West Jefferson Middle School Principal Kim Halingstad agreed to be dunked in a tank if students raised more than $20,000 for the school by performing acts of kindness.
What she didn’t know is on the day selected for the official dunking, the winds were howling with temperatures in the mid-30s.
Students took part in a PTA fundraiser called Raise Craze where they asked for donations from friends and family based on acts of kindness. By the end, students with the help of some business sponsors raised $21,148 by performing 1,228 acts of kindness.
Classes that raised the most money played dodgeball against the staff, and a trophy will be displayed in Susan Bergkamp’s classroom because her classes raised the most money.
The PTA will use the money to purchase cubbies to place outside the cafeteria and a new router for technology classes, for teacher grants and student scholarships, and to fund PTA-sponsored events.
Halingstad’s icy dunking took place during the school’s three lunch periods with one teacher and three students having a try during each period. Students left the cafeteria and headed outside, each getting an ice cream treat before watching the frigid festivities.
Halingstad was clad in a wetsuit, and to keep warm between her dunk tank adventures, she wore a hat, bathrobe and heavy coat. She also sipped on hot coffee.
Halingstad smiled when she said she was doing this for the students, though she hoped the karma gods would take pity on her.
Students were excited to watch the antics, cheering loudly when Halingstad wound up in the water. Language arts teacher Stephen Matschullat and instrumental music teacher Laura Sarché, who missed when they attempted to dunk the principal, each sprinted to the dunk tank, pressed the target and watched her fall.
When a couple students asked if the water was cold, Halingstad playfully kicked water in their direction. The students decided the water was definitely chilly.
After her final turn in the dunk tank, as Halingstad was sprinting back to the school building, she noted, “I’m going home to take a hot shower.”