Students get creative for this year’s modified Penguin Plunge

Published: Mar. 6, 2021 at 9:55 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 8, 2021 at 6:23 AM EST
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WILLISTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Two local school districts came together for their own version of Vermont’s Penguin Plunge, since the original event was cancelled this year.

The Penguin Plunge is a yearly tradition for students in Williston and Hinesburg. Even though they couldn’t actually jump into Lake Champlain this year, they were still able to find a way to get cold for the cause.

“A little different this year because of COVID, but it was still really fun. Pretty chilly, but a lot of fun,” said Erin Fina and Julian Hunt, both sophomores at CVU.

Fina and Hunt were just two of about 75 teachers and students who participated in this year’s modified plunge. Organizers say fire trucks and snow cannons sprayed nearly 9,000 gallons of water to get participants soaking wet for the Special Olympics.

“This year has been tough. It’s been tough to get people to sign up and participate, so to see a school community really come together and embrace the remote plunge and put together a fun safe event... it’s really special,” said Kelsey Conway of Special Olympics Vermont.

Champlain Valley Union High School and Williston schools have raised nearly $18,000 for the Special Olympics. This is the 9th year the schools have been supporting the organization, and one of the teachers says they worked hard to ensure the event could still go on amid COVID.

“What can we do that’s big, that lets kids get together in a safe way, and will support Special Olympics, and is dramatic?” says CVU math teacher Peter Booth.

Williston and Hinesburg fire departments were on hand, spraying water along with Snow cannons from Cochran’s ski area. The teachers say students have been asking about the plunge ever since returning to school because they look forward to it each year.

“It’s just a really fun event, and you’re supporting a cause, and it’s something fun with your friends, so why not,” said Hunt.

For people who still want to take the plunge, there’s plenty of time. You have until March 27 to submit a video on the Special Olympics website. That day, the organization is also hosting a modified, in-person plunge at the Burlington Waterfront, where a limited number of participants can jump into Lake Champlain.

Littleton, New Hampshire Plunge

In New Hampshire, the Littleton Police Department participated in a more traditional plunge for Special Olympics New Hampshire.

The police department says they were able to raise over $2,300 for the cause. Participants jumped into Partridge Lake over the weekend.

The department says they were initially going to live stream the event, but couldn’t because of connection issues, but they instead posted these videos to their Facebook page.

Thank you to everyone who donated and helped make our partridge plunge event for Special Olympics NH a success. With...

Posted by Littleton Police Department on Sunday, March 7, 2021

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