Cold but happy participants in the H-F Polar Plunge are, from left, Nick Calomino, Ryan Custody, Finn Schmidt and Joseph Neal. (Marilyn Thomas/H-F Chronicle)
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Cold doesn’t dampen spirits at H-F Polar Plunge

Cold but happy participants in the H-F Polar Plunge are, from left, Nick Calomino, Ryan Custody, Finn Schmidt and Joseph Neal. (Marilyn Thomas/H-F Chronicle)
Cold but happy participants in the H-F Polar Plunge are, from left, Nick Calomino, Ryan Castady, Finn Schmidt and Joseph Neal. (Marilyn Thomas/H-F Chronicle)

The gray morning clouds hung low in the sky and the temperature hovered around 42 degrees on Friday, April 5, but on the Homewood-Flossmoor High School football field it was a glorious day as 60 students and staff plunged into an icy cold pool of water to raise money for Special Olympics.

Some dunked more than once.

Ryan Castady slides to the dunk pool at the Homewood-Flossmoor High School Polar Plunge benefit for Special Olympics. (Marilyn Thomas/H-F Chronicle)
Ryan Castady slides to the dunk pool at the Homewood-Flossmoor High School Polar Plunge benefit for Special Olympics. (Marilyn Thomas/H-F Chronicle)

The goal was to raise $20,000 through the Cool School Challenge to support Special Olympics Illinois. As of Friday morning, H-F was just $3,000 short of the goal, said Katie Rice, a special education teacher who helps organize the H-F United Sports programs that pairs special education students to students from the H-F student body.

“I did this to raise awareness for all the special athletes out there,” said H-F junior Joseph Neal as he stood drenched and shivering after his plunge. He serves as a partner for Unified basketball and track.

“Oh yeah, I’m cold, but it’s worth it,” said Ryan Castady, another partner with H-F’s Unified sports who dunked.

H-F has been recognized for its outstanding work at inclusion for special education students and twice received the National Unified Banner School honor from Special Olympics Illinois. H-F is one of five schools in the state to receive the honor.

Donations to help H-F meet its $20,000 goal can be made online.

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