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Wilton High School Students Support Police Officers Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro for Special Olympics

Students at Wilton High School have moved mountains to help fundraise for two Wilton police officers who are literally climbing a mountain–Kilimanjaro–to benefit the Special Olympics.

Last year, Lt. David Hartman and Lt. Rob Kluk of the Wilton Police Department made a commitment to fundraise for Special Olympics by literally climbing a mountain–on Feb. 16, 2020, they leave for Africa to scale Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Thus far, their team of 12 total climbers has raised close to $140,000 through sponsorships and donations.

At  last night’s Board of Education meeting, Hartman was honored with a Salute to Excellence award from the BOE (Kluk was unable to attend). Superintendent Kevin Smith explained that the Wilton High School student body and athletic department had organized several efforts in a short amount of time, and were able to raise close to $2,400 to contribute toward Hartman and Kluk’s fundraising climb.

Student body president Rishabh Raniwala described how the students government reps designed a t-shirt that they sold to the school and wider communities, raising over $1,400 in sales from the shirts alone. They also garnered $469 from a bake sale.

“We’re really happy to support the Police Department, Lt. Hartman and Lt. Kluk, the Special Olympics, and all the things that they do,” Raniwala said. [Editor’s note:  t-shirts are still available for purchase online.]

The Wilton Athletic Department also raised money, setting out a collection bucket on the entrance table at the beginning of all home games and collecting donations. “We’re at $500 and counting,” said athletic director Chris McDougal, adding that his teams hope to chip in more after the track meet on Saturday (weather permitting) and the boys basketball home game next week.

Smith added that the WHS cheerleaders have also been helping solicit donations from fans in the stands.

“I’m thrilled that the student body and the high school athletic department have joined to help us. This has been a passion of mine to help out the special Olympics, as well as Rob’s,” Hartman told the Board of Education.

Raniwala gave Hartman two WHS t-shirts and Smith gifted the officers with  water bottles that bore the Wilton Warrior logo. The gesture was especially meaningful to Hartman.

“This was my high school, I graduated WHS back in 1994, so this is really special to me, and it’s really special to take the WHS flag up to the top and plant it at the summit and take a photo.”

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