by Kellen Moore
Dozens of ASU students plunged into the murky waters of the Duck Pond on Thursday for the 15th annual Polar Plunge.
The event -- held under sunny skies with temperatures in the 50s -- may have seemed tame this year, but jumpers still had to brave 35-degree water temperatures to raise money for Special Olympics.
Since the Polar Plunge began, more than $98,000 has been raised for Special Olympics, and all of the money raised stays in Watauga County to support local athletes. Each person who takes the plunge is asked to donate $25, while groups of five or more are asked to donate $20 per person.
"I really wouldn't be doing this if it were any other reason," said senior Anja Wicker, who jumped with a group from Chi Omega sorority.
Several plungers said the event was a rite of passage, part of the "bucket list" they needed to complete before graduating.
"It's also worth doing, to say you jumped in Duck Pond once," sophomore Rachel Meyers said.
Rescue agencies, including Watauga Rescue Squad, Boone Fire Department and ASU Police Department, were on scene to supervise the event and keep participants safe.
Visit Facebook.com/WataugaDemocrat for more photos from the event.