Freezin’ For A Reason

Faculty, students take Polar Plunge for Special Olympics

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Angel Quevy

Rider's group for the 2015 Polar Plunge leaps into the pool at the Holiday Inn with temperatures reaching down into the 40s. Participants (from left to right) include Mr. Nielsen, Coach Bobbitt, Karla Alvarado, Karla Gonzalez, Coach Francis, and Mrs. Wood. "Get to the end as fast as you can," Mrs. Wood told herself as she jumped into the freezing waters." The plunge serves a good purpose," Wood said. "It shows just what people are willing to do to raise money and help others."

The freezing water sends a sharp shock down the spine as the body is propelled into the water. Animalistic instincts force the body to swim as quickly as possible towards its exit from this icy escapade. As Elsa (from Frozen) and a teacher dressed as a football player exit the pool they hurriedly seek shelter and warmth in the form of a hot tub, rapidly returning the heat to their bodies. The next group lines up to take the “Polar Plunge.”

“(The Special Olympics) is a great cause and a great event that allows children with a certain handicap to compete and feel the spirit of competition,” baseball coach Josh Bobbitt said.

The Polar Plunge is a nationwide event that was set up to raise money for charitable organizations. Wichita Falls raises the money for the Special Olympics. The event occurs in this fashion: Money is collected for various faculty on the campus, the top three who did not raise enough money to get out of jumping are calculated, and then they, and any student participants, jump into cold waters. It is a simple and effective way to raise money and is supported by the staff.

“I don’t know if it’s for their love or hate for me, but I am glad it’s for a good cause,” English teacher Falesha Wood said.

The English department, notably department head Sandra Scheller, began raising money for Wood so that she would have to jump. Scheller used trickery to go into Wood’s classes and begin the fundraising. Students such as sophomores Luke Ward and Clayton Martin-Miller even donated $20 each. Soon after Scheller’s campaign Wood was winning by $100.

But that was before another teacher started a campaign of her own.

Softball coach Alisha Crouch began raising money for baseball coach Josh Bobbitt. She even sent her students out to hunt for donations. She started raising money because Coach Francis promised the Softball girls Oreo cupcakes if Bobbitt made it to the top three, and she wanted a cupcake.

Her students told classes Coach Bobbitt made her husband work on Valentine’s Day, and that was all it took to move him into the lead in donations.

Bobbitt has made the plunge 5 years now. He is prepared to jump every year because he knows the donations will bring him in, but he does it for the cause.

Bobbitt supports the Special Olympics and those that can participate.

“I can’t think of a better cause than the Special Olympics to freeze,” Bobbitt said. Bobbitt would only do the plunge for a worthy cause, and the Special Olympics is most definitely one of them.
“The Polar Plunge exposes the importance of the Special Olympics,” Wood said.

Wood dived into the waters in a football jersey because her only other option was a hot dog suit, whilst Bobbitt dived as Elsa from Frozen, a costume which student council sponsor Sally Mroczkowski helped him with. Student council runs the Plunge donations at Rider.

According to Wood, “The water wasn’t that bad, waiting was.”

They had to wait in line for a long time before they even lined up to jump. Then, after the announcer called them up, the teachers lined up and had to repeat the Polar Plunge Pledge. Afterwards they jumped into the water and, after getting out of the pool, the hot tub.

“I think it’s a fun way to raise a lot of money for a good cause,” Crouch said.