From the brave middle aged man wearing a speedo to the bold high schooler in the blue onesie, all feel the same arctic chill when they dive into the icy blue waters of Scales Lake for the annual Special Olympics Indiana Boonville Polar Plunge.

New this year was the inaugural High School Polar Plunge, which included Boonville and Tecumseh High School students submerging themselves in the cold on the morning of Friday, Jan. 31. to help raise money for Special Olympics Indiana athletes, with the normal plunge still taking place on Saturday, Feb. 1.

Regional Manager South for Special Olympics Indiana Francie Smith said they actually had the first High School Polar Plunge last year and that it was so successful, they wanted to try it out in Boonville as well.

“We tried it last year at Eagle Creek, which is our home base in Indianapolis, and we have our biggest Plunge there,” she said. “It’s a great addition to the Plunge.”

The idea for the high school plunge also came from their Champions Together program, which involves educating high school students on Special Olympics Indiana mission.

“This is one of those, ‘Just add water type of things,’ ” Smith said. “They support this fundraiser by raising $75 and jumping into cold water.”

To spice things up for the students, Special Olympics Indiana employed a comedian who hosted a few spirit contests, including a donut eating competition.

“We’re saying, ‘Come out and freeze and we’re going to pump up your spirits,’ ” Smith said. “We’re asking kids to stand out on a cold beach with us for a couple of hours, so let’s make it fun.”

The kids made the most of it, with Tecumseh students taking home the biggest awards, including Largest High School Team and Most Money Raised By A High School Team with over $11,000.

THS senior Erin Horne was a first time participant at the Polar Plunge and could not have been prouder of her school.

“I’ve always wanted to try this and know what it feels like,” she said. “And it means so much that we’re able to help all of these kids.”

While BHS junior Devin Mockobee enjoyed laughing with his other friends on the BHS Athletic Council who dipped in the freezing lake with him.

“I can’t feel my feet,” he said, still shivering after the Plunge. “But it was so worth it to know we’re making a difference.”

Marisa Patwa is a graduate of the University of Evansville with a degree in journalism and minor in political science.

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