CEDAR GROVE, NJ - One Cedar Grove guidance counselor is taking advantage of her free time this summer by participating in an event that raises money for a worthy cause and inspires others.
Cedar Grove High School guidance counselor Alexa Rubino participated in the Knights of Columbus tank pull and proved her strength, earning third place as a team for quickest pull and second place individually for quickest pull with the lightest weight. It was hearing about the event at CGHS that sparked her interest.
As a member of the Knights of Columbus, Vice Principal Steve Gallagher got Rubino involved in the pull and put her on his team -- the Ancient Order of Hibernians Division 16 -- after the Cedar Grove athletics team was filled.
"I overhead him talking about it, and when the CG team was filled, I asked if he could put me on any team," Rubino said. "I love meeting new people, especially when a good cause is involved."
The pull took place Sunday, June 25 and consisted of two parts. The first was to pull the tank as fast as possible as a team and the second was to pull it individually. Rubino's team pulled the tank 12 feet in 6.94 seconds, earning them the coveted third place. The event also generated funds for charities that support wounded veterans.
For Rubino, her reason for participating was also personal, as her grandfather is a Korean War veteran and she wanted to honor his memory. She used her training from Crossfit and her personal drive to earn her the second place title in the individual part of the event.
"My favorite part of the experience was being able to give back to an extent, both physically and monetarily, to the Veterans. Without them, our country would not be where it is today. We are considered the land of the free, because of the brave," Rubino said. "When I approached the rope to pull the tank solo, I fondly thought of [my grandfather] saying 'hit 'em straight.'"
The event was also a way to show her students how important it is to do things that may be out of their comfort zone, and fulfill a promise to herself to do at least one thing each month that scares her.
"I would hope for students and individuals alike, to be able to do things that they may be scared or hesitant of," Rubino said. "I believe that growth comes from going out of your comfort zone, and I have absolutely grown from this experience."
Even Rubino said she has a new mentality after the event and plans to continue volunteering her time and challenging herself in events. She already volunteers almost every Sunday at Children's Specialized Hospital in Mountainside with the long-term care unit and is raising money for the hospital through her upcoming Rugged Maniac Race. Rubino also volunteers with New Jersey Needs You as a mentor coach, mentoring high-achieving first generation college students.
"If I can pull 80,000 pounds 12 feet by myself, nothing is impossible," Rubino added. "I hope to inspire others to constantly strive to be the best versions of themselves and to never let anything stand in the way of the impossible."