Ambridge Area teachers and administrators braved 39-degree water for a good cause.
On Saturday, a team of 32 participants from the school district took the plunge in the Beaver River as part of the second annual Beaver County Polar Bear Plunge.
Lauren Freeman, spokeswoman, said the local group's size was a record for the plunge, which attracted about 350 participants this year, up from around 125 last year.
Each participant was required to raise $50 or more in pledges to join in the Polar Bear Plunge at Bridgewater Landings Marina. More than $50,000 was raised this year compared to $18,000 last year. Funds go to support the Pennsylvania Special Olympics.
“It’s for the kids,” said Freeman, who teaches fourth grade special education. Freeman said the Special Olympics sponsors more than 20,000 individuals with special needs each year.
All five buildings in Ambridge competed by raising funds for the plunge from Dec. 19 to Friday, Jan. 10. Highland Elementary School was declared the winner of the competition, raising a total of $1,336.
As part of the drive, Highland Principal Nicholas Tisak offered to go into the water up to his knees if his building raised $75, up to his waist for $150 and up to his shoulders for $250.
Freeman said the homerooms raised $564, ensuring Tisak would have to take the full plunge. Jackie Smithhammer led as Ambridge Area team captain.