Cache Valley students and community take a plunge and “Get Freezin’ for a Reason”


Community members participate in the Polar Plunge   Participants in the Polar PlungeCommunity members participate in the Polar Plunge   Community members participate in the Polar Plunge   


The Cache Valley community came together on a cold March 1st at Hyrum Reservoir to get “freezin’ for a reason.” Special Olympics Utah, an organization dedicated to providing sports and competition opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities, hosted a polar plunge event. Community members were invited to donate money and jump in the icy waters, which were a frigid 39 degrees at the time of the plunge.


Donations from the event directly support the Special Olympics programs in high schools in the district. Donors were able to choose which school they wanted to support. McKenzie Martindale, one of the Life Skills teachers at Mountain Crest High who works directly with special needs students, said that donations from this event keep the program alive and significantly benefit all students.


“This fundraiser benefits our students with disabilities because it provides them with opportunities to participate in extracurricular activities that they otherwise wouldn't have, but it also greatly impacts students without disabilities,” Martindale explained.


“Students without disabilities can also participate in these extracurricular activities and gain valuable skills, such as teamwork, compassion, patience, leadership, etc,” she continued. “It also allows us to raise awareness and spread inclusion to students who don't have as much exposure to individuals with disabilities.”


Community members participate in the Polar Plunge


One of Martindale’s students, Tayson Smith, and his mother, Ashley, were among the brave participants who took the plunge. When asked why he decided to participate, Tayson explained that he wanted to help raise money for the program so he and his friends could keep playing sports. 


“I decided to 'get freezin' to help me and my friends be able to play sports,” Tayson commented. “We love having people cheer for us and play hard, and the money raised helps us with that.”


Martindale explained that funds raised from the event would help cover costs to update equipment and uniforms for the Unified Sports teams, the cost of transportation to and from sporting events, costs of Mountain Crest Unified Club’s activities, and to promote inclusion throughout the whole school through engagement activities.