On Wednesday afternoon, Aug. 20, the teachers, administrators and staff from Miller-Driscoll Elementary School took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Using the effort as a teaching moment and community effort, they joined the cultural phenomenon that is helping the ALS Association raise millions of dollars as well as awareness.
“It’s a little thing that we can do to help. Our school’s theme this year is ‘We are Bucket Fillers,’ so it just seemed like this would be the best way to start the school year,” explained Janine Hussey, the M-D first grade teacher who organized the effort. “We really want to encourage charity with our kids, and we want to make them aware of things going on around the world. So it made sense.”
To their credit, all the school administrators–principal Cheryl Jensen-Gerner and assistant principals Jeremy Cross and Sheelah Brown–participated, as did superintendent Dr. Kevin Smith, who didn’t hesitate for a second when he was asked to join the effort.
“It’s a great community event, and I’m glad they invited me. When you connect people with a desire and opportunity to do good as a community, it doesn’t get better than that. That Cheryl, Jeremy and Sheelah were out here, and [district technology director] Matt [Hepfer] was out here, it’s icing on the cake,” Smith said.
“I was unbelievably excited. When I emailed Dr. Smith late last night, he answered, ‘I ACCEPT YOUR CHALLENGE!’ all in bold type. He was so excited, and it showed that he really wants to be involved in our school. To see how wet my principal was, that was amazing!” Hussey said.
Hussey added that, following the ice bucket tradition, the Miller-Driscoll community nominated their peers at Cider Mill School to take the challenge, hoping to start a district-wide domino effect. As well, she hopes that the M-D ice-bucket dousing inspires other members of the Wilton community to contribute to the effort.
“It shows our sense of community, how we support one another, and it’s just a great kick-off to the school year. I’m hoping that parents who see their children’s teacher might also donate to ALSA.org.”
As for Smith, he laughs that he’ll likely now need to repeat the challenge by joining the staff at Cider Mill, and if the domino effect takes root, he’ll probably need to prepare for a couple more ice water baths.
To donate, visit the ALS Association website.