SYCAMORE – Southeast Elementary third-graders learned the importance of helping others while celebrating the end of the first week of school Friday.
About 50 third-grade students raised $270 for the ALS Association, which has been raising funds to help with awareness and research of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis through an ice bucket challenge.
The challenge, which requires the participants to donate money and then dump a bucket of ice water on their heads, has become a social-media sensation and has raised $53.3 million as of Friday, according to the association’s website, compared with $2.2 million during the same time last year.
On Friday, Southeast third-grade students and teachers poured buckets of cold water on their heads in front of the rest of the school before challenging them to do the same at a later date.
“We thought it would be a good way to help others,” said third-grade teacher Kyla Hueber. “I think it was a good way to set the tone for the rest of the year, too, that it’s important to help others.”
Tyler Curtis, 8, said the water was freezing but it was fun to do. Ben Lancaster, 8, said it was “awesome” dumping water on his head.
Third-grade teacher Lynelle Lynd said it was important to teach her children about awareness of the disease. About 5,600 people in the United States are diagnosed with ALS each year, according to the ALS Association. Progressing muscle weakness and eventual paralysis of the body are some symptoms of the disease, according to the association’s website.
Principal Mark Ekstrom participated in the challenge with the third-grade children Friday.
“I think any time we have a chance to give back, it’s a good thing,” Ekstrom said. “It was a good way to spend a hot afternoon and I hope someday we’ll find a cure for [ALS.]”
For more information about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, visit alsa.org.
What is ALS?
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a disease that affects nerve cells in the spinal cord and brain, affecting the brain’s ability to initiate and control muscle movement. ALS most commonly affects people between ages 40 and 70.