Cashin’ in for a ‘cool’ cause

Freedom Slush Puppies raise over $6,000 for the Special Olympics


The Slush Puppies bear the cold waters of the Ohio River on Jan. 7 for the annual Special Olympics fundraiser.

Jenna Engel, Staff Writer

For the fourth consecutive year, FASD administrators had braved the cold winds and frigid waters for the greater good. The Special Olympics held the annual Polar Plunge fundraiser benefitting those with special needs.
Locally, the New Horizon School in Beaver, Pennsylvania, holds this event for any teams or individuals wishing to participate. Their learning structure is designed in such a way that helps students with special needs reach their full intellectual, social, emotional and physical potential.

To ensure that their students reach their full potential in all of these categories, there are many activities year-round that are offered. Bowling, volleyball, skiing, social and educational activities and dances are just some of the ways that the New Horizon staff engages their students.
At the Polar Plunge, the Freedom Slush Puppies raised a total of $6,754.89 for the cause. Because of the success of the fundraising, Freedom earned second place in the “Cool Schools” category at the plunge, just behind the Central Valley Wicked Warriors who raised a total of $12,895.36.

With over $2,932.87 as of Jan. 4, the elementary school raised over half of the total for the district. Dress down days, movie days, the ice bucket challenge and crazy hat day are just a few things that the staff and students took part in. At the middle school, the ice bucket challenge, cell phone days and a buffalo dip challenge were sufficient in raising funds.

In terms of individual funding, each team member was required to donate a $20 minimum, after which each member was asked to raise an additional amount upwards of $50.
The Slush Puppies had been comprised of 37 members, 18 of whom braved the cold on Jan. 7 and also consisted of many faculty and community members. School Psychologist Joe Testa and Director of Curriculum Misty Slavic operated as co-captains. As a second-year jumper, Testa admitted that jumping into freezing water “may not be a typical Saturday.”

For Testa, this project hit close to home.

“Personally, I have a family member who has special needs and my mother and father have worked with individuals with special needs for their entire lives,” Testa said.

Of the Slush Puppies, 10 of 18 were first-time jumpers, including High School Principal William Deal, High School Assistant Principal Steven Mott, School Resource Officer Tom Liberty and District Payroll Coordinator Linda Eldridge.

“It was a really positive experience for me…The main thing was how dedicated to the cause everyone was. It was a bitter, cold day, certainly not ideal for outside activities, and everyone was giving 100 percent,” Eldridge said. “I will definitely do it again.”

Aside from administration, community members also participated in the fundraiser. Mrs. Mary White is a photographer who has been a part of the plunge for three consecutive years.

“It was a lot of fun and it feels great to raise money for the Special Olympics. It’s an enjoyable event and is a great way to bring both district employees and community members together for a great cause,” White said.

In an email co-captain Slavic sent to the team on Jan. 4, she said, “Your generosity and compassion for this event are truly amazing. Please continue to support our athletes this spring when they compete in the Beaver County Special Olympics. When you see their smiling faces and hear their stories of success, remember that it was through your help that they were able to embark on such an experience.”