6 a.m. at Gould

May 12, 2015

All along the beach you can hear the speculations, “Will it be a quadruple today? Three sounds like a good number to me.”  Everyone keeps the talking down and pointed away from Mr. Siekman, so we can’t influence his decision. Just as I suspect though, there he goes: Mr. Siekman plunges back into the water and 50+ students follow. After we’ve dunked our heads under the frigid water for the fourth time, Jack points out to me that 5 dips is the record at this spot. We watch Mr. Siekman to see if he’ll get changed, the universal signal for we’re done, or go back in. Four’s the number for today though and we dry off and get back on the bus. It’s only 6:30 in the morning.


Now by the time I’m posting this, it’s an entire week later and we’ve already had two more bone-chilling, dawn plunges.

Twice weekly (Tuesdays and Fridays) from when the ice goes out to exam week, Gould students have the opportunity to hop on a bus at 6 in the morning and travel to local lakes, streams and swimming holes. As the single exclusive club on campus, if you miss a day you’re out and can’t come to the next one. For completing all the plunges you’re rewarded with an ice cube and breakfast at Jim Sysko’s. For completing all four years you get an ice block rather than an ice cube. It’s a prestigious honor that not many can attain. This year it’s looking like we might graduate a class of 6 four-year polar bears! Nearly a record. Their dedication is quite extraordinary.


Even though I only barely make it to school on time in the morning, I never regret it (okay maybe a little at about 2 in the afternoon when I crash during physics class, but even then only a LITTLE). It’s such a fun group of crazy individuals and I’m happy that I was convinced to be apart of it this year!  Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 9.18.45 AM

Until next week,



3 Responses

  1. Avatar leipold says:

    Almost made it one year and missed the very last day! Still have my “good egg” award. Gorgeous sunny misty mornings, what a great start to the day. We used to use fleece blankets instead of towels to warm up after, from Wight’s tights no less!

  2. Chris Hayward Chris Hayward says:

    Thanks Melissa.

    Another great Gould tradition.

    I love that things like “earn your turns” and polar bears happen at Gould. I too never regret getting up early to earn turns or take plunge even on the worst of days.

  3. Avatar Nancy says:

    I hadn’t heard anything about the Polar Bear Club this spring so am so glad you posted about it and included photos. What a great tradition! I admire the spirit of all you polar bears!!

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