The Frozen Cheltenham Unified Panthers surpassed their $1,000 goal to raise more than $3,000 as part of the Friday, Dec. 7 Polar Bear Plunge at Souderton High School. Organized and supported by Special Olympics of Pennsylvania and Philadelphia, events such as this bring together students, teachers and administrators from throughout the Philadelphia area to celebrate inclusion and promote acceptance and respect, while raising funds for Special Olympics and Pennsylvania’s Interscholastic Unified Sports programs.
Cheltenham students, faculty and coaches joined their counterparts from Abington, Cheltenham, Haverford, North Penn, Souderton, Springfield and Unionville to brave the frigid air and plunge into two icy swimming pools at Souderton’s outdoor athletic facility.
“It was a cold December day, but the environment was filled with warmth, caring, friendship and compassion,” said CHS Unified Track and Field Coach and Chemistry teacher Tabatha Bray-Gilbert. “It was fantastic to see so many people from so many schools supporting each other and the Special Olympics and Unified Athletic programs. We have such a great group of kids leading our unified programs”
Following the plunges, participants were treated to a hoagie lunch, played outdoor bocce and took pictures before boarding the busses for a warm ride home to CHS.
“Last year we struggled to raise a modest sum,” said Special Education Chair Gus Ekhardt, who is also the Unified Track and Field Coach. “This year, our athletes and partners came together and tapped into the generosity of the Cheltenham Community. I’m really proud of our kids and grateful for all of the many donors, some of which contributed anonymously.”