- Student Life
By Devin Rotz ’25
On Thursday, February 1, several Mercersburg Academy students joined more than 7,800 participants from around the region to participate in the 2024 Cool Schools Plunge, a polar plunge in the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland to help support Special Olympics Maryland (SOMD).
In prior years, Mercersburg has hosted the SO Glow fundraiser on campus in partnership with SOMD. SO Glow was a fundraising competition for performance group activities where each group would participate in a fun run at night around the Academy campus with glow sticks. The polar plunge is a different opportunity to engage with SOMD.
“Jeff Abel, from SOMD, suggested I consider bringing students to the Polar Plunge. We wanted to keep our connection but shift away from the SO Glow run to see if we could find another way to engage with SOMD,” said Emily Parsons, director of community engagement and a member of the history faculty who holds the Marilyn and Robert M. Kurtz Jr. ’52 Chair for American Studies.
The Polar Plunge, similar to SO Glow, is a monetary campaign for SOMD and is hosted in Maryland by SOMD. Before plunging, Mercersburg students successfully surpassed a fundraising goal of $5,000 by raising $5,641 to contribute to the SOMD’s campaign.
After successfully surpassing the goal, students plunged into the Chesapeake Bay at Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis, MD. The students indulged in the opportunity to jump in below-40-degree waters.
Brendan Daly, science faculty, enjoyed watching the students experience the plunge: “I also loved seeing our students emerge from the 39-degree Fahrenheit water screaming and laughing only to turn around and run back in after regrouping on the beach!”
The polar plunge is for a cause, but it is also fun, said Gigi Devlin ’24, “My favorite moment was going in for a second plunge right after plunging the first time. I didn’t think I would do it twice, so that was super fun!”