JACKSON TWP.  The Jackson Local Schools Foundation (JLSF) brought together board members, teachers and the community at the Royal Docks Brewhouse and Cannery on Sept. 25 to kick off the 2020 Polar Bear Plunge.

Proceeds from the Polar Bear Plunge go directly to the JLSF Classroom Grant Program, which has delivered more than $45,000 to Jackson Local Schools’ classrooms for innovative programming. There were many teachers (grant recipients) at the event with the projects that were funded in part or in whole by JLSF.

“The kickoff event is also meant to say thank you to those that helped raise money from the last three plunges including our partners, sponsors, all those who took the plunge and the teachers and charities that benefit from the Polar Bear Plunge,” said JLSF President Jim Camp.

In 2017, the plunge into Lake Cable event raised $41,000; 2018 it raised $43,600; and in 2019 it raised $61,000. Camp said close to 30 different charities join the plunge and there is a 50/50 split with them for the proceeds from the Polar Bear Plunge.

One of the teachers at the event was Dave Huthmacher, who is the media specialist at Jackson Memorial Middle School. He had samples of the Spheros Robots that were purchased through a JLSF grant in 2018.

“We have a maker space in our library at the middle school where kids can work on creative projects and STEM projects,” Huthmacher said. “The students can program the Spheros Robots to do a number of things like go through a maze map. The robot projects are meant to teach coding and physics.”

Another teacher attending was social studies teacher Zachery Michel who purchased virtual reality (vr)goggles with a JLSF grant.

“For government class, students can visit the White House through the VR goggles,” Michel said. “For U.S. history classes, students can use the goggles to visit battlefields and talk with soldiers on the field and be right on the battlefield. The purpose of using the goggles is to make leaning about history or social studies a real experience.”

“We had 350 take the plunge last year and we are hoping to have 400 take the plunge on Feb. 8, 2019,” said Polar Bear Plunge Vice President and Charimand Justin Hardesty. “The turnout for this event shows how successful the Polar Bear Plunge event has been. It is a celebration to see all the foundation grant funded projects together in one place tonight.”

The 2020 Polar Bear Plunge is scheduled for 2 p.m.  Feb. 8th at Lake Cable.  Registration can be found at www.jacksonpolarbearplunge.org.