By Nance Ebert, Contributing Writer
Southborough – More than $10,000 was raised for Special Olympics Massachusetts Feb. 15 at P. Brent Trottier Middle School’s first Polar Plunge. Students, faculty, members of the community, police, paramedics and fire department personnel participated by either plunging into the filled pool or cheering on those that braved their quick dip into the cold water.
Jamie Clark, head of the Music Department, led the crowd as the emcee. He thanked those who helped organize the event and went over safety rules for the approximately 80 plungers.
“What started out as an event through Project Unify became a whole school and community event,” noted Pam Lunder, teacher and Project Unify co-chair. “There were many teachers helping and Chief Mauro, Department of Public Works and Karen Galligan, Superintendent of Public Works, assisted with the logistics. We had paramedics, members of the police and fire departments and more on hand. Last year we had one student – Kendall Sommers – interested in this event. I thought we would have maybe 20 interested this year. To generate this kind of excitement and participation is so amazing and it’s all going to such a worthy cause. One hundred percent of the proceeds go to Special Olympics.”
Elizabeth Beloff, an active parent, broached the idea again this year and the wheels started turning. The money raised was through the Project Unify website as well as advertising through the Polar Plunge website. Participants registered and emailed friends and family in hopes of getting donations. Plungers who raised $25 or more were able to plunge. All of the plungers will receive a gift as well as a certificate. Any plunger who raised $100 or more was entered into a raffle for Beats speakers donated by the Southborough Teachers Association.
Kendall Sommers, now in eighth grade, was the first student to jump this year. Students exiting the pool after their plunge raced inside the cafeteria where towels, dry clothing, hot beverages and snacks awaited them. For a February afternoon, the mild temperatures were like a gift.
“This event took on a life of its own from when we first started to discuss having this event here at Trottier to the actual day of the plunge,” Lunder explained. “Being a parent and teacher in this community, it is unbelievable to see the support and camaraderie from everyone. We could not wait for this event and all day, kids were coming up to me. It was great to see everyone come together. This is the nicest feeling I could have.”