Freezin' for a Reason - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Freezin' for a Reason


VERONA (WKOW)-- It takes more than just volunteers to make Special Olympics such a success here locally year round.

We meet a man who's leading a group of very brave students into the freezing cold water for a reason.

Michael Ray is "Someone You Should Know."

A-P Psychology teacher Michael Ray's lesson today at Verona High School is about color vision processing.

But Mr. Ray has another lesson that reaches well beyond his classroom.

Students have joined the Verona Area Psychology Plungers for this weekend's Special Olympics Polar Plunge. Mr. Ray is team captain.

"I wanted the kids to do something in the community that stayed local," said Mr. Ray.

Last year, 30 students jumped into the cold Wisconsin water, raising over $5,000. This year, participants exceed Mr. Ray's expectations. About one hundred brave souls plan to take the plunge.

"Even though it doesn't feel good to jump into the icy water, it always feels worth it because you know how much good is coming out of it and he always reminds us of that," said Nicole Sather, a senior at Verona.

Mr. Ray said "it is very satisfying to me. That's what we get into education about to get the kids enthusiastic about learning, about giving, about being a community member, about helping people that they don't even know."

A fellow teacher, Deb Ballweg said this about Mr. Ray: "the enthusiasm that he sends out to the students is absolutely amazing. So he gets the students to buy into the importance of helping out people in your community."

Another plunger, Angelica Medina said "I'm like nervous for it but afterwards you feel ike so good about yourself that you did that."

The message Mr. Ray wrote on the team's plunge page on the special olympics website sums it up well.

"Jumping into ice cold water - 10 seconds of distress - Helping special athletes compete for the gold - priceless!"

"If you do this now, you help a special athlete enjoy the experience, make new friends, something they'll remember for the rest of their life. You've affected them for the rest of their life. And that's an incredible feeling," said Mr. Ray.

You can help the Special Olympics by plunging or pledging!

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