MOUNT GREENWOOD — Patrick Meyer hopes to literally swing into the record books beginning at 7 a.m. Thursday.
Meyer, the campus minister at Marist High School, will attempt to break the record for swinging on a playground swing. To do so, he'll need to swing for 36 hours on a swing built just outside of the school's football stadium.
“I am nervous,” said Meyer, a 2010 graduate of the Catholic school in Mount Greenwood. “I just don’t want to let anyone down.”
Meyer's record-breaking swing is being paired with a fundraiser for the Marist National Day of Service. The charity day on March 29 aims to celebrate the Marist Brothers’ 200th anniversary, according to a spokeswoman for the school.
Marist schools throughout the United States will mark this day in various ways. The junior class of the high school at 4200 W. 115th St. has decided to assemble 100,000 meal packs for Feed My Starving Children.
This charity provides nutritionally complete meals specifically formulated for malnourished children throughout the world. Meyer's swing is intended to help defray the $25,000 cost of this charitable effort.
One donor has already given $4,000 toward the cause, and students are also selling “Swing Squad” T-shirts that can be worn in school Thursday for $10. There's a raffle for a signed and authenticated Walter Payton football jersey too.
Both the shirts and raffle tickets cost $10 each and are available in the school’s campus ministry office.
Marist will also host a fall festival on the football field from 7-9 p.m. Thursday. Admission is $2 to the event which includes a petting zoo, bobbing for apples, music and pumpkin launching. Food will also be sold. All are welcome.
As for the swing record, Meyer will begin the day at an opening ceremony hosted by comedian and 1994 Marist graduate Pat McGann. He will join Meyer on the two-person swing along with other notables including Ald. Matt O'Shea (19th); the Rev. Tom Hurley, pastor of Old St. Patrick’s Church on the Near West Side; Maggie McEldowney, Ireland's 2016 Rose of Tralee; and more.
Students will also be able to come cheer Meyer on throughout the day Thursday and some have offered to check in overnight. If successful, Meyer will finish at 7 p.m. Friday, just ahead of the varsity football game versus Benet Academy.
After 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 hour of swinging, though Meyer must be in constant motion while on the swing.
Marist will provide ongoing updates via social media, including live Facebook broadcasts.
“Everyone is behind him,” said fellow campus minister Colleen Pochyly. “The kids are excited and have been eager to help.”
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