District’s first-ever Orange County Polar Plunge team raises $1,400 for Special Olympics New York and earns ‘Cool School Challenge’ title

polar plunge team

A team representing Minisink Valley participated in the third annual Orange County Polar Plunge on Oct 21, benefiting Special Olympics New York, raising $1,400 and winning the event’s “Cool School Challenge.”

The district’s first-ever team plunged into the cold waters at “Woodbury at the Rez” in Highland Mills. They joined other teams and individuals who purposely went into the Rez’s cold water, despite the low temperature, to raise money for this organization.

Polar bear plunge team membersThe district’s team was:

  • Shannon Cahill, High School student
  • Shawn Cahill, Board of Education member
  • Jeff Finton, director of pupil personnel services and team captain
  • Diana Lucas, Middle School science teacher
  • Jessica McKinstrie, physical therapy assistant
  • Anthony Monaco, Board of Education member
  • Anthony Pascarelli, Elementary School physical education teacher

people in the cold water

“It was a great event and our team was proud to represent Minisink Valley and support Special Olympics New York,” said Director of Pupil Personnel Services Jeff Finton, who was the team’s captain. “The cold water didn’t deter us at all. Thank you to all our supporters who contributed to this cause and for helping us to be named the 2023 ‘Cool School Champion.’ ”

The Cool School Challenge is a friendly competition between local schools to help further increase awareness of Special Olympics New York in addition to raising money for the organization.   As the  “2023 Cool School Champion,” the district will receive a traveling trophy which will be on display in district offices for the school year and a pizza party for the team.  In addition, the district’s logo will be  imprinted the reverse of the 2024 Orange County Polar Plunge sweatshirts.

“We’re thrilled to have a team represent Minisink Valley and be part of this county event and competition to raise money for a very worthy cause,” said Superintendent Brian Monahan. “Thank you to our team for braving the cold waters and to everyone who supported their efforts.”

See more photos on the district’s Facebook page.