Three Waupaca High School students jumped into frigid water to help raise money for Special Olympics.
Megan Gillis, Maddie Pimpo and Michelle Stiebs were among those who participated in the annual Fox Valley Polar Plunge on Feb. 16, at Menominee Park in Oshkosh.
Each raised $75, and the high school’s student council also contributed toward their effort, resulting in a total of $225 being raised by the three of them.
“I would definitely do it again,” Gillis said.
It was her idea to do the plunge.
“One of my friends did it a couple years ago and last year,” she said. “It was something different we can do for a good cause.”
Gillis asked Stiebs and Pimpo if they would jump into the water with her, and they both agreed to do it.
“It ended up being seven or nine degrees that day,” Stiebs said.
The three young women arrived in Oshkosh in the morning and took the plunge around 1:30 p.m.
“I jumped in,” Stiebs said, “and my head went right under. We thought it would be neck deep for us.”
Gillis said there was plenty of encouragement from organizers of the event, and Stiebs said paramedics were on hand in case there were any problems.
“It was very safe,” Gillis said.
Immediately after their plunge, the three of them headed into a hot tub and then into a heated tent to change into dry clothes before returning to Waupaca.
The three students said they are happy to help those who have special needs.
One of Gillis’ cousins has Down’s Syndrome and plays baseball in the Special Olympics.
Pimpo often sees special needs students at school.
“They’re always so nice,” she said.
Pimpo, too, said she would participate in the Polar Plunge again.
“I thought it was really fun. It was really cold, but that was part of it,” she said. “Once you were in the water, it was over, and it was too cold for you to realize what was happening.”
The three of them are already thinking about next year’s plunge.
They plan to recruit more people, saying larger groups draw more attention and also raise more money for Special Olympics.