September 22, 2020

By CARMEN PONCIANO

Fifteen brave souls braced themselves for the cold during this year’s Polar Plunge on March 5, making it a splashing success once again. Participants were good sports, dressing up in costumes, including as a caveman and Iron Man, all for a good cause.

The Conestoga Students Inc. (CSI) event raised a total of $652 in cash donations for this year’s charity pick, Ray of Hope. The online donations tally is still being determined.

“We try to choose a different charity each year,” said Samantha Schwier, CSI programming co-ordinator. “(Ray of Hope) helps out a lot of youth our age, so it must have hit home for them (the CSI board of directors).”

Ray of Hope was established in 1967 and has since helped troubled men, women and youth by helping them get off the streets and providing them with food, a place to sleep, employment and much more. The money raised will go toward helping Ray of Hope provide over 250 meals, 6,000 food hampers, 12,800 showers and laundry hampers to these men and women in the community.

This year’s Polar Plunge had fewer participants than the previous year.

“Our numbers were a little bit lower this year,” Schwier said. “Overall it doesn’t matter how much money was raised or the attendance as long as everybody had a good time and really enjoyed themselves. That’s what we count on.”

Everyone appeared to have a good time, especially the spectators.

It was a chilly -22 C outside as students and CSI staff gathered around to film and watch the Polar Plunge heroes take the dive into the 1.7 C water. Conestoga Learning Commons staff member Kimm Khagram took the plunge but didn’t want to be the only one facing a challenge. So, he challenged Peer Services to do more tutoring than ever before – 1,200 hours with 400 students, which they surpassed by doing 1,500 hours with 500 students.

Friends of the participants waited on the other side of the pool with a CSI-donated hat and towel which read, “I survived Polar Plunge.” They were escorted inside where warm soup and hot chocolate were available to help them thaw out.

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