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Community Impact

Somers Leos Raise More Than $39,000 for Special Olympics

On 17 November, 72 Somers Leos jumped in the icy water to support the Special Olympics Polar Plunge “Cool School Challenge.”
Group of participants, athletes, and representatives on the beach in a group photo.
Somers Leos participants in the “Cool School Challenge.”

For the second straight year, the Somers LEOs- SHS came out in force to support Special Olympics Westchester Polar Plunge Fundraiser with 72 of its members racing into the frigid water, with the air temperature at 44 oF at Glen Island Park in New Rochelle. “When I still saw the snow on the ground as I drove to the event, I didn’t know how I could jump in until I saw all the other students there,” said Vicky McEvoy.

Special Olympics New York has 68,547 athletes training and competing year-round in 22 Olympics-style sports. Athletes and their families or caregivers are NEVER CHARGED to participate! It costs $400 to support training and competition for one athlete for one sports season.

The Somers Leos recent achievement means they were able to sponsor just over 95 athletes for an entire season! During the past two years, the LEOs have raised $68,000 and have helped 170 athletes, said Brandon LaSpina- Somers LEOs Co-President and Chairperson of this event for the past two years. “When I initially investigated this I thought we could possibly raise $6,000. The community has really supported us all the way. The Somers LEOs are an incredible group of High School students who care about giving back to the less fortunate.”

Many of the LEO parents were on hand to cheer the team on while Somers Lion and LEO Co-adviser Paul LaSpina and another parent even took the plunge! “The enthusiasm and accomplishments of the Leos was so inspiring I wanted to help them celebrate their success,” said Paul.

Athletes in the water for the polar plunge.
It was 44-degrees oF at Long Island Sound, NY during the Special Olympics Westchester Polar Plunge Fundraiser

There was a total of 28 teams with over 750 plungers that entered the Westchester event. The Somers Leos took the top prize for most funds raised by a public school generating more than $39,000 for Special Olympics and they placed second overall in NY State which had over 600 teams participating. Donations are still being accepted for the next three weeks.

The Somers LEOs $1,000 donations club included: Jennifer Acocella, Devon DiMichele, Stephanie Gillis, Jared Hachmyer, Karlene & Katrina Kurtz, Brandon LaSpina, Ryan Mahoney, Isabella & Natalia Rukaj, Daniel Turner and Justin Vassallo.