A school just north of Boston honored a proud alumnus Wednesday, dedicating the baseball diamond to Pete Frates while also retiring his jersey number.
Frates, who became known around the country after starting the “Ice Bucket Challenge” in 2014 following his own ALS diagnosis, received the prestigious honors at a ceremony recognizing him as St. John’s Preparatory School’s 2018 Distinguished Alumnus.
A 2003 graduate of the all-boys school in Danvers, Mass., Frates is the first St. John’s Prep alumnus to have his number retired. The football, hockey and baseball standout went on to star in baseball at Boston College before graduating in 2007. He was the Eagles’ captain his senior year.
In March 2012, Frates was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), an as-yet incurable disease which weakens muscles and impairs physical functioning.
According to the Boston Herald, the Beverly, Mass., native has helped raise more than $220 million for ALS research since the Ice Bucket Challenge went viral in 2014.
“What a tremendous honor that I humbly accept from the school and community I love so much,” said Frates in a statement read by his wife, Julie, per the Herald. “As I read the headmaster’s letter that delivered the good news, the tears started to flow. There is no way I could ever express how unbelievably thankful I am.”
St. John’s Prep headmaster Edward P. Hardiman revealed the trio of honors at Wednesday’s news conference.
“There are so many layers of heroism within Pete’s story,” Hardiman said, per The Daily Item. “He is an amazing role model of resilience, perseverance, inspiration and servant leadership.
“His family is a model of how people come together to support one another,” Hardiman said. “Today is a testament to how much we believe that Pete exemplifies what we want our students to emulate in their own journey.”
His uniform No. 3 will be retired for football, hockey and baseball during a home football game on Oct. 20. The ceremony will also serve as the formal dedication of the baseball field, which will be known as “Pete Frates ’03 Diamond.”