By Angelo Parlove
Students from Saline High School rose to the occasion for the Special Olympics’ largest fundraiser – the Polar Plunge.
In a competition against other area high schools, “Team Saline” raised more than $19,000 for the Polar Plunge 2017 in February, topping all other schools. “We were so excited and very proud of them for doing that,” said Jackie Flores, co-director at Washtenaw County Special Olympics.
At the school board meeting on April 11, Washtenaw County Special Olympics presented Saline High School students with the traveling trophy for being the “University of Michigan Polar Plunge School Challenge Top Team.”
“This year we kind of did a team competition amongst the high schools, and we put it out there that whichever high school could raise the most money for Special Olympics would get the traveling trophy, and of course Saline did the job,” Flores said.
The Washtenaw County Polar Plunge 2017 was held at the Big House at the University of Michigan on Feb. 24, raising more than $112,000 overall for Special Olympics Michigan. Participants at the event walked through the tunnel at the stadium and took a plunge inside a pool on the field.
Saline students, school staff and community members rallied to raise a total of $19,829 for the event. “It was just an awesome, tremendous effort on Saline’s part,” Flores said.
Saline High School students Cali Harden and Cade Hine served on the Washtenaw County Polar Plunge committee this year, leading the efforts to raise the funds in the Saline community. “They came to all our meetings, were there offering ideas and took it back to the school and engaged the student body to participate in the Polar Plunge,” Flores said. “We are very proud of their efforts, and everything they did.”
Overall, Michigan held 25 Polar Plunges across the state in 2017. The events raise money for nearly 23,000 athletes who participate in Special Olympics Michigan.