Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Taking the plunge

25th Annual Whitewater Polar Plunge
Ky McCombe
WTMJ New Anchor ,board member of the Special Olympics, and MC of the Polar Plunge Julia Fello emerges from the water smiling with her hands spread wide at the Whitewater Aquatic & Fitness Center Saturday afternoon March 9, 2024.

Volunteers gathered at the Whitewater Aquatic Center to take a leap of faith into the water Saturday, March 9, raising money and spreading awareness for the Special Olympics in the 25th annual Polar Plunge. The overall turnout was a success with people lined up to jump into the pool and others cheering from a crowd. 

UW-Whitewater fraternity Sigma Tau Gamma managed to raise over $2,500 in funds specifically for the Polar Plunge event to help support the Special Olympics. Sigma Tau Gamma started its partnership with the Special Olympics in 2011, making it the fraternity’s official philanthropy. Each chapter within the Sigma Tau Gamma fraternity continues to work towards raising funds for Special Olympics across the nation, as well as volunteering for events like the one each year in Whitewater. 

The annual event is empowering and impactful for senior director of special events for Special Olympics Brytt Shanklin. 

“Our goal is a million dollars this year and I know that between myself, my team and the rest of the organization, we’re gonna come pretty close to that,” she said.

Shanklin is also hoping to make sure that they are able to continue with providing free health screenings, free sports competition and practices to everybody in the state of Wisconsin with those who have intellectual disabilities.

Wisconsin Special Olympics Vice President of Sports and Programs Jason Blank is another dedicated organizer who also contributed to the success of the 25th annual celebration of support. 

“Special Olympics is an organization that offers year round sports competition for people with disabilities. We also offer health screenings for people that really connect them to care, as well as work with school programs and creating inclusive communities for schools across the state. We have about 115 and growing schools that really want to get their students involved with inclusion,” Blank said.

Blank started off as an intern for the Special Olympics, which gave him his first opportunity to work with people that have intellectual disabilities. He continues to carry that passion with him today. 

“Regardless of their disability, it’s an opportunity to blow away expectations and really be able to show that their ability is limitless,” Blank said.” And that’s what really kind of inspires me everyday.” 

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About the Contributors
Evan Greissinger, Assistant Community Editor
Ky McCombe, Multimedia Manger

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