BREEZY POINT — Most Minnesotans would consider sunny skies with temperatures in the mid-30s a warm, pleasant day for March.

But for a few groups of students from area schools, the day felt much, much colder, as they plunged into icy water during Brainerd’s second annual Cool School Polar Plunge at Breezy Point Resort.

Designed just for school groups, the event splits funds raised between the Special Olympics and participating schools.

This year, that sum equals $32,784 raised by 274 jumpers from schools in Brainerd, Pillager, Crosby-Ironton, Royalton and Staples-Motley. For comparison, Polar Plunge coordinator LeRoy Ailts said last year 208 plungers participated and raised $21,000.

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Staples-Motley students Garrett Carlson and Luke Bates jumped with rubber ducky floaties and, despite the cold, said they felt good for supporting such a great cause.

“I thought I was going to pop my duck,” Bates said after jumping, explaining how cold the water was.

Some of their fellow jumpers said it was the coldest they had ever been in their lives.

The Forestview Middle School Unified Warriors team came in as the top money raisers, with $7,862, exceeding their $7,500 goal.

THERESA BOURKE may be reached at or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at