Prairie Ridge students dunk teachers for charity

CRYSTAL LAKE – Glen Pecoraro generally wants his baseball players throwing with accuracy, but not when he is sitting right above a tank full of ice water.

The Prairie Ridge High School baseball coach was one of 15 administrators and teachers willing to take the plunge as part of a student-organized dunk tank charity fundraiser Friday at the school. The fundraiser was done in conjunction with the annual Meet the Deans event that allows the hundreds of students with good grades and no disciplinary issues to enjoy a day outside – guaranteeing plenty of potential customers looking to dunk those who doled out homework all year.

Despite having a group of more than capable throwers relishing the chance to dunk him, Pecoraro playfully taunted all who tried to sink him, including basketball standout Michael Bradshaw who hit the target.

"It's fun for the kids and we get to dunk the teachers. Everyone has fun," Bradshaw said. "I just try to throw on a line and get some velocity on it."

The event, which was started to support Operation Support Our Troops and Children's Oncology Services, Inc., was the creation of Bryan Peckhart's marketing class last year when the students wanted to put what they learned to a charitable cause.

After a successful debut event in 2013, junior Sam Wheeland and his classmates put the event on this year, promoting it to students and reaching out to local businesses for support. Yumz, Home State Bank, Jersey Mike's and Urban Athletics were local companies that assured the event would go well past its goal of $2,500.

"Projects just like this all throughout the year make this a great, hands-on and active class," Wheeland said of Peckhart's class. "It's been great. Everyone is having fun and it's beautiful weather."

The weather was not as beautiful for the teachers who were plunged into the ice-cold tank of water. Students made sure to dump in buckets of ice on a regular basis to make sure it never got too comfortable for their targets.

After watching dean Scott LeMoine get off relatively easy, Spanish teacher Kristin Lee was not fully expecting the onslaught of strikes that hit the target. But while she stood shivering trying to dry off, she said the experience was well worth it, even if some of the cheerleaders she coaches paid some strong arms to throw on their behalf.

"Our students have done such a great job organizing this," Lee said. "They worked really hard and put a lot of thought into the causes they want to raise money for so I think it says a lot about our students and how much they care."