North Salem Takes Polar Plunge For Sandy Hook Victims

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North Salem teachers and staff will take a Polar Plunge on Saturday to support the families of Sandy Hook victims, including 7-year-old Daniel Barden. Photo Credit: Courtesy of The Barden Family Fund

NORTH SALEM, N.Y. – Nearly two dozen teachers and staff from the North Salem Central School District are primed to dive into the chilly waters of Long Island Sound to support the families of some of those lost in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.

The Plunge will take place at noon Saturday, Jan. 12, at Southport Beach in Southport, Conn.

If you wish to join the Plunge, you and your sponsors should make checks payable to the fund of your choice:

• Glenn Atkinson Memorial Scholarship Fund, note “Murphy Family Scholarship” on your check.

• Grace McDonnell Memorial Fund at Fairfield County Community Fund

• The Barden Fund.

Anne Marie Murphy, a native of Katonah, worked as a first grade special education at Sandy Hook and gave her life trying to protect her young charges. Her funeral rites were celebrated in Katonah, and she was buried in Somers. The Murphy Family Scholarship will be used in a education fund for Murphy’s four children.

Grace McDonnell, 7, was passionate about art and dreamed of becoming a painter and living on Martha’s Vineyard. An art scholarship has been established in her name at the Fairfield County Community Foundation.

Seven-year-old victim Daniel Barden was the son of a second-grade teacher in Pawling with affiliations in North Salem. The Barden Fund will help to cover the family’s expenses resulting from the tragedy.

North Salem School District Plungers include John Davis, Karyn Johnson, John Davis, Karyn Johnson, Jordan Birsdall, Leslie Aitken, Barbara Paesano, Alyssa Paesano, Karen Koestner, Jessie Wasserman, Brigida Favata, Gary Green, JoAnn Ranalli, Kimber-Lee Maston, Michael Valenti, Melissa Valenti , Gina Kappes, Cynthia Sandler, Joel Cassidy, Lynn Paulvin, Sue Quigley, Kylie McCarron and John Veteri.

So far, the cheering squad, dubbed The Plunge Peepers, includes Bob Mittelstadt, North Salem Middle/High School Principal Pat Cyganovich, Sue Brent, Terri McCleary, Rita Carey, Lesley Hoagg and Mary Sireci.

You can bring checks to the Plunge or mail them to Eric Hodska, 18 Old Mine Lane, Monroe, CT 06468 (McDonnell and Murphy Funds) or The Barden Family Fund, 32 Tappan Terrace, Briarcliff Manor, NY 10510.

Contributions can also be made by PayPal at

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