The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News


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Polar Plunge fundraises for Special Olympics

Rob Le Cates
Provost Ryan Hendrickson celebrates after jumping into the pool of water during the Special Olympics’ Polar Plunge Sunday evening.

This year at the 2024 Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Polar Plunge at EIU Region I, plungers fundraised for a goal of earning $25,000. 

As a whole event, five different teams worked together to raise around $13,000. 

The LETR Polar Plunge is held across the nation to raise money for the Special Olympics. 

The five teams that competed were individual plungers, communication disorder sciences graduate students, the Eastern Football Team, Alpha Sigma Alpha and the Eastern department of special education. 

There were four awards given out at the event. It is a tradition to have the teams do a group costume and compete for the best costume as a group and individually. 

Eastern special education professor Cori More earned the best individual costume prize for her tie dye ensemble. 

The EIU special education department won the overall costume award for their tie dye costumes consisting of tie-dyed t-shirts, socks and headbands alongside lots of glow sticks. 

The next set of awards was for the top amounts raised. 

Eastern special education department Chairperson Kathryn Havercroft won the most raised with over $2,000 raised individually. 

The Eastern special education department raised the most as a team with around $8,100. 

“So, the Polar Plunge that we are having here today is one of four polar plunges we have in our region, and we raised over $100,000 for our athleteshat money goes directly for holding quality training and competitions for our athletes,” said Joanie Keyes Director of Special Olympics Region I. 

The Polar Plunge also helps with the events held at Eastern and Region I for the Special Olympic athletes. 

Special Olympics have made an impact for Eastern students, especially those with special education majors. 

“It made me appreciate what I am going to do for my career more,” Lauren Jackson, an education major, said. “I am super passionate about special education. I love what I am gonna be able to do, and I want to get involved in things like this really makes you connect more with it.” 

Ryan Hendrickson, provost and vice president for academic affairs, said that the Special Olympics have always had a special place for him, having an aunt with down syndrome. 

“I love working with athletes. I love what they are doing,” Hendrickson said. “A lot of the families are engaged, so it is a fantastic way to bring people together.” 

Students also showed their appreciation to the people that help and that are involved in this year’s Polar Plunge. 

“All these people work extremely hard to have events like this every year even when it was difficult with COVID-19,” Jackson said. 

Jackson also urged people to get involved regardless of connection with the Special Olympics, calling it a rewarding experience. 

To find out more about Special Olympics Illinois and the programs they have, people can go to 


The News Staff can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]. 

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About the Contributor
Rob Le Cates, Editor-in-Chief
Rob Le Cates is a junior journalism major. He previously served as summer editor-in-chief, photo editor and assistant photo editor at The News.

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