2016 Polar Plunge benefits Special Olympics

Two friends frolic into frigid waters in Chicago on March 6.

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Two friends frolic into frigid waters in Chicago on March 6.

Lady Gaga and Al Roker were among the celebrities who took part in the dive into frigid waters in Chicago on March 6, in the annual Polar Plunge fundraiser for the Special Olympics. But just west of Lake Michigan, some of Central’s very own took part in the Polar Plunge at the Oak Brook Bath & Tennis Club on March 5.

The Polar Plunge is a fundraiser that takes place in 21 locations around the Chicagoland area, and raises money for Special Olympics Illinois. Participants simply need to raise more than $100 in donations in order to participate in the dive. Due to this, people raise large sums of money for the cause, and are motivated to jump into icy waters by their donation. The event is sponsored by  Law Enforcement Torch Run and GEICO, who are huge contributors in making it possible.

Central sent five participants to jump in the lake behind the bath and tennis club.

“There were hundreds of people that plunged in the Oak Brook Polar Plunge.  I think next year we can get a huge team together and make it a fun even for the Hinsdale Central Community,” said Ms. Watson, a P.E. teacher who helped organize the participants for this year’s plunge. “The total donation amount has not yet been counted but there are multiple plunges throughout Illinois so I am guessing that there will be a huge number.”

In Chicago, celebrities often make an appearance at the Polar Plunge. In 2014, Jimmy Fallon jumped into Lake Michigan in a suit and tie, while Vince Vaughn jumped in last year. This year’s plunge featured Lady Gaga, her fiancé and actor Taylor Kinney, and Al Roker. All of the celebrities were also huge contributors to the Special Olympics Illinois, since they have such a large following.

This year was a fairly mild Polar Plunge, with temperatures in the 40s and sunny on Sunday. However, the water was nonetheless, freezing. Central ultimately raised $680 for Special Olympics Illinois.

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The 2016 Oak Brook Polar Plunge exceeded expectations in donations.