The Black & White

Best Buddies plunges into Chesapeake Bay, supports Special Olympics Maryland

Students+rush+out+of+the+water+at+the+Polar+Bear+Plunge.+Many+students+in+Whitman%27s+Best+Buddies+club+participate+in+the+Plunge+annually.+Photo+by+Bella+Young.+
Students rush out of the water at the Polar Bear Plunge. Many students in Whitman's Best Buddies club participate in the Plunge annually. Photo by Bella Young.

Students rush out of the water at the Polar Bear Plunge. Many students in Whitman's Best Buddies club participate in the Plunge annually. Photo by Bella Young.

Students rush out of the water at the Polar Bear Plunge. Many students in Whitman's Best Buddies club participate in the Plunge annually. Photo by Bella Young.

By Jessie Solomon

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






It was a frigid day. Double-digit mph winds whipped across the Chesapeake Bay, chilling the already below-freezing water. It was the perfect day for a swim.

The Cool Schools Challenge hosted its 22nd annual Polar Bear Plunge at Sandy Point State Park Jan. 25 to support Special Olympics Maryland. The plunge drew participants from schools across the state, including members of Whitman’s Best Buddies club.

Senior Lily Tender jumps in the freezing cold water. The Polar Bear Plunge raises money each year for Special Olympics Maryland. Photo by Bella Young.

The “Viking Plungers” team consisted of 46 students and teachers, with sophomore Maddie Menkes serving as head organizer.

“Special Olympics Maryland touches home for us,” Menkes said. “We want to advocate and make it clear that having a disability doesn’t stop you from doing activities and having special skills.”

Participation this year surpassed all expectations from previous years, a surge reflected in the funds raised. By Jan. 26, the Cool Schools Challenge raised $368,966, which exceeded their goal of $300,000. This money will financially support the 7,459 Special Olympics Maryland athletes, Menkes said.

Whitman is a major supporter of the fundraiser and has been participating in the event for several years, Best Buddies teacher sponsor Veronica Garner said.

“One of our objectives in Best Buddies is to make sure that our peer buddies and their buddy have the chance to have various events and activities that they can participate in,” Garner said.

For the past two years, sophomores Becky Barsky and Madeline Wenger have participated in the Plunge.

“As soon as I left the Plunge last year, I knew I’d want to go again because it’s really exciting and unique,” Wenger said. “It represents a really important cause that is pretty prevalent in my life.”

Many of the buddies also supported their peer buddies as they took the plunge, making the event an amazing and unforgettable experience, Barsky said.

“It’s fun to go in the middle of winter time and run into the icy cold water,” Garner said. “What’s more thrilling than that?”

About the Writer
Leave a Comment

In order to make the Black & White online a safe and secure public forum for members of the community to express their opinions, we read all comments before publishing them. No comments with obscenities, personal attacks, advertisements, nonsense, defamatory or derogatory rhetoric, libel or slander will be published. Comments are meant to spur discussion about the content and/or topic of an article. Please use your real name when commenting.

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.