By Joseph Pratt
Three members of Portsmouth Elementary School’s (PES) administrative staff, Tom Walker, Dana Pollock, and Beth Born, participated in the ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) Association Ice Bucket Challenge last Friday.
The event was held on the PES playground, with an audience of over a thousand students.
Tom Walker is known by most Trojans, having been on Portsmouth City Schools’ payroll for 37 years. Walker oversees daily operations of the schools and gets around to be known by students in every building.
“I was a little surprised, but still not very surprised,” Walker said, when asked about being challenged. “I think it is a worthwhile cause and I’m willing to step up to the plate and do my part.”
Walker explained that he didn’t mind participating in the challenge if it meant encouraging others to contribute to the cause.
The ALS ice bucket challenge was started by the ALS Association to raise funds for research and administrative costs. Once a person is challenged, they have 24 hours to complete their challenge, or donate $100 to the Association. Those who complete the challenge, donate $10. Those who participate then challenge others to take on the Ice Bucket Challenge.
The ALS Association recently crossed the $100 million mark in donations, compared to $2.6 million during this same time period last year. These donations have come from existing donors and over three million new donors to the Association.
The three Trojan officials were challenged by teacher Shawna Queen.
“I nominated them, because some of my students nominated me and I thought it would be fun to teach my kids about real world connections,” Queen said. “These things happen outside of our classroom and I wanted to show them through our administration.”
Queen said she filmed her challenge and showed it to her students, who all became eager to challenge the school officials and even worked very hard to earn the right to be involved.
The privilege of drenching the school officials went to the students, who were selected based on conduct. Of the students chosen was fourth grader Autumn Conley
“It felt awesome, because I felt important to dump ice water on Ms. Pollock in front of everyone,” Conley said.
Local groups and organizations to take on the challenge is an ongoing list including school board members, Portsmouth City Council, local restaurant officials, local CEO’s and more.
The three administrators did call out just a few other Trojans for the challenge, such as principals Doug Poage and Kristi Toppins, Superintendent Scott Dutey, Ralph Applegate and the entirety of their student body. When students heard they were all being challenged, they responded in shouts of excitement.
Joseph Pratt can be reached at 740-353-3101, EXT 1932, or @JosephPratt03.