Hundreds Take the Penguin Plunge for Special Olympics in Farmington

People from all over braved the cold waters at Winding Trails Sunday.

It was a frigid morning Sunday when 274 brave souls laughed and screamed their way into the waters of Dunning Lake at Winding Trails at the 11th Penguin Plunge. 

The air was just around 20 degrees and the ice thick enough to walk on with some echoing the sentiments of one man who, as he raced down the beach, said, "Who thought this was a good idea?"

Still, all were happy to be out supporting a great cause and the Special Olympians dear to them.

"It was a jolt for a good cause," summarized Sam Hargrove from the Canterbury School in New Milford.

Caroline O'Connell fom King Philip Middle School in West Hartford was focused on the cold as she toweled off from her group's run.

"It was - oh my gosh - worse that I thought. I don't think we grasped the fact that we'd be jumping into freezing cold water," she said. "But it's raising money for a good charity and I hope it helps make people happy."

The King Philips team was one of those recognized for outstanding efforts at the Penguin Plunge Sunday.

Title of Emperor Penguin, for the individual who raised the most money, went to Olivia Shelbourn of the Forman School in Litchfield. Shelbourn was also recognized for raising the most amount online. The Forman School was named Emperor Club, for raising the most money - almost $10,000.

Silver Penguin went to Sue Dencia, 55, for being the oldest plunger.

Rocky Hill Police Department was named Arctic Heroes for bringing the largest group for a public safety organization. 

School groups were also recognized.

The elementary school that raised the most money was Naubuc School in Glastonbury. The middle school, with $2,623 was King Philip Middle School in West Hartford. Farmington High School, with $1,800 received the honor in the oldest group. 

In total, the plunge raised $62,905 - a little over last year's figure. 


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