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September 20, 2014
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Taking the Ice Bucket Challenge

After a heated practice last week, Eldred High School girls varsity soccer players took the Ice Bucket Challenge to raise funds for ALS research.
Photos by Anya Tikka

By Anya Tikka
August 27, 2014

GLEN SPEY, NY — The Eldred High School girls varsity soccer team kicked off what will be a school-wide sports team Ice Bucket Challenge after their morning practice at George Ross Mackenzie Elementary School Thursday, August 21. It had been scorching hot the previous few days, but on this day, clouds appeared, and it was cool. The girls, however, were hot after their soccer practice and took part enthusiastically, pouring the ice buckets, standing in a line, encouraging each other.

Coach J.J. Gass, who gave the team the challenge, explained, “I thought of a nice way to do this, instead of donating $100. What student goes around with a spare $100 in their pocket?

“Every Eldred sports team will do it,” he continued— football, cheerleaders, girls and boys soccer and cross country—“and then the plan is to use the entry fee from every first game this fall as a donation to ALS [amyotrophic lateral sclerosis] research on behalf of the Eldred athletic teams. We’re also going to challenge a bunch of schools we’ve become friendly with over the years, too, [like] Seward and Port Jervis.”

The Ice Bucket Challenge is getting a lot of attention everywhere, but what made Coach Gass think of this for Eldred?

“It’s going around, but what made me much more aware of it was a special on ESPN about the person who started this, his condition, and how it got worse over the years. It kind of brought more attention to it in my eyes. So I thought it would be a good program for Eldred, to nominate other teams at the school, and maybe they can get donations and it can trickle down. I’m sure we’re not the first high school team to do it, and we’ll not be the last, and every penny counts.”

Eldred Central School District is solidly behind the effort. “I spoke to Mr. Dufour [the superintendent] and everyone else at the school, and they’re supportive,” explained Coach Gass.

Gass did his own Ice Bucket Challenge the previous day. He was challenged by a previous member of the team, Shannon Brucher who graduated this year.

Although some of the girls on the team have been challenged already, they’re ready to do it again, although that will be for a different purpose.

The girls we spoke were eager and proud to support the cause.

Seniors Addy Bodnaruik and Lauren Frey presented the verbal challenge to Shannon, who was making the required video to pass to the next team to be challenged.

Bodnaruik explained, “I think it’s really great that we are supporting the cause, and getting all the teams to do it. I think it’s going to be fun. It’s going to be cool. I’m really excited. It’s like a chain.”