13th Annual WCCC Polar Bear Dip

Washington County Community College Student Senate President Christine Phillips (left), along with members of the Student Senate, present awards to the winners of the 13th annual Polar Bear Dip design contest. Third place winner, Victoria Webber and second place winner Amber Sode, both students at the college, show off their designs. First place winner Dawn Shain, a former WCCC student, was unable to attend the ceremony. Phillips is holding her design, a colorful Polar Bear with the slogan “Be Brave, Make Waves.” (WCCC photo)


CALAIS - The spirited polar bear is back as a reminder that the 13th annual Washington County Community College Polar Bear Dip is just a few weeks away.

The money raised each year goes to the Ronald McDonald House in Bangor.

Last year’s 12th annual dip raised more than $22,000. One hundred and fifty hearty souls jumped into the Passamaquoddy Bay, but as fast as they jumped in, they also jumped out of the icy waters.

The WCCC Student Senate, who sponsors the event, hopes to raise that and more during this year’s fun-filled frolic. The dip is scheduled for March 1, at Split Rock on the Passamaquoddy Reservation at Pleasant Point.

“We have been planning and preparing. We almost have everything in place that we need,” WCCC Student Senate President Christine Phillips said of the upcoming dip.

Again this year, the Student Senate held a logo design contest to see whose design would be on the back of the sweatshirt that dippers who raise $75 or more receive. The design is built around the Polar Bear and its use as a symbol for the WCCC dip. 

This year’s first place winner of the WCCC Polar Bear Slogan Contest was Dawn Shain, a former student. She came up with a colorful design that included the slogan, “Be Brave, Make Waves.” She won a free class at the college, along with one of the sweatshirts with her logo on the back.

The second place winner, Amber Sode, a student and vice president of the Student Senate, walked away with a $100 gift certificate for the college bookstore.

Third place winner, Victoria Webber, also a student and Student Senate member, won a $50 gift certificate for the college bookstore.

Phillips said each year the funds raised from the Polar Bear Dip go to the Ronald McDonald House. “They give so much to Washington County. They do a lot for the families of youngsters who need medical treatment in hospitals in Bangor. So we give back to them so they can help the people of our community,” she said.

The WCCC Polar Dip is the Ronald McDonald’s biggest fundraiser. To date the Student Senate has given more than $150,000 to the facility. The 14-bed facility helps nearly 450 families a year who must stay near medical facilities in Bangor because of either a seriously ill or injured child. 

The Student Senate plans to tour the facility on Feb. 1.

Looking ahead to the dip, Phillips said she hoped for good weather. In the past, temperatures have ranged from a bone-chilling below zero to above 20 degrees.

Participants from both sides of the international border including St. Stephen and St, Andrews, New Brunswick have participated in the dip. “We have dippers from all over the county and state as well and from other colleges. The colleges will bring a whole van full of students down to participate so it is a widespread event,” she said. 

Sponsor forms can be obtained at the college and on the school’s web site at www.wccc.me.edu “Participants go around and get sponsors for however much they want to pledge. And they collect the donations and then jump in the water,” Phillips said with a smile.