Annual Polar Plunge is Feb. 17

By: 
Miranda Martin, SHS Intern

It’s that time of year again! The Southern Indiana Special Olympics is hosting its annual Polar Plunge at Deam’s Lake in Borden on Saturday, Feb. 17, at 10 a.m. 

In case you don’t know what the Polar Plunge is, it is where members of the community jump into the freezing cold Deam’s Lake to raise money for Southern Indiana’s Special Olympics.

Salem High School’s very own Arctic Lions, organized by SHS teacher Angela Phipps, will be participating in the fun again this year. Phipps has been doing the Polar Plunge for three years. This year, she has 28 students signed up to participate. Phipps said that her goal is to raise more money than she did last year. 

So far, the team has raised $445 to benefit Special Olympics and they are still taking donations. 

Phipps started volunteering with the group and decided to take on the Polar Plunge to help raise more money for the Special Olympics. 

“I wanted to see students at Salem High School start participating and giving back to the community,” she said, when asked why she decided to form a team. Phipps enjoys working with students and community members to help raise awareness for the SO. She has poured her heart and soul into helping with the organization and would love to see them succeed. 

West Washington also has their own team for the Polar Plunge called the Senators. Michelle DeWitt, Special Olympics coordinator for Washington County, recently had a meeting with the team at WWHS to discuss their Polar Plunge. Lauren Blanche, a high school student and member of the team, helped organize the meeting. She has been participating in the Plunge throughout her high school career and is the team captain. 

On Friday, Feb. 9, the school will introduce the SO athletes during their home basketball game. They will also have a Coke float fundraiser during the game to raise money for their team.

DeWitt said they would love to see Eastern High School put together a team for the Plunge in the future.

She has helped organize all of the Polar Plunge teams for the last three years and said anyone interested in forming a team may contact her at michelle.dewitt@hotmail.com or 812-989-4069 for additional information. 

Dewitt said in the past, people have asked if a frozen lake has caused any issues for the Polar Plunge.

“We have had problems with ice in the past, but we always find a way to break away the ice and still be able to jump into the water!” she laughed. 

DeWitt said this year there will be a secret theme that will not be announced until the day of the event. 

“Even if you can’t participate, you should come out and join the fun!” she said.

The group is hoping to build more enthusiasm for the Polar Plunge and get more community support. 

The other team from Washington County is Washington County Freezers, which has several community members. Last year, that team raised $2,133. They hope to raise even more money than last year. 

The Polar Plunge teams will be accepting donations until Feb. 13. Donations can be made online up until the actual event. 

Participants have a chance to win prizes such as a T-shirt, a beach towel, a backpack, etc. If you would like to raise money and participate but you don’t want to jump into freezing cold water you can be apart of the Virtual Plunge. Even as a Virtual Plunge member you can earn prizes. The only difference is you don’t actually jump into the freezing water!

In order to participate in the Polar Plunge, you must raise at least $75. Students, with a valid ID, have to raise $50. There will also be an After the Splash Bash at Borden High School with food, drinks and door prizes. An auction and silent auction will take place at the bash with all of the money going to the state Special Olympics organization. A variety of awards will be given at the bash, including best costume, most money raised, etc. Anyone can attend the After the Splash Bash for $5. 

Upcoming events for the Washington County SO team include a basketball tournament in Hope. The team will also have a scrimmage during halftime at the boys’ basketball game at Salem High School Feb. 16. 

“They would love for all members of the community to join them and show them some support,” said DeWitt.

If you are interested in becoming a part of the fun and games or would like more information you can go to https://www.firstgiving.com/team/362716 and start by pledging for the Polar Plunge.    

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