There’s always plenty of talk and press leading up to the Long Beach Polar Bears Splash each Super Bowl Sunday, but what about its aftermath? Who cleans up the beach after its thousands of participants head home to prepare for their Super Bowl parties?
For the first time, a team of about 15 Long Beach Middle School students, along with their family members and four teachers, took that responsibility off the Polar Bears Club, sweeping on to Riverside and Edwards beaches to clean up the mess after Sunday’s big event that raises money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the charity that helps children with terminal medical conditions fulfill their wishes.
Seventh-grade math teacher Jennifer McWilliams and social studies teacher Tammi Richards organized the clean-up with their 7-2 team of students. The teachers tied the team’s support for the charity to this inaugural clean up.
“The kids are passionate about the Make-A-Wish Foundation,” Richards said.
Moreover, classmates Savannah Kyle and Kelly Gannon viewed their participation as a way to keep Long Beach clean.
“We’re doing it to help our community,” said Kelly, who along with Savannah planned to run into the icy water after the clean-up to show solidarity with the Polar Bears Splash.
It took the team about an hour to clean the two beaches, filling about 25 large garbage bags, McWilliams said. Most of the items collected consisted of abandoned socks, towels and flip-flops.
McWilliams noted that this project is part of the team-building exercises that are part of the school’s curriculum, and team 7-2 picked the clean-up as part of fulfilling their community service requirement. They will participate in other community-based projects as the school year progresses.
“By us collecting the garbage, it allowed some of the Polar Bear volunteers to take the plunge,” McWilliams said about Sunday’s project. “In past years they have cleaned up instead of participating in the Polar Bear Splash.”