The Student News Site of Appalachian State University

The Appalachian

The Student News Site of Appalachian State University

The Appalachian

The Student News Site of Appalachian State University

The Appalachian

Newsletter Signup

Get our news delivered straight to your inbox every week.

* indicates required

Students plunge into Duck Pond for Special Olympics

Students+plunge+into+Duck+Pond+for+Special+Olympics

Light snow fell over shivering students as they huddled around Duck Pond in swim trunks, penguin suits and fairy wings for the 17th annual Polar Plunge at Appalachian State University on Thursday afternoon.

The plunge, which raised a total of $7,310, is the sole fundraising effort of the Watauga County’s Special Olympics program. It provides all the funding needed to support the athletes for an entire year. Corporate sponsors from around the community contributed $3,850 of the total amount.

From 3 to 4 p.m., a DJ from WASU-FM played music from the Duck Pond gazebo and encouraged passersby to register for the jump. A sign next to the specially-installed jumping platform read, “WATER TEMP. 34°.”

Freshman Markie Nickens, who happened upon the Plunge on her way to the Quinn Recreation Center, said she was perplexed by the commotion.

“It was snowy and cold, so at first I wondered why so many people were jumping into the pond,” Nickens said.

According to figures collected by Keron Poteat, Special Olympics Coordinator for Watauga County Parks and Recreation, a total of 162 people plunged into Duck Pond – an increase from 120 participants in 2014.DSC_0620

The top fundraising group was Appalachian’s Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, who handed Poteat an oversized check for $1,726 at the event. Contributions from plungers combined for $1,734 of the total funds raised.

Lawson Huggins, who dove into Duck Pond dressed as a penguin, won the male Most Extreme Costume prize while Gabby Khoury’s angel outfit garnered her the title of Most Extreme Costume for females.

“The costumes were out of this world,” said freshman market major and plunger Derek Hamilton. “I actually saw someone dressed up as an alien.”

Hamilton said he plans to put together a more elaborate costume for next year’s Plunge in order to better compete with the plungers who came to Duck Pond dressed in togas, Hawaiian shirts, overalls, bandana headbands and other peculiar articles of clothing.

A group from Appalachian’s swim team participated in their Speedos, caps and goggles, while a shirtless student from Phi Gamma Delta jumped into the pond with his fraternity’s flag flying on a long PVC pole. Appalachian’s Young Life was also in attendance, as were members of various other clubs and organizations on-campus.

For students like freshman criminal justice major Casey McKaskel, knowing that the Polar Plunge benefits such a heartwarming cause is enough to make them brave the frigid water.

“I’ve got personal ties to the Special Olympics, so I’m out here supporting them,” McKaskel said.

STORY: Luke Weir, Intern News Reporter

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Appalachian
$1500
$5000
Contributed
Our Goal

We hope you appreciate this article! Before you move on, our student staff wanted to ask if you would consider supporting The Appalachian's award-winning journalism. We are celebrating our 90th anniversary of The Appalachian in 2024!

We receive funding from the university, which helps us to compensate our students for the work they do for The Appalachian. However, the bulk of our operational expenses — from printing and website hosting to training and entering our work into competitions — is dependent upon advertising revenue and donations. We cannot exist without the financial and educational support of our fellow departments on campus, our local and regional businesses, and donations of money and time from alumni, parents, subscribers and friends.

Our journalism is produced to serve the public interest, both on campus and within the community. From anywhere in the world, readers can access our paywall-free journalism, through our website, through our email newsletter, and through our social media channels. Our supporters help to keep us editorially independent, user-friendly, and accessible to everyone.

If you can, please consider supporting us with a financial gift from $10. We appreciate your consideration and support of student journalism at Appalachian State University. If you prefer to make a tax-deductible donation, or if you would prefer to make a recurring monthly gift, please give to The Appalachian Student News Fund through the university here: https://securelb.imodules.com/s/1727/cg20/form.aspx?sid=1727&gid=2&pgid=392&cid=1011&dids=418.15&bledit=1&sort=1.

Donate to The Appalachian
$1500
$5000
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Appalachian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *