Brave SHS Students Take an Olympian Plunge with the Penguins

February 6, 2015

by Bob Gibbs

On a very cold and windy day with the wind chill factor close to minus 30 degrees a group of dedicated students from Salem High School took a dip in the 40-degree ocean at Hampton Beach.

At the Seventh Annual High School Plunge, students from more than 40 southern New Hampshire schools kept their pledge to go in the water on this coldest of days.  Nearly 600 brave souls braved the record cold day for the plunge that raised $190,000 for the Special Olympics in New Hampshire.

Plungers must raise $175 to participate in the High School Plunge.  The theme for this year’s plunge was superheroes.

The team from Salem High School raised over $8,000.  “Flock Leader” Mikayla Ramsdell individually raised $5,305 for the Special Olympians.  Mikayla is the first four-year participant from Salem High School.

The SHS team won first place in the costume parade.  This was the school’s fourth year participating in the plunge.  The SHS team is growing each year.

“I had a great time with the plunge this year as ‘Flock Leader’ and I’m confident in passing on my role to Bria Garabedian, Brianna Wood, and Olivia Foster for next year’s plunge,” said Mikayla.  “My goal this year was to stretch the Penguin Plunge further into Salem High School this year and to not only get more people involved, but to get more people aware of the Special Olympics of New Hampshire, and I think we accomplished that as a team.

“We hung up banners in school and had a day where we promoted the line ‘Spread the word to end the word’ (which is a saying that the Special Olympics uses to help end the r-word [retarded]) by handing out bracelets during school with that line on it.  I am so proud of my flock, they really worked together and it definitely showed in the skit that we performed on stage at the plunge.

“This year’s plunge was by far the coldest plunge I have ever done, and I cannot even explain how cold it was to get out of the water into the piercing wind.  It was brutal.  But it was for a great cause, and I’m glad to be able to say that I was able to plunge into the water in midwinter.  I’d like to give a huge thank you to all of my donators, and to anyone else that donated to the other plungers on my team.  We could not have done it without you!”

Plunger Kaitlyn Wilson agreed with veteran teammate Mikayla.  “It was a great experience, and I am so glad I got to be a part of it.”