The Polar Bear Plunge, what it does for Oakdale

Antonio Garcia and Shannon Roth

For 6 years, Oakdale has been participating in its very own Polar Plunge. The Polar ‘Bear’ Plunge is an event held during the winter by Maryland Special Olympics where participants go out to the Chesapeake Bay in their swimwear and jump into the freezing water. The field trip is on January 23rd and the school provides bus transportation. The event has been taken over by Mrs. Shelley Orzechowski, Coach Kurt Stein, and Coach Mitch Rubin after Mrs. Greta Harrison left a few months ago. 

 

The Polar Plunge fundraiser’s goal is to raise money to contribute to the Special Olympics. 75 dollars is the amount every member of the Polar Plunge Club needs to raise to be able to plunge, and all the proceeds become a donation to Special Olympics Maryland. According to Coach Stein, after the money is donated to Special Olympics, that money is seen back in the Oakdale community through our programs such as our Unified sports teams. 

 

The Polar Bear Plunge is a valuable opportunity to extend student classroom studies and increase our schools overall knowledge of anti-bullying awareness. The main goal, however, is to aid and demonstrate support for Special Olympics. It has been noted as a positive experience for people of all ages and roles at Oakdale; in addition, it is for a good cause.

 

“The actual act of plunging is more symbolic, just an event to raise money for Special Olympics and that is really what we are trying to do,” as explained by Coach Stein, one of the most involved teachers in the program. 

 

The Polar Bear Plunge is a fun activity for students; however, teachers are also participating in the event. “The kids get more excited about the teachers going in the water and seeing them down there,” claimed Mrs. Orzechowski. An event that incorporates everyone, students and teachers alike, is something that in itself brings excitement to the event.

 

Originally, the event began with about 10 to 15 students and has evolved tremendously over the years. Now, there are well over 150 students participating and more teachers. When asked, Mrs. O exclaims that “For pure size it has grown a lot.” Every year, more and more people are hearing about it and signing up; this is the biggest year so far in Oakdale history, hopefully come next year the numbers will be even greater.