It’s Time to Take the Plunge
Nicole Bagala ‘20
It’s time to take the plunge! Imagine jumping into the ocean in the middle of the Polar Vortex. It’s probably not a number one activity to do during cold weather. But on Saturday, April 6, the Fairfield Police Department and Fairfield University will be hosting the Penguin Plunge at Jennings Beach, in Fairfield, Conn.
According to a press release from Special Olympics Connecticut, the Penguin Plunge is an annual fundraising event where brave, warm-hearted people run into freezing water to raise money and awareness to support Special Olympics in Connecticut.
The Penguin Plunge has many teams engaging in the event and one of them is the BHS Unified Sports team.
Mark Ferrandino, a coach for the BHS Unified Sports team, said he heard about the event through the Special Olympics and the Unified Sports Leadership summit. Ferrandino, along with his fellow coaches, Guidance Counselor Megan Mason and the College and Career Coordinator Danielle Conley discussed partaking in the Penguin Plunge last year but they were ultimately unable to. This year, though, they wanted to be sure BHS’ Unified Sports team could take part in the plunge.
“The plunge sounded like an excellent way to raise money for both the Special Olympics and our Unified program,” said Ferrandino. “The event is also a great chance to participate in a team building event to help our team bond and socialize.”
The three coaches are promoting the Penguin Plunge through a bake sale to be held during parent-teacher conferences in March, announcements on social media and emails to BHS faculty/staff. But it’s not just important to the Unified Sports coaches.
It’s also important to Special Olympics Connecticut. The money donated to the Penguin Plunge benefits over 14,000 athletes and partners of the Special Olympics and is one of the largest fundraising efforts for the SOCT.
“Some of our athletes have participated in the Connecticut Special Olympics as well, so this is a way to give back to the larger organization,” Mason explained. “It is also a way to spread the word about the Special Olympics within our community.”
To participate, individuals need to register on the SOCT’s website for the Fairfield Plunge and make a minimum donation of $100 each.
Those who register need to be at Jennings Beach at 9 a.m. on April 6. Those who do not want to plummet into the water can support the BHS Unified Sports team by coming to the event at 11 a.m. to watch and cheer them on.
“I really enjoy working with all the Unified Sports students and seeing the growing relationships between the athletes and partners,” Conley said. “Participating in the Penguin Plunge allows us to raise money to help those in the Special Olympics and in Unified Sports.”