They will submerge their bare flesh in frigid waters to ring in the New Year and raise money for local food pantries. Once again, this year, the Amagansett Student Council and the East Hampton Food Pantry are coordinating the New Year’s Day Polar Bear Plunge at Main Beach to help the hungry in East Hampton.

This is the fourth year in a row that the school has been raising money for the food pantry through the annual New Year’s tradition, according to Vicki Littman, chair of the East Hampton Food Pantry, whose daughter also attends the Amagansett School. This year, however, new Amagansett School Principal Dr. Robert Brisbane will do the bitter cold dunking on behalf of the five-member student council, which will be getting pledges for him.

“I’m going to go, and I’m going to get wet,” Dr. Brisbane said last week. “I only take warm showers, so this is going to be something.”

Ms. Littman praised Dr. Brisbane for immediately jumping on board the effort to raise funds for the pantries. “Without hesitation, he said, ‘Absolutely, I’m in’—it was very sweet,” she said of Principal Brisbane. “He is so enthusiastic and supportive of the school. This is a good example of how you can come into a community and make a difference.”

The money raised will be distributed to the food pantries in East Hampton, Amagansett, Wainscott and Springs.

The student council joined with the PTA and an announcement about the plunge fundraising effort was made at a recent school assembly. Each student was then sent home with a paper snowflake and a request for pledges. The students were encouraged to write their New Year’s wishes on their snowflakes, which will all be tacked to a large bulletin board in the school’s main hallway.

This year, as they do every year, East Hampton middle and high school students also held a logo contest for the Polar Bear Plunge. Students from the seventh through the 12th grade submitted logos that they designed. The winning logo will be emblazoned on the hats that the registrants receive on the day of the event.

The winner of this year’s logo contest is Charly DiTullio, an eighth grade student at East Hampton Middle School, who sketched a polar bear.

The student council is still accepting pledges for the plunge, which takes place at 1 p.m. on January 1 at Main Beach. The cost to plunge is $30. All registrants will receive a bracelet and a hat with the winning student logo. Organizers are hoping that they will pledge more than the $30, as it’s all for a worthy charity.

Dr. Brisbane said that he is looking forward to braving the frosty waves of Main Beach to help his community and his students. “I’m fortunate to have some wonderful kids supporting me,” he said, “so I can’t let them down, or our worthy cause.”

By Laura Weir

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