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So cool they're cold


Athey Creek's Cool Cougars take the Polar Plunge

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - From left, Leann Gallien, Steven Walsh, Cameron Bray and Sara Bray celebrate after their polar plunge March 1.After months of rigorous training and a delay caused, ironically, by a winter snowstorm, a group of teachers from Athey Creek Middle School finally had the chance to prove how cool they really are as they took part in the 2014 Polar Plunge to benefit Special Olympics.

Cool might not be the right word, actually, when you’re talking about jumping into the Columbia River on a brisk March morning.

The Cool Cougars team training, according to Athey’s counselor Leann Gallien, consisted mainly in thinking about how cold the water would be. And the water did not fail to disappoint.

“I can’t breathe.”

“I can’t feel my legs.”

“I can’t believe we just did that.”

Those were some of the reactions from the four-person team, which included science teacher Steven Walsh, wellness teachers Sara Bray and Cameron Bray in addition to Gallien.

“All that said, most of us are down to do it next year,” Gallien said.

The event started with a brisk 5K run through drizzly Portland streets. Then it was time to take the plunge.

“We had to plunge out about 15 feet and high-five a police officer that was stationed in the water in a wetsuit,” she said.

Most important, the Cool Cougars raised more than $500 for Special Olympics. The team is recruiting members for next year. Contact Gallien at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.