MONTVILLE, NJ – Cedar Hill Elementary School’s Student Council held an academic bowl which raised $800 for the fire department which aided Towaco resident Kyle Cooney after his horrific car accident last September. Kyle had to be extricated from his father’s vintage Corvette by the Mahwah Fire Department, and student council advisors Kevin Haugh and Joe DiLascio thought it would be a fitting tribute to use funds raised from the bowl to support the department. Nineteen-year-old Kyle attended Cedar Hill years ago and his mother, Debbie, currently works there as an aide.

“Joe and I brought up the idea of supporting the Mahwah Fire Dept. and the kids thought it would be a great idea,” Haugh told TAPinto Montville. Haugh is a fifth grade teacher at the school and DiLascio is a third grade teacher there.

Students in all grades made a $5 donation to have the opportunity to be a contestant and the teachers formed teams for each grade. Questions were made up by teachers from each grade on many different subjects, plus the media specialist and art teacher made up questions. The academic bowl took place in the gym on April 12. Students competed in a friendly way against students from their grade. Teachers also donated to the fundraiser by having a dress-down day, Haugh said.

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Kyle thanked the students and Mahwah Fire Chief Michael Roe, who accepted a giant mock-up of a donation check the day of the event. Debbie said that Kyle has been going to the various medical agencies to thank all of them for helping him.

“He’s visited the hospital twice but wants to visit again to thank a doctor that he missed seeing,” she said. “He went to the Mahwah Police and thanked them. He met the paramedic who aided him in the helicopter – his name is Phil and he was excited to meet Kyle because he had visited him in the ICU. Everyone who has met him is shocked at Kyle’s recovery. Phil said he had never seen someone recover like that in his 42 years. He said either it just doesn’t happen or they just don’t get to see it. When my husband called the Mahwah Fire Department, the chief thought he was being pranked because they thought the outlook wasn’t good for Kyle.”

The entire Cooney family is extremely thankful for the support they have received from Montville and the Cedar Hill community that has helped them through the crisis that was Kyle’s accident and its aftermath. Debbie was in tears as she thanked the students and faculty at the fundraiser.

“The Cedar Hill family is amazing,” Debbie told those present at the academic bowl. “You’ve been there for us, you supported us, and I just can’t thank you enough, and especially first responders. When you see them, thank them because you know they’ve done something that day to help someone.”

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