WAYLAND — The Wayland-Cohocton Central students are taking the plunge for a good cause.
The Seventh Annual Vincent House Polar Plunge takes place April 8 behind the Beachcomber at Conesus Lake. Registration begins at 1 p.m., Lil’ Dippers at 1:30 p.m. and regular plunge at 2 p.m. All of the funds raised go to the Vincent House.
For the second time the school is taking part in the plunge. Marsha Campini and Shelby Webster are teachers at Wayland-Cohocton Central who spearhead the National Junior Honor Society. Students from this society as well as the whole school community can do the plunge. Students eight and younger can be part of the Lil’ Dippers.
Three eighth grade members of the National Junior Honor Society and former plungers shared their experiences with Genesee Country Express.
Andrea Wolfanger, Kaitlyn Kimmel, and Kailey Johnson all took the plunge last year, and Kimmel plans on doing it again.
All three of the girls agree that doing the Polar Plunge helps the community.
“We are helping to raise money and let people know about it,” Wolfanger said. “We used to do the Vincent House Walk, but now we are doing this.”
Wolfanger thinks it is really fun, and loves helping her community.
“We do a lot of other things to help the families in the community,” she said.
Kimmel added that she participated in Adopt-A-Family during Christmas time, and this makes sure that the family gets Christmas presents. It has to be a family that the students don’t know in the community.
Kimmel said she thinks the Polar Plunge is a great idea.
“I think it is a great idea. It brings money and the community comes together for a great cause,” she said. “Our goal last year was to raise $1,000 and we raised $5,000.”
Johnson said that if you reach your goal some of the teachers will jump in as well.
It takes over a month to organize and plan this event, and the students all work very hard to make sure it is a fun one. Students can volunteer to do the plunge and raise money for Vincent House.
“It is a very good way to help support the community,” Johnson said.
Vincent House Development and Volunteer Director Mary Jo Jacobs said it is a wonderful thing that these students do this.
“I love the fact that we get to recognize what these kids are doing,” she said. “I love that they are learning how to pay it forward. I think it is great that they learn there are others in need, and they get to reach out and touch their lives.”
There is a huge community support for this.
Jacobs added that a taxi will take people down to Beachcomber. Everyone can park where they can and wait for a taxi to come by.
“We help the Lil’ Dippers too,” Johnson said. “They just dip their feet in the water. They don’t have to go in all the way. For the regular plunge you go in up to your waist and sit down.”
“There are scuba divers in the water just in case,” Kimmel said. “If the docks are up you can jump off, but if not you run into the water.”
Jacobs said the cutest part about it is seeing the Lil’ Dippers learn the chicken dance, and stick their hands or toes in the water.
“The cutest thing to see is the little ones. The National Junior Honor Society teaches the little ones the chicken dance,” she said. “We have them parade down to the edge of the water, and put their little hands or toes in the water.”
Wolfanger said that whoever raises the most money this year is going on a Hot Air Balloon Ride by Liberty Balloons.
Jacobs mentioned that Liberty Balloons offers a free ride every year to the person who raises the most money.
Wolfanger and Johnson are unable to do the plunge this year, because it comes at the start of Spring Break. Many of the community members go to Myrtle Beach for the softball and baseball competitions during that time. Johnson will be spending time with her foreign exchange student from Norway.
Anyone who wishes to donate to the Polar Plunge can do so by writing out a check to Vincent House and bringing it to the Middle School Office. You can say it is for Campini’s class. They can receive donations up until April 7. Registration materials and sponsor sheets are available through www.thevincenthouse.org, call 585-728-2427, or visit Vincent House Facebook page.
The students are doing a radio interview in Hornell on Thursday, March 23.
A bus takes all of the students participating in the Polar Plunge to Beachcomber. Some of the students arrive a couple of hours early to help set up the event.
The chicken and polar bear will be heading to Cohocton Elementary soon to get the small children interested in becoming Lil’ Dippers. Some of the National Junior Honor Society students help with that as well.
Johnson said that when the Vincent House Walk ended the Polar Plunge was a way to bring more people out. She said it is a lot more exciting.
Wolfanger added that T-Shirts will be made and whoever donates in groups will get their names on the shirts depending on how much they donate. The larger donors will get big letters, and the smaller donors will get little letters.
Jacobs said that the Lil’ Dippers will get penguin shirts this year, and the regular plungers will get polar bear shirts. These are for anyone who raises at least $25.
Kimmel said that National Junior Honor Society members are the role models of the whole school.
“I raised about $30 so far, and I need to go around and ask people for donations. I need to ask teachers, family, and my neighbors,” Kimmel said. “I raised $100 in donations last year.”
There will be prizes for Best Individual Costume, Best Team Costume, Most Earned Money by Team, Most Earned Money by Individual 13 and older, and Most Earned Money by Child 12 and under. The Golden Sponsors are Dansville Moose Riders and Canal View Financial Advisors.