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Polar Plunge Teachers dive into frigid waters for charity

Friday’s PHS Baseball Pink Out for charity will raise more funds

 

polarplunge    Taking up the challenge - PHS teachers Rodney Martin, Melissa Weeks, Jody Williams, and Kevin Jacobs jump into Long Swamp Creek as part of a charity challenge.
   

     What could make a handful of brave teachers and students jump into a frigid Georgia creek on a 42 degree day? Only a great charity.
    When PHS English teacher Debbie Roper was challenged last week by her daughter, Jessica Bryan, to take a polar plunge into Long Swamp Creek for charity, it was an easy decision.


    “It felt like it was two degrees in that water,” Roper said of her plunge into the creek  near the PHS outdoor classroom. “It’s a very cold, mountain fed stream. As soon as I was completely submerged I was running back to the shore.”   
    Roper was joined by other members of the English department, Patty Barnard and Christi Hobgood, who all decided to donate to the PHS baseball team’s Strikeout Breast Cancer Fundraiser  campaign. The team will host a Pink Out at their game this Friday, April 4th at Dragon Field to raise awareness for breast cancer.
    “When I was challenged to do it, I couldn’t not do it. I knew I had to do it,” Roper said.
    For her own plunge, Roper’s  daughter went to The Devil’s Elbow in Dawson County and jumped off the cliffs on a 35 degree day complete with snow flurries.
    “She was crazy. When we did it, it was frigid too - the water and the climb back up the hill after putting a hoodie back on over those wet clothes,” Roper said.
    Prior to diving in, the three teachers from the English department, in very strong words, challenged their colleagues from the science department, specifically department head Rodney Martin. Also challenged were PE instructor Jody Williams and PCMS teacher Jamie Cheshire.
    Part of the science department did accept the challenge and took to the water the following day.
    Rodney Martin, Melissa Weeks, Kevin Jacobs and Jody Williams jumped into Long Swamp Creek last Thursday after accepting the challenge.
    Roper noted the challenge contained a stipulation to totally submerge in the water - something one teacher failed to do.
    “Kevin Jacobs cheated. He didn’t want to mess up his hair,” Roper joked.
    Despite dry hair, Jacobs’ donation went to the Strike Out Breast Cancer campaign. Weeks donated to the baseball team as well. Martin donated to a cancer survivor who is raising money for a three day walk and Williams chose Alzheimer’s research as her charity.
    Before they took the plunge, the science department called out members of the high school’s math department to join them in polar bearing for charity. A few specific names were thrown out including those of Gail Culbreth, Athletic Director Kyle Rasco and dance instructor Lauren Bail.
    “I challenge the whole special education department, including Mrs. Jacobs, to come down here and do this,” Mr. Jacobs said before walking in.
    Teachers aren’t the only ones taking the plunge. PHS Seniors Alyssa Weaver and best friend Savannah Miller also jumped for charity.
    “We are doing this for Lisa Ramiro,” Miller said.
    Alyssa and Savannah challenged PHS teacher Grady Flannigan to do the polar plunge.
    Roper said Flannigan said he would jump when $100 was pledged to the Strike Out campaign. As of press time, that figure was up to $80.
    “I feel like it was for a really good cause. We may wind up making a tradition of it,” Roper said. 
    The baseball team has sold pink t-shirts for Friday night’s Pink Out. The proceeds go to local breast cancer patients for whatever they may need, Roper said. At the game the team will recognize breast cancer survivors and patients.
    Anyone wishing to donate to the PHS Baseball team’s Strike Out Breast Cancer campaign can contact Bradley Barnard at PHS or “come and have a good time, watch a good baseball game and donate at the game at Dragon field this Friday,” Roper said.

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