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The student news site of Linganore High School

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Lancer Spotlight 02/01/24: Linganore’s Cool School Challenge marks great success

From January 26 – February 1, Linganore High School (LHS) hosted its 12th year of the Cool School Challenge (also known as the Polar Bear Plunge) where students raised money for the Maryland Special Olympics. Their goal was to raise $2,500 for the cause, and these expectations were blown away, raising $4,635 for the plunge. The reward for the cause was a fun experience, where donors from schools across the state would travel to the Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis, MD to “plunge” into the cold waters of the beach. 

More than 40 students and staff from LHS traveled to the Chesapeake Bay to plunge.  This number more than doubled from last year. 

Genesis Maldonado is a senior and a third-year plunger. She noted that past plunge events had very few participants compared to this year’s,

“Last year, we had maybe 18 people and the year before, maybe nine,” said Maldonado.

The growth of participation this year was very significant. Many students heard about the event from posters around the school or friends. 

“I heard of it from a friend and also looking around in the hallway, and I thought it was interesting so [I] signed up for it.” said Mika Panas, a junior and first time plunger.  

There were a multitude of companies that contributed to the cause, such as Wawa, who provided free food to students, like pretzels, turkey and Italian pinwheels and apple slices. Additionally, other food companies like Auntie Anne’s, Pizza Boli’s and Jimmy’s Seafood also had food trucks open for students to purchase from. 

In addition to the plunging experience, the hosts of the plunge offered many other activities, such as giant inflatable animals, an inflatable slide and a giant student party, blasting fun music with bright lights. 

At 11:30 a.m., the officials of the event opened the gates to the beach, where hundreds of students and teachers entered the beachside to get ready to plunge. As people began to prepare for the cold waters, the officials riled up the crowd by playing upbeat music and calling for participating schools by shouting their names as encouragement. 

Around 12 p.m., hundreds of kids and adults rushed into the Bay, as the officials announced the schools were allowed into the freezing waters. People ran into the ocean and immediately came rushing back due to the intense temperatures.

“I feel like it’s like a rush of adrenaline, like once you hit the water, of course, it’s [going to] be cold. But it’s fun,” said Maldonado.

Although the chaos of people running back and forth into the waters and out created havoc, many of the people enjoyed the experience with friends and family.  

Overall, the Cool School Challenge was a very engaging experience, connecting people from different schools around the state to raise money for an amazing purpose. 

Jeremy Brown is a teacher at LHS for the Career and Technology Department, he has also been a volunteer for the Polar Bear Plunge at LHS for many years prior. He says,

“We had good student participation that seemed to have a lot of energy from the students,” said Brown.

 Camden Scarbrough is a senior and a first time plunger. He talks how grateful he is to participate in the Polar Bear Plunge is, and how it helps the Special Olympics,

“[I feel] pride [in] being able to know that I supported the Special Olympics and [it] goes on to help our school and kids that usually don’t get as much funding for their programs,” said Scarbrough. 

The Cool School Challenge raised over $4,500 for Linganore’s unified bocce team to participate in future games and have more equipment for upcoming seasons. Follow Linganore Lancer Athletics on Instagram for more updates.

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