Ice bucket event for ALS a hit with Warren Schools

WARREN – The ALS?Ice Bucket Challenge found its way to Warren as Warren City Schools Superintendent Steve Chiaro, Warren G. Harding High School Principal Dante Capers and football coach Steve Arnold took a chilling.

As a part of the district’s Back-to-School Celebration at Courthouse Square on Monday, Chiaro said he answered a challenge issued by one of his former students.

“What happened was (Harding boys basketball coach) Andy Vlajkovich and his team took the Ice Bucket Challenge, and at the end, I was challenged by (current Harding senior) Shondell Jackson,” Chiaro said. “So we made arrangements to do the challenge during our Back-to-School celebration.”

Chiaro, Arnold and Capers were doused with ice water by Chiaro’s son, Santino Chiaro, Board of Education president Andre Coleman, Jackson and Warren Mayor Doug Franklin.

A viral campaign that has taken over social media, the Ice Bucket Challenge is designed to raise awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis – also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. After getting doused with ice water, the person taking the challenge then issues the same challenge to other friends or family. Once challenged, a person has 24 hours to either get splashed and donate $10 to ALS research or decline the water and donate $100.

According to the ALS Association, the challenge has raised more than $22.9 million from July 29 through Aug. 19.

According to the ALS Association, ALS is a ”progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body.”

The condition leads to loss of muscle control, and sometimes eventual total paralysis, of the patient, and is fatal.

After Chiaro took the challenge, he issued challenges to Franklin and Warren G. Harding Athletic Director Bill Nicholson. Chiaro said Franklin took the challenge Monday and Nichsolson followed suit Tuesday.

Chiaro said one of his major goals since taking over as superintendent in July is to encourage both students and teachers to embrace challenges. Whether personally or professionally, Chiaro said that accepting challenges is the first step to growth.

“This challenge thing is all about getting people talking and that’s how you start to make change,” Chiaro, who said he reached out to school administrators to match all donations made by school officials, said. “I got challenged, and how could I not accept it? Things like this are fun, they help build a sense of community and they raise some money for a good cause.”