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Cool School Polar Plunge brings in money for BHS, Special Olympics

Students at Forestview Middle School, Crosby-Ironton, Pillager and Staples-Motley also have Cool School Polar Plunges scheduled.

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Just inches off the surface of the water, Brainerd Public Schools Assistant Superintendent Heidi Hahn takes the plunge with High School Principal Andrea Rusk cheering in the background Monday, March 22, 2021, at the Brainerd High School Cool School Polar Plunge in the school parking lot. Plungers raise money for their school and Special Olympics Minnesota. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

Sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-50s met the brave souls who plunged into chilly water Monday, March 22, at the Brainerd High School Cool School Polar Plunge.

The Special Olympics Minnesota Plungester, a mobile plunge pool, made its way to the school, where 136 students and staff members braved the cold water. Participants donned brightly colored capes, superhero masks, knee socks and plenty of Warrior spirit gear. Those lined up behind the Plungester waiting for their turn to jump enjoyed the pump-up music while trying to avoid the splash of frigid water as their peers before them took the plunge.

Jumpers raised $21,607, a portion of which will go to the Special Olympics, while some will come back to the high school and its Unified Warriors group as well as any other sports teams or clubs that participated.

Unified Warriors consists of students with and without intellectual disabilities who come together each year for activities like sports, games and crafting.

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The Cool School Polar Plunge has happened at Breezy Point Resort the last two years with various area schools participating, but this is the first time the plunge has come to the schools. Last year’s five school participants raised a total of $38,000. Brainerd High School surpassed $21,000 by itself Monday, and Forestview Middle School — which is scheduled to take the plunge Tuesday, March 23 — raised over $11,000 as of Monday afternoon. Plunge coordinator Leroy Ailts said those figures are great to see.

What’s also cool to see — besides the chilled plungers — is that five of the eight Cool School plunges statewide are in the Brainerd lakes area.

Crosby-Ironton students and staff will take the plunge Thursday while Pillager and Staples-Motley will follow on April 19 and 20, respectively.

For more information on the Cool School Polar Plunge, or to donate to a specific school, visit plungemn.org/cool-school .

Theresa Bourke started working at the Dispatch in July 2018, covering Brainerd city government and area education, including Brainerd Public Schools and Central Lakes College.
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