Freezin’ for a reason

Football, Unified Fit Club hold Polar Plunge fundraiser


Anna Velazquez

After being dunked, junior Milly Bartolo smiles at her friend as she gets ready to throw the ball.

The football team and Unified Fit Club hosted a dunk tank fundraiser, Polar Plunge, on Wednesday, March 4 during lunch to raise money for Special Olympics and bring awareness for people with disabilities. The event was originally going to be held on the Max Goldsmith Stadium field but due to gloomy weather, it was relocated to under the stadium bleachers.

After signing up, students and faculty were given a bag where they would put all the donations received. Once each participant reached the $25 minimum to be dunked, they continued accepting donations.  

“I absolutely loved this fundraiser and I got so much support from all of my friends,” junior Mia Manelli said. “I was really able to open my bag and explain to them I was doing this fundraiser for Special Olympics and they were all so ready to give me donations.”

This is the school’s second year doing the Polar Plunge fundraiser, but it was the first time Unified Fit Club hosted the event. Compared to last year, the number of participants doubled, with a total of 16 students and two faculty members taking the plunge into icy water this year.

“[I did it] for our students and their representation,” senior Katherine Gonzales said. “It’s my second year doing it and even if it was freezing, I would do it over and over again for our students.”

Manelli signed up to participate in the Polar Plunge as soon as she heard about the event. Having found out a week before, students and faculty had a limited amount of time to receive donations.

“I think we can really make this a whole school activity,” Manelli said. “I wish it had been a little more advertised for maybe a week or two in advance so we could have more people come out, but that’s just something we can improve on for next year.”

Raising over $700 in donations, the Unified Fit Club is ecstatic about the outcome. With three Special Olympics events coming up, the athletes appreciate the support as they prepare to compete in their designated events.

“Everyone that plunged made a donation, made the plunge and made a pledge to promote inclusion,” Unified Fit Club sponsor Bailey Fry said. “We were grateful for any amount [donated] to Special Olympics.”

Despite the cold weather, various students huddled around the tank to watch the students and faculty get dunked. Fry valued the donations and the students who were there to support inclusion not only in sports, but within the school setting.

“It’s important for anyone to find a way to give back to the community in a way that makes them feel good,” Fry said. “Our donation to Special Olympics helps fund the Unified Champion Schools fund, which will help our Unified program thrive in the future, as well as create new Unified programs in our area.”