Freezin’ for a Reason

Norwin students attend the ‘Cool Schools’ annual Pittsburgh Polar Plunge.

Norwin Peer Mentor & Buddy club poses with banner at annual Pittsburgh Polar Plunge.

After a year of its absence, the annual Polar Plunge is back in session! On Feb. 25, Norwin High School teachers and volunteer students participated in the Polar Plunge to raise awareness for the Special Olympics (SOPA). 

Matthew and Jacob Bosley join hands as they jump in the frigid waters for the Polar Plunge. (Abigail Knouse, yearbook)

Last year participants were unable to attend the “Cool Schools” Pittsburgh Polar Plunge, due to COVID-19 restrictions. The outcome last year to participate was doing the Virtual Polar Pop. This event consisted of filming yourself popping a frigid water balloon over your head all while safely social distancing. 

This year the Pittsburgh Polar Plunge took place at Heinz Field. The Plunge consisted a series of events to raise funds and awareness. Plungers participating in this event commit to jumping in the “Freezin” water. The funds that are raised will support almost 16,000 athletes that take part in the Special Olympics activities covering the state of Pennsylvania. At Norwin High School the person who raised the most money is Eli Passarelli with a total of $701 raised!

The Polar Plunge recognizes the importance of this movement of “Freezin for a Reason.” Its importance also stands out to students for participating for kids with and without disabilities.

I chose to participate in the Polar Plunge to help others complete the challenge of plunging into the frigid water, and to be a part of a good cause

— Jacob Bosley, freshmen in Peer Buddy Club

“Special Olympics works hard to foster the Inclusion revolution, where people with and without disabilities live equality and with mutual respect,” said Mrs. Alyssa Rittenhouse, Unified Bocce coach and occupational therapist at Norwin.

The Pittsburgh Polar Plunge is a time-honored event with a history of over 50 years, including 12 years at Heinz Field. Norwin High School has been participating in the Pittsburgh Polar Plunge “Cool Schools” since 2017! Cool Schools plunge day is where all local high schools active in the Special Olympics Unified school programs go to Heinz Field to participate in fun activities together along with plunging. The events that take place at Heinz Field are not only just the plunging but include a DJ/dance party, photo booth, yard games and carnival games, tricycles along with a provided lunch! 

Members this year of the Peer Mentor and Buddy Club traveled to Heinz Field to plunge and raise awareness and funds, as well as getting to know all sorts of new people. 

“I enjoyed getting to be a part of a greater cause,” said Emily Davis, a member of the Peer Mentor and Buddy Club. “All the money collected went to a fundraiser. My favorite thing about the Polar Plunge was the people I met. I loved getting to know everyone. I’ve always wanted to do the plunge in years past. I had just never gotten a chance. But now I was given the opportunity to do so, and I wanted to take it.” 

Kinsey Momeyer poses with Peer Buddies Olivia Harshman, Alexis Speranzo, Kayla Cessna, and Zaria Moffatt in her gorilla suit for the animated costume theme.

Participants this year dressed up in a variety of animated outfits. Outfits included school gear, Hawaiian themed clothing, and even a gorilla suit! They were filled with excitement as they were able to experience an impacting event of friendship and opportunities. 

“I chose to participate in the Polar Plunge to help others complete the challenge of plunging into the frigid water, and to be a part of a good cause,” said Jacob Bosley, also a member of the Peer Mentor and Buddy club. 

The events of the Polar Plunge inspire others to realize the importance of this movement, whether you’re plunging or not. If you choose to participate in the Polar Plunge you will not regret experiencing this eye opening adventure.