Volunteers partake in icy water challenge

On Feb. 23, 17 students participated in the Fox Lake Law Enforcement Torch Run Polar Plunge for Special Olympics through their sociology and political thought classes.

The money raised during the event is donated to the Special Olympics, an organization that provides athletic training for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. This is Stevenson’s fourth time participating in the event, sociology teacher Chris Salituro said.

“It’s very festive, with music, people in costumes and a big buffet of food for the jumpers,” Salituro said.

Traditionally, the plungers jump into the freezing water of Fox Lake. However, because of the cold temperatures for the past two years, the plungers have jumped into small swimming pools filled with the lake water for safety reasons.

Shelley Frankel ’15 participated through her sociology class, and she said there were two parts of the whole experience that were her favorite.

“The actual jumping in was a huge shock, with everyone around cheering,” Frankel said. “But also, when we were waiting in the tent before jumping, there were some of the Special Olympic participants talking to us and telling us how much they appreciated what we were doing, and it was great to see how we could make an impact.”

The girls’ water polo team also participated in the service event. Because many of the girls had to complete their volunteer hour requirements, they decided to turn it into a team bonding experience, Erin Kempers ’15 said.

Through both political thought and sociology, students can also volunteer at the Special Olympics Bocce Ball event, which takes place on April 19. These classes offer community service events because both require a specific amount of community service hours in their syllabus.

Political thought encourages its students to think for themselves. Volunteering can help its participants learn about their community and see how others live, Kempers said.

“Volunteering is such a big part of my life, I love to see how I can make people feel after my volunteer work,” Frankel said. “I would really recommend the experience, the cold was the least of it. It’s a great thing to take part in.”