Dunking for Dollars

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Newark Central School District Superintendent Susan Hasenauer, Board of Education Vice President Julie Nevelizer and Newark Middle School Physical Education teacher Henry Kuperus each made a big splash _ actually several of them _ in a chilly dunk tank September 10th during the Rotary Club of Newark 1st Annual Family Fest at the Firemen’s Park in Newark. 

Hasenauer, who was dunked about five times during her 4 p.m. half-hour stint and Nevelizer, who followed and got dunked at least 25 times. Kuperus, who during his 11:30 a.m. stint got dunked about five times were great sports who emerged soaked and chilly, but happy. 

Two of Hasenauer’s dunks resulted from a toddler-aged tike being given a distinct, close-up advantage by a Rotary spotter who let him at least twice hit the metal bar that tripped the seat Hasenauer was sitting on plunging her into the water. 

Hasenauer’s own daughter Mia, a Penfield High School freshman, after missing the target with three throws surprised her mom by playfully running up to the booth, hitting the round metal bullseye with her hand and dunked her. Her older sister Gabriella, a Penfield High School senior, legitimately hit the target with one of her three softball throws and dunked her mom. 

Several other adults tried their darndest to dunk Hasenauer, but were unsuccessful. 

Being a Rotarian is something I'm very proud of as I believe we make a difference in our community,” Hasenauer said. “The 1st annual Family Fest was just one example of that. In just a few short months these dedicated individuals pulled together a wonderful event that supported the Newark community, our families and our students. I truly believe this is just the beginning of something bigger and the fact that I was able to enjoy this event with my family was a bonus and worth every minute of getting wet! I'm also predicting girls softball is going to do well this spring!” 

Nevelizer, who playfully arrived for her dunking booth stint dressed as a fisherwoman, got dunked more than 25 times. 

Ten of the on-target hits were expertly thrown by her son, Landon, 10, who plays on the AECC’s Major Fall Baseball team. His younger brother, Liam, 9, who plays on the Minor team, hit the target and sunk his mother once. 

The rest of the successful throwers were either teammates of Nevelizer’s sons or family friends. 

“Mostly kids dunked me,’’ she said afterward, adding ‘my husband missed.’ It’s was lots of fun. It was cold. Thank God it was a warm day, or I would have been a lot colder.” 

Kuperus agreed, noting the water in the dunk tank was really cold in the morning when he got dunked by his wife and a few of his current and former students. 

“It was a nice event and a good way to give back to the community,” he said. 

Hasenauer, Nevelizer and Kuperus were among the 12 brave individuals who agreed to get dunked for a good cause. 

Others included: Newark Mayor Newark Mayor Jonathan Taylor, Jean Bendix, Isiah Jackson, Josh Arnold, Jeremy Jiminez, Rotary District Governor Ralph Brand, Arcadian Supervisor Richard VanLaeken, Matt Roelands and Bob Bendix. 

Rotary treasurer Kevin Mooney said $600 was raised through the dunking tank attraction. 

The total raised by the entire event was $26,767 that included $20,270 from community sponsors and $6,497 raised at the event. 

After expenses, Rotary netted approximately $22,500 that will benefit area charities including the Newark Food Closet, Laurel House Comfort Care Home and Habitat for Humanity, Mooney said. 

“It was a great event,’’ he said.