It was one of the coldest mid-November days on Long Island Sound, resulting from below normal temperatures and a recent record-breaking snowfall, but that that did not deter 30 Stepinac High School students from braving the chilly waters to support Special Olympics New York in the 9th Annual Westchester Polar Plunge (Freezin’ for a Reason) on November 17.
Following a Stepinac tradition of generously supporting the non-profit, this year’s group raised about $5,000 by either taking the plunge at Glen Island, New Rochelle or helping to raise donations.
Principal Paul Carty, who again led Stepinac’s contingent, said: “From the very start nine years ago when the Polar Plunge began, Stepinac’s students, especially members of the Crusaders varsity sports teams, have closely identified with and generously supported Special Olympics New York’s cause of providing year-round sports training and athletic competitions for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.”
Stepinac’s participation in the 2018 Polar Plunge helped Special Olympics New York achieve the goal of raising $125,000. Currently, the regional non-profit has 68,547 athletes training and competing year-round in 22 Olympics-style sports. The athletes and their families are not charged to participate. Fundraisers like the Polar Plunge help the non-profit to support the $400 cost of training and competition for one athlete for one sports season.
The 2018 Westchester Polar Plunge coincided with the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Special Olympics by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, sister of President John F. Kennedy and Senators Robert F. Kennedy and Edward M. Kennedy.
Her inspiration for establishing the Special Olympics was seeing little justice in the way people with disabilities were treated. At the opening ceremony of the first Special Olympics in 1968, she pledged that the new organization would offer people with intellectual disabilities everywhere “the chance to play, the chance to compete and the chance to grow.”
What began as one woman's vision evolved into Special Olympics International, a global movement that today serves more than 4.7 million people with intellectual disabilities in 170 countries.
For more information on Stepinac High School visit www.stepinac.org.