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How Cold Was It?

By Charles F. Trentelman? - | Jan 24, 2011


Standard-Examiner staff?ctrentelman@standard.net?

OGDEN — Saturday morning? was lovely weather for a dip in the Fort Buenaventura Park lake, and the people doing the dipping agreed that, with temperatures wallowing in the 30s, brief snow squalls and ice on the lake, they were the dips.?

So the dips were very quick, and yet more than 30 people did it. Some twice.?Nobody died, which was good because the sponsors had everyone sign a waiver certifying they were crazy as loons for even considering such a feat.?The event was a fundraiser for the North Davis Preparatory Academy, a charter school in Layton that has an emphasis on teaching Spanish using the “total immersion” method. ?The school is sending a group of students to Spain in March. Since travel costs money, the idea of “total immersion” in ice cold water to fund total immersion in Spain seemed the way to go.?Principal Debbie Gomberg said the academy is the only school in the state that is an International Spanish Academy. The distinction was given by the Spanish Ministry of Education because of the academy’s strong emphasis on the language. The school not only teaches Spanish, but has 13 teachers from Spain teaching other classes in Spanish.?One of those is Daniel Garcia, from Granada, who was preparing to make the plunge because the students voted he should.?The way it worked, students would raise funds and use them to bid on which teacher they wanted to see jump into the water. “I guess they love me that much,” he said. ?He teaches math and science in Spanish, but it’s not as hard as it sounds.?”They’re actually doing pretty well,” he said. “Luckily in math, almost all the terms come from Greek, and numbers are numbers.”?The Rev. Karl Dumas, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Ogden, was diving for his son, who goes to the school. He stripped down to shorts and rubber shoes, raising a field of goosebumps in the nippy air. He’s 59, but “my cardiologist said it was OK.”?Preparation consisted of “turning your brain off, I guess. I can’t think of any good way to prepare for it.”?Another faculty member who “won” the student voting was Wendy Smart, the secretary and cheerleading coach.?She said “won” was not the right word. ?”It’s ‘lost,’ let’s get that straight.” ?Unlike Garcia, she said if students liked her more they’d have let her off the hook by voting for someone else. Interestingly, the school’s principal, Debbie Gomberg, said she got out of diving by financing a lot of votes for all the other teachers, including Smart.?Smart’s preparation consisted mostly of being terrified. ?”There’s the flashback of growing up when the ice is off the pool and and your dad throws you in,” she said. And she took a cold shower the night before.?Students were more warm to the idea. Alexis Barrett, 14, said, “I’m excited. If this gets me closer to Spain then heck, yeah, I’ll do it.”?Russell Wilvert, 15, pondered the brown slushy hole in the lake’s ice someone hacked the day before. “It looks so nasty,” he said.?His plan was to “just go in, get right out,” because he’d heard if you get your hair wet it will freeze and break.?”I woke up jolly. I woke up thinking ‘I’m warm now, be that way when I go in.’ “?Come 10 a.m., everyone did.?As divers lined up, black clouds filled the sky, temperatures dropped, snowflakes pelted the ground and the ice on the water swirled ominously. Garcia, Dumas and a few other adults went first, splashing the water and throwing it over their heads. Dumas even held his nose and dunked.?Smart stood on the edge of the dock and held off. Garcia encouraged her by splashing water on her legs. Then Vice Principal Kim Lovell came up, took her hand and pulled.?Like Thelma and Louise, they both went, but began heading for shore almost, but not quite, before their feet hit the water.




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