By Nance Ebert, Contributing Writer
Southborough – Over 100 students, faculty and town municipality members braved the cold to participate in the second annual 2019 P. Brent Trottier Middle School Polar Plunge Feb. 13 to raise money for Special Olympics.
“This is my first year participating in the Polar Plunge and I am super excited,” noted sixth-grader Maggie Fitzgerald. “I am a little scared for the cold but I’m glad to be supporting such a good cause.”
Parents, teachers and students cheered the participants who dared to jump into the large, inflatable pool filled with cold water. Quickly exiting and wrapping themselves in a towel, plungers made their way inside the building to change back into dry, warm clothing.
Southborough EMTs were on hand if needed. Numerous volunteers, staff, administrators, the Southborough Teachers Association, police and fire departments, Department of Public Works, Southborough Access TV and others, all joined together to make this event a huge success.
“I want to thank you all for being a part of this and for really being the next generation who want to be part of a community that provides inclusion and acceptance for all,” said Special Olympics Representative Steve Hustalen. “One of the first times I got to talk to [Principal Keith] Lavoie about a year ago, he said to me that he saw the Polar Plunge as a joyous celebration of inclusion. I just thought that was a great way to put it. Special Olympics is everybody here and it is everybody that you are doing this for. It’s a mission, not for people with intellectual disabilities but it’s a movement from people with intellectual disabilities and all of you guys are doing it together. Thank you all so much.”
The event surpassed last year’s total, raising $14,200.
“The Castle Program and NECC [New England Center for Children] programs match kids who can’t jump with a student that can,” explained Pam Lunder, sixth-grade ELA/reading teacher. “We try to get everyone involved. Whether it’s helping with the goody bags, partnering with another student or getting their hands wet in a baby pool, everyone has some involvement.”
The top fundraisers this year included Ryan Ledoux, Ben Schanzer, Cooper Newfield, Pam Lunder and Colin Ammon. The top team was Team Coldwell.
Once everyone that registered took the plunge, there were snacks and drinks provided. NECC assembled the goody bags, which were filled with polar bear-themed items such as hand warmers, wristbands, gummy bears and stickers.
“This event is quite significant. It truly brings a sense of camaraderie to the school. Everyone, whether you are an athlete or participate in drama, band, etc., can participate,” said Lunder.
“This annual event embodies all that Trottier is about,” Lavoie noted.