Last spring, as Chris Pendergast of Miller Place made his 18th Ride for Life trip through Riverhead, he was joined by the students at Phillips Avenue school.
On Tuesday evening, he joined the students again at a Riverhead school board meeting, this time to give back to them. Mr. Pendergast presented the students with a silver banner in recognition of their $2,000 donation to his cause.
Each May, Mr. Pendergast— a 1966 graduate of Bishop McGann-Mercy High School who was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) in 1993 — has traveled from Eastern Long Island into Manhattan in order to raise awareness about the disease.
Mr. Pendergast congratulated the students using a eyesight-controlled tablet, praising their large fundraising efforts and thanking them for their donations to Ride for Life.
“Through fundraising efforts led by Vice Principal Alison Conroy, Phillips Avenue raised the incredible sum of $2,000, distinguishing themselves among the highest performing schools in the entire metropolitan area,” Mr. Pendergast said. “Phillips Avenue School’s compassionate commitment shines as an example of education at its finest.”
Participation in the event, he added, teaches students lifelong lessons, such as overcoming challenges, developing perseverance and the importance of making the world a better place.
“With deepest gratitude, it is my honor and privilege to present Phillips Avenue Elementary School with this silver banner, our second highest recognition,” Mr. Pendergast said as a friend unrolled the banner and presented it to the handful of elementary school students.
Following his announcement, Mr. Pendergast was invited to attend an assembly on Monday Dec. 21 and agreed to participate in Ride for Life again next spring.
Photo Caption: Glenn Baldwin, next to Chris Pendergast, unrolls the silver banner awarded to Pulaski Avenue school for being the second highest fundraiser for the Ride for Life event (Credit: Nicole Smith).