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Warm Hearts in Cold Waters

Story by Michael O'Day
Jan 31, 2024

Camp Lejeune Schools Dive in for Charity

In the heart of Camp Lejeune, a heartwarming story of community spirit and generosity unfolded as four Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) schools rallied together for a noble cause. On January 20th, braving the chilly winds and frigid waters, the staff, students, and families from Johnson Primary, Bitz Intermediate, Brewster Middle, and Lejeune High Schools joined forces in the Polar Plunge to raise funds for the Onslow County Special Olympics.

The Polar Plunge, an event that combines fun, costumes, and a dash of courage, saw participants from the four schools donning creative outfits ranging from wolves and butterflies to pigs and even Minions. This light-hearted competition was more than just a costume contest; it demonstrated their commitment to supporting the Special Olympics athletes in their community.

Johnson Primary School was at the forefront of this initiative, raising an impressive $5,000 and earning a commemorative plaque for their remarkable effort. Each school exceeded its fundraising goals, collectively contributing 60% of the $18,268 raised for the Special Olympics. This noteworthy achievement highlighted the dedication of the Camp Lejeune Community Schools not only to their base community but to Onslow County as well.

Among the many heartening stories is that of the Monkman family from Johnson Primary, who turned fundraising into a friendly family competition, raising $3,500 for the cause. Their spirited efforts reflect the collective drive that powered this event.

Despite the challenge of a 31-degree plunge on one of the coldest days at the beach, spirits remained high. Lisa Schwartz, a teacher who initiated the school's involvement, continued to inspire and lead, this time at Brewster Middle School. Her belief in the importance of integrating Special Olympics into the lives of families and students has been a guiding light in this journey.

Fourth-grader Adalynn Mauldin described the experience perfectly, stating, "Even though it was cold, it was a lot of fun."

This year's plunge held special significance as it marked a resurgence of the Special Olympics events in Onslow County, which had been on hiatus since the onset of COVID. The funds raised will support the athletes in training, competing, and seizing leadership opportunities within the community.

The Polar Plunge at Camp Lejeune is more than just a fundraiser; it's a testament to the power of community, the joy of giving, and the unyielding spirit of those who strive to make a positive impact in the lives of others. The chilly plunge into the ocean was not just a dip into cold waters but a dive into the warm hearts of a community united for a noble cause.

On January 20th, braving the chilly winds and frigid waters, the staff, students, and families from Johnson Primary, Bitz Intermediate, Brewster Middle, and Lejeune High Schools joined forces in the Polar Plunge to raise funds for the Onslow County Special Olympics.
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