Students take icy dip in the Special Olympics’ Cool School Challenge

Posted at 7:07 PM, Feb 07, 2014
and last updated 2014-02-07 19:07:53-05

Virginia Beach, Va. - More than 400 students from schools across Hampton Roads gathered at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront today, taking part in the Cool School Challenge in support of the Special Olympics.

"I think it's important because it gives people with disabilities a chance to do something amazing," said sixth-grade student Nathan Spires who attends Independence Middle School. He raised more than $1,300 for the Special Olympics, the top fundraiser at his school.

Plaza Middle School, though, raised the most money out of any school at the Cool School Challenge, raising more than $20,000.

"You're doing it for a good cause and you know the money goes somewhere, too, so it's great," said Malia Chissler, seventh-grade student at Plaza Middle School.

All together, students raised more than $93,500 for Special Olympics Virginia.

Students began their day in a heated tent on the Oceanfront, but around noon, they all took an icy plunge into the ocean.  This is one of several pre-plunge events before the annual Polar Plunge Saturday.  The Polar Plunge Winter Festival is the largest fundraiser for Special Olympics Virginia.

"They're doing the same thing in the community everybody else is doing. They just want to be your co-worker, your neighbor, your friend, and that's what Special Olympics is all about," said Rick Jeffrey, president of Special Olympics Virginia.

For more information about the Polar Plunge, click here.


VIDEO: Pre-Polar Plunge at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront

Get ready for Polar Plunge 2014

People Taking Action: Kids from area schools take the plunge for Special Olympics