Team Orange Crushers, made up of Buffalo State students and their buddies, took part in the 11th annual Polar Plunge to benefit the New York Special Olympics. The Orange Crushers won the Best College Team prize for raising $3,474. Exceptional education students have taken part every year since “freezin’ for a reason” started in 2007.
Forty-one team members showed up at Woodlawn Beach State Park on December 2, when both the air and water temperatures were in the 40-degree range. Students from the Exceptional Education Department and members of Buffalo State Best Buddies and the Student Council for Exceptional Children took part along with the individuals with disabilities they have been mentoring this semester.
Best Buddies International is dedicated to “ending the social, physical, and economic isolation of the 200 million people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.” Lynne Sommerstein, lecturer in Exceptional Education, said, “The Buffalo State chapter matches our students with an individual with intellectual disabilities from the community for one-to-one friendship.” The college chapter, which is funded by USG, was founded in 2001.
The Council for Exceptional Children, a professional association of educators, is dedicated to “advancing the success of children with exceptionalities.”
Students MacKenzie Elliott, Tucker Fuller, Katy Jordan, and Megan Schrader worked together to organize the event. Faculty advisers were Kathy Doody, assistant professor; Angela Patti, assistant professor; and Sommerstein; all of exceptional education. “Every year, your hard work and support helps make this event a success,” said Lisa Rafferty, chair and associate professor of exceptional education. “Congratulations and thank you!”
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