Members of the Holy Cross High School community banded together to participate in this year's Penguin Plunge, sponsored by Special Olympics Connecticut, Inc. Over $3500 was raised through this effort with half of the monies going to Special Olympics and the other half to Holy Cross.
Holy Cross has participated in plunges in the past to wonderful success. Plans were underway to make this year's plunge different from the rest.First, two teams were created; one led by Dr. Thomas C. Pellegrino, President and the other by Mr. Thomas Pompei, Principal. Students picked which team they wanted to be a part of and raised money towards this effort. Second, special permissions were made by Special Olympics to hold a special Crusader plunge at the school in late March. All members of each team would have taken a plunge through a dunk tank.
The plunge was eventually cancelled after the spread of COVID-19, however the spirit still stayed. Even after its cancellation, students raised funds towards this great cause. Also, Dr. Pellegrino, Mr. Pompei and Ben Mason '22 (the student who raised the most money in this effort) posted ice-bucket-themed videos as their virtual plunge.
"The response from students, colleagues and family has been gratifying and, in many instances, a great source of joy," said Dr. Pellegrino. "Certainly, there was the fun associated with doing something together as a school, with a friendly competition between the president and principal giving rise to a friendly competition among students."
"When Dr. Pellegrino first approached me about the Penguin Plunge, my first thought was a fearful vision of the optics of the Holy Cross principal shrieking in freezing winter waters," said Mr. Pompei. "However, as always, the Holy Cross community, led by our students, transformed an idea into a reality that was so very fun for all of us involved that benefited not only our school, but also the wonderful people of the Special Olympics. I am continually blessed to be a Crusader."
The school leadership decided to participate in the plunge again this year for a few reasons. First, they wanted to provide an opportunity for students to do something fun together that also had an important purpose to it. Second, the administration believed strongly in the power of hope and zeal. This plunge was designed as a friendly competition and a way of showcasing the school's philosophy. Finally, the school wanted to underscore the importance of philanthropy and fundraising as a means of supporting not just Holy Cross and Special Olympics Connecticut, but other organizations which are so vital to our community and which depend on the generosity of others to continue providing the services they provide.
"Special Olympics Connecticut is truly blessed to have the amazing support of the Holy Cross Community," said Michael B. Mason, Senior Vice President & CFO, Special Olympics Connecticut, Inc. "For over three decades the students and administration have embraced and celebrated the achievements of our athletes by hosting the Traditional Basketball Tournament on their campus. In such challenging times as these it is truly humbling to have Holy Cross find innovative ways to continue to support Special Olympics through their virtual Penguin Plunge. Thank you for your commitment to Special Olympics and we look forward to all being together again soon."
"We were a school of Special Olympics advocates well before the plunge took place and will continue to be so well after this event," said Dr. Pellegrino.