the details to make sure the students got to participate. 

Dejonge tells News 8, “We had to reimagine it.” 

The Walkathon kicked off Thursday with a Spirit Day involving all of the grades. To adhere to social distancing and other COVID-19 guidelines, the school decided to stick to the cohorts. Each small group stayed in their classroom and joined the assembly over Zoom. Typically the students would fill the auditorium but this year it remained empty. 

Senior Kaila Lujambio tells News 8, “even though we graduate, this is still going to be a very important day in our memories that were always going to remember.” 

The money raised by the students will go towards the technology the school invested in to prepare for school during the pandemic. The actual Walkathon will take place on Oct. 23.