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Schools hope to raise $3,500 for Olympics

Students and staff at New Richmond schools are hoping they get to tell school administrators something that most don't get to tell their bosses - "Go jump in a lake."

All five schools are currently fundraising for Special Olympics Wisconsin. Anthony Hartung, special services teacher at Paperjack Elementary, said he and Cassie Plante, special services teacher at Starr Elementary, organized a team to fundraise and participate in the Feb. 26 Polar Plunge in Eau Claire. When Hartung heard of the "Toss Your Boss" campaign, he approached seven district administrators who all agreed to take the plunge if the $3,500 goal was met.

In all, the five building principals - Jeff Moberg, Doug Hatch, Mike Ballard, Andy Hoeppner and Frank Norton, Superintendant Morrie Veilleux and Special Services Director Sue Curtis - have agreed to jump. As an incentive to students and staff, the winning class will be awarded with a pizza party and the students will be allowed to pick their respective principals' outfit.

At New Richmond Middle School a Tiger wrestling singlet and pink tutu hang on the wall of the office, earmarked as Hatch's jumping outfit.

"The kids are pretty excited about that," Hartung said.

It's unknown exactly how much has been raised so far, Hartung said.

"At Paperjack we're at $283," he said. "And with conferences we've had several parents asking about it and a few have even offered to pay the rest of it. Everyone has been really supportive and wants to see Mike (Ballard) tossed. It's fun to see how much fun they're having with it."

This will be the third plunge Hartung has participated in, he said.

"It's actually easier to jump when it's colder outside," he said. "When it's cold outside the water feels warmer."

The 2012 Eau Claire Polar Plunge will take place on Sunday, Feb. 26, at Half Moon Beach in Carson Park. New Richmond administrators will jump sometime between 12:50 p.m. and 1:05 p.m., Hartung said. The New Richmond team, consisting of Hartung, Plante and other various teachers, will jump after the administrators, at about 1:05 p.m.

"Everyone has been having a lot of fun with this," Hartung said. "We've had great support here in New Richmond."

While all money raised for the Eau Claire Polar Plunge will be going to Special Olympics Wisconsin, Hartung said a large portion will be coming back to help fund the newly established local Special Olympics team.

Jackie Grumish
Jackie Grumish has been a reporter with the New Richmond News since 2008. She holds degrees in journalism and fine art from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill. Before coming to New Richmond, Jackie worked as the city government reporter at a daily newspaper in Aberdeen, S.D. 
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