Principal, teachers brave the bucket in school-wide ALS ice bucket challenge

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- From adults to kids to big-name celebrities, we've seen just about everyone doing the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge online. But now, one Valley elementary school is getting in on the act with a school-wide effort!

Kyle Shappee is the principal at Copper Canyon Elementary School in the Paradise Valley School District. He says when he was called out to take part in the challenge in front of the entire student body, he readily accepted.

"I am not a social media person, and was unaware for some time that the Ice Bucket Challenge was happening," he says. "Last week I was officially challenged by two staff members, so I looked into what it was, and what I found was that it is a phenomena which was raising unprecedented awareness towards a disease which has no cure. As someone who is fortunate to be the principal of such an amazing, supportive school, I felt I wanted to give our students the chance to become aware and help make a difference."

Not only did Shappee accept the challenge, he then recruited 13 teachers to take part in the experience with him.

"I wanted to do this because the students always get excited when their teachers participate, and it is a great cause," says 3rd grade teacher Karin Milligan. "This is a great way to bring awareness to our community."

"I love that our principal, Mr. Shappee, turned this challenge into a school-wide event," says 5th grade teacher Jennifer Penoyer. "It's a great way to get students to contribute to a good cause. We are raising that level of awareness and altruism for the next generation and showing students that even spare change can add up to big contributions and big results."

The kids at school were all for it!  "Of course, what student doesn’t want to see their teacher get drenched in ice water?" asks Penoyer.

Copper Canyon students were asked to bring in all their spare change on Friday to donate to the cause. PTA members went from classroom to classroom, collecting donations, large and small.

"It tells everyone it is about more than water on our heads," says 6th grader Rachel Westfall. "It's about helping people with a terrible disease."

When the time arrived, students, parents and staffers alike gathered on the school's main playground to watch the Ice Bucket Challenge go down!

True to his word, Shappee let PTA President Dona Whitney dump a huge bucket of ice water on his head. The teachers were also great sports, as they were doused as well, one after the other!

"It's a small way in which I can demonstrate to our students how becoming involved with causes can be fun and, in the end, have an impact," says Shappee.

PTA members counted up all the coins donated by the students. And at the end of the day, Copper Canyon raised just over $1,500 for ALS! Way to go, Copper Canyon.

"Copper Canyon is an amazing school, with an amazing staff, students, and parents who I have witnessed time and time again rise up to any challenge or cause," says Shappee. "It is truly a school that sets a great example for other schools."

Nationally, donations as a result of the Ice Bucket Challenge have exceeded all expectations of the ALS Association.  And every penny counts. As of last week, The Association has received more than $100 million, with donations ranging from under one dollar to $200,000.

ALS stands for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. It is a progressive, neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. It's also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease.

You can find out more about the ALS Association online.