Conard High School Principal Julio Duarte and student council members will be ‘Freezin for a Reason’ on Jan. 29, 2017.
By Ronni Newton
Conard High School Principal Julio Duarte doesn’t like to swim in cold water and doesn’t even really like to swim, but on Jan. 29, 2017, he will voluntarily join students from the West Hartford high school as they plunge into the icy waters of Dunning Lake at Winding Trails Recreation Center in Farmington.
“I think it’s such a great cause and anything we can do for a good cause not by not only raising awareness but giving of ourselves is important, Duarte said. Conard’s mission includes challenging and guiding students to be “productive citizens,” which includes active participation in the community.
Special Olympics in particular is a cause that is important to Duarte. “For me this event hits closer to home because one of my best friends has a child with Down Syndrome who participates in Special Olympics every year,” he said.
This year there are 10 team members, including Duarte. The team’s pledges of $1,140.34 puts them in fifth place overall. Other West Hartford teams and individuals, including a group from King Philip, are also taking the plunge.
Some of the penguins take the plunge in costume – and there is even an award given for the best costume.
The Penguin Plunge is one of the organization’s signature fundraisers, and is held at five locations throughout Connecticut. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the Penguin Plunge are donated, and support the organization’s programs and healthy lifestyle initiatives and give more than 13,000 athletes and unified partners the opportunity to participate in 27 Olympic-type sports and contests.
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