By Amy Shanahan; photo courtesy of eighth grade student Ashley Mercer
Rocky Heights Middle School (RHMS) not only embraced the ALS ice bucket challenge, they took it to a whole new level.
The ALS ice bucket challenge is a phenomenon that took off this summer. Celebrities, famous athletes, and heads of state helped to bring this to the forefront of American culture. The challenge involves a person having a bucket of ice water dumped on their heads and challenging others to do the same on social media, in order to bring awareness to Amytrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). People can either accept the challenge or make a donation to an ALS charity of their choice, or do both.
The students at RHMS have helped to raise thousands of dollars for this very worthy cause. Technology teacher Tim Ryckman worked with his Nighthawk Television (NHTV) class to bring the challenge school-wide. Ryckman did the challenge, then called out his NHTV class. Members of NHTV then did the challenge and their videos were put on air each morning. The students then threw darts at a board which listed the school team names, and the students on those teams were challenged next and were asked to donate a dollar to ALS and submit their videos to be shown on NHTV.
The seventh grade Expeditioners team decided to do the challenge as an entire team. On September 7, the students stood outside of the school and dumped buckets of water on their heads and then were sprayed by fire hoses, courtesy of the Rock Canyon Fire Science program.
Castle Pines Village resident and seventh grade student Beck Duncan took part and exclaimed, “It was awesome! It was cold outside and everyone was screaming, and we raised over $800! The best part was having lots of water dumped on me and being sprayed because I got drenched. It was super fun!”
The eighth grade Mountaineers team also chose to do the challenge as a team. For one week, the team collected money and for every $250 raised, the students were able to choose a teacher to douse. The Mountaineers raised a total of $1,774 that was donated directly to the ALS Association.
ALS affects approximately 30,000 people at any one time, and is a progressive disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. At this time there is no cure, so the ALS ice bucket challenge has brought much needed awareness and financial support to finding a cure for this disease. To learn more about ALS, visit www.ALSA.org.