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2x Top NYS Fundraiser Iona Prep Plungers Receive 3rd Straight 'Cool School Challenge' Trophy

More than 100 Iona men came together under the leadership of English teacher and moderator Mrs. Patricia Gray to raise money for the 9th annual Westchester Polar Plunge on Nov. 18 at Glen Island Park. On Jan. 23, the Iona Prep Plungers were presented with their third consecutive "Cool School Challenge" trophy and, for the second straight year, were the top fundraising team in all of New York State.

"Today, I am really proud to present the Cool School Challenge trophy to our No. 1 fundraising team, Iona Prep, led by Mrs. Pat Gray," Special Olympics New York Director of Development Kaitlin Brennan said in presenting the Iona Prep Plungers with their third Cool School Challenge trophy. "I think part of the success is that everyone here at Iona Prep really rallies behind Special Olympics New York."

The Gaels accounted for more than 25 percent of the Westchester Polar Plunge's charitable efforts, raising $35,705 for Special Olympics. According to Brennan, the Iona Prep Plungers efforts will sponsor 90 Special Olympics athletes for the whole year.

"It's such a worthwhile cause to raise money for these Special Olympics' athletes," Mrs. Gray said. "I am extremely proud of the time and effort our students put into fundraising, as well their openness to learn more about this wonderful organization and the athletes themselves."

It was the second time in as many years that Iona Prep was the top fundraising team in the state, and the seventh time in nine years that the Prep Plungers were the top Westchester school (predating the Cool School Challenge). They were also the top overall team in Westchester in 2010 and 2011.

"It's really cold, but it's a lot of fun and definitely worth it," senior Ryan Murphy said. "We do get service hours, but it does mean a lot more doing it for the Special Olympics."

Freshman Ryan McPartlan agreed.

"I did the Polar Plunge because I wanted to help raise awareness and money for Special Olympics. I learned that anyone can play sports and do it at a high level, even though they may face certain challenges. I felt amazing after doing this because I was able to help the community and give back to the athletes who try their best to succeed."


Source: Special Olympics New York