On Sunday, May 6, a group of Storm King student-volunteers gave their time and talents to the American Heart Association (AHA)‘s annual Tri-County Heart Walk held at Lake Welch in Harriman State Park. The event drew hundreds of supporters who walked a 1.5-mile course to raise money for the AHA’s research and programs, despite the day’s early rains. As the students stepped up to help during the event, they also went above and beyond using their positive energy and charisma to brighten an otherwise grey and overcast morning.


Rory Tobin ’20, Sam McCullough ’20, Stephanie Appiah ’18, and Giselle Morales ’18 with AHA Tri-County organizers


As participants were arriving and gathering for the event, the Storm King students pumped up the crowd with a spontaneous synchronized dance that encouraged everyone, young and old, to move to the music. While some people danced, other Heart Walk participants made their way around the sponsor tables and stopped to take photos with Storm King’s own Sofia Bové ’22. Sofia, who bravely donned a giant heart costume, made her way through the crowd along with fellow 8th grader Cody Ngwanza to the delight of the children and adults who wanted to take photos with them

During the opening ceremony the Storm King student-volunteers took center-stage when Allegra Walker ‘19, Asia Raacke ‘19, Caroline Hecht ‘19, Morgan Papera ‘20, and Scott Rolon ‘18, performed an outstanding rendition of the national anthem that awed the crowd and left some misty-eyed.


The SKS cheerleaders getting the walk off to a good start


To kick off the walk, SKS cheerleaders including Giselle Morales ‘18, Rory Tobin ‘20, Samantha McCullough ‘20, and Stephanie Appiah ‘18, encouraged the Heart Walkers as they stepped off to the music of a local marching band. As the Heart Walk participants crossed the finish line, the SKS cheerleaders were there again to congratulate the walkers and spread their enthusiasm.

Event coordinators such as JoAnn Parker, director of the Hudson Valley Tri-County Heart Association, described the students as “awesome,” and said each one of them brought something special to the event. “Volunteers are key to the success of the Heart Walk which helps to save lives in our region,” explained Ms. Parker. “We’re so grateful for the contributions of the volunteers from The Storm King School who helped at the event. We couldn’t have done it without their help.”


Sofia Bove ’22 (in the heart costume) and fellow 8th-grader Cody Ngwanza