TRUST club plans polar plunge, raises money for Special Olympics

Lauren Guinee, Business Editor and Copy Editor

The TRUST club hosted the Polar Plunge at the high school on March 28. The event came via a portable water tank for volunteers to plunge into. Stillwater students and community members were invited to take the plunge. This event is set up to raise awareness and money for Minnesota Special Olympics.

In the past, the Polar Plunge has taken place at a lake. This is the first year that the event took place on campus, instead of being a field trip event. Since this change was made, the planning process looked much different than in years past.

“It’s [the planning] huge. Mostly because it’s here and we’ve never done it here before. Every polar plunge event, it’s been at a lake and they had a field trip,” Paula Harrison, TRUST club advisor, said. “This one is a bigger deal because we had to get district approval and meet with the leadership team and special Olympics to figure out the logistics.”

The goal of this event was to raise awareness for the special education population at our school. The TRUST club always works to further inclusion in the school and find ways to incorporate those students into the general education student body.

“To spread the word about inclusion in our school more, I think that we want more whole-school engagement,” senior Audrey Coleman said. “By bringing it here, we’re hoping to have a lot more people participate.”

To participate in the event, each jumper had to fundraise a minimum of $50. This money will be used to support Minnesota Special Olympics. Special Olympics is a program that began just over 50 years ago to support the special education community.

They support athletes. They provide glasses for someone with special needs who needs glasses. They do all of these amazing things for people with disabilities who need support and funding.”

— Paula Harrison

“They support athletes. They provide glasses for someone with special needs who needs glasses. They do all of these amazing things for people with disabilities who need support and funding,” Harrison said.

The special education department, combined with the TRUST club, has made a very welcoming environment for all. The TRUST club has set up events and activities to keep the special ed students engaged in the school community.

Senior Ella Hamilton enjoys TRUST club because it “brings friendships together that otherwise wouldn’t have been brought together.”

Throughout COVID, the special education program was severely affected. The students were not receiving the same social interaction that they were previously getting in school. Special Olympics had to cancel the activities for these students, so they were not able to compete in previous events. Being back in school has greatly benefitted this program.

Since the meetings were only held over zoom for the entirety of the last year, the students were grateful to be in person again. The program has grown substantially throughout the year and the students have been able to get the peer interaction that they were missing before, Hamilton said.

The tank will be set up outside of the school’s Pony Activity Center for registered jumpers to take the plunge. Community members are welcome to come out to support the event and are encouraged to donate toward the cause.