By Janee Law
After raising $3,140 toward last year’s Ride For Life, an annual fundraiser for ALS research, students and staff of Northport and East Northport middle schools were awarded for their efforts during the Jan. 29 board of education meeting.
Chris Pendergast, a former Northport-East Northport teacher and founder of the nonprofit, presented the middle schools with one bronze banner each for their efforts of raising more than $1,000 each towards the cause.
“Northport schools’ compassionate commitment brilliantly shines as an example of real education at its best,” said Pendergast, who was diagnosed in 1993 with ALS, a progressive neurodegenerative disease. “This experience helped students learn lessons that will last them for a lifetime, such as overcoming tremendous challenge, developing perseverance and actually making the world a better place.”
Students and staff at Northport Middle School raised $1,290 during a dunk tank event last June where students purchased chances to dunk the staff.
Northport Middle School Principal Chelsea Brown, and other faculty members, such as Darcy Pattison, a social worker, and Donna McGinn, a math teacher, were in charge of the dunk event.
“Each year, the students and the staff try to come up with some great fundraising ideas and then on his ride we then present him with our efforts,” Brown said. “I believe that both middle schools are eager to join in this mission to raise public awareness of ALS, to support research efforts and to support the patients and their families.”
East Northport Middle School hosted a three-on-three basketball tournament last March that raised $1,850 for the cause. John Braun, a seventh grade science teacher, and Theresa Braun, a school counselor, organized the event with East Northport Middle School Assistant Principal Cathy Silletti.
The money went towards Pendergast’s 18th annual Ride For Life, a 12-day trek from eastern Long Island to Manhattan that took place April 27, 2015-May 9, 2015. Ride For Life has raised nearly $2 million since its founding in 1998. This year’s ride is set for May 9 - May 21.
“Together we have made a difference,” Pendergast, who taught in the Northport-East Northport school district for 33 years, said. “This community should be extraordinarily proud of your children and staff as well as the wonderful school environment nurtured by this community. The world is a better place because of this school.”
Clint Strait, a parent in the Northport-East Northport School District who suffers from ALS, participated in last year’s Ride For Life, and thanked the middle schools for their contributions.
“The work done by East-Northport Middle School and Northport Middle School, as well as other buildings in the district, guarantees the cure will be found sooner and patients will suffer less,” Strait said.