Students and staff at Hilldale Elementary School raised nearly $1,500 for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). The Hilldale Student Council organized the May 2023 event, which culminated in a massive Ice Bucket Challenge that concluded the school’s annual field day.
“Students have been donating money and voting for the teacher who deserves the biggest bucket of water dumped on them!” explained 4th Grade Teacher Stacey Hogan. “At the end of our Field Day, on Friday May 26, thirty-two (32) teachers and staff participated in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.”
Throughout the month of May, the Student Council encouraged the student community to research Lou Gehrig, the baseball player who died from ALS. A Lou Gehrig biography was read by the school. Additionally, each morning Student Council Representatives made speeches on the PA about each of the nominated teachers and staff. The PA presentations created excitement for the upcoming Ice Bucket Challenge. In order to see their favorite teachers participate in the Ice Bucket Challenge, the friendly competition inspired the student body to raise funds for the ALS Association.
“This is for a good cause,” said Principal Jill Cisneros. “This month our school community raised $1,500 for a good cause, while they also raised awareness of ALS.”
The top three vote-getters were: Number 3, Principal Jill Cisneros; Number 2, Gary Dedoussis; and Number 1, Ian Schwindel. The three were each drenched by large buckets of water. Twenty-nine (29) other teachers and staff members had smaller buckets of water poured over them. Each of the 32 who participated received cheers, claps and shouts from Hilldale’s 327 kindergarten to grade 5 students.
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was an internet phenomenon in 2014. According to the ALS Association website, a 2019 independent research report noted that the 2014 Ice Bucket Challenge “enabled the ALS Association to increase its annual funding for research around the world by 187%.” The June 4, 2019 article about the Ice Bucket Challenge also noted that the increased donations “dramatically accelerated the fight against ALS.”
According to the National Institutes of Health website, “Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, is a rare neurological disease that affects motor neurons—those nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement.”
Hilldale Elementary School, in Montville Township, New Jersey, is one of five (5) elementary schools in the Montville Township Public Schools district. MTPS also has a middle school and a high school in the district.
Hilldale’s 2023 Ice Bucket Challenge event can be viewed on the Montville Township Public Schools YouTube Channel.