NEWBERRY — The 2014 school year had a chilly start at Newberry Elementary School as second-grader Gaillard Smith challenged his Montessori teacher Hayli Downs and NES Principal Reggie Wicker to the ALS ice/cold water challenge.
At 1:30 p.m. the school gathered to watch Downs and Wicker go through with the challenge.
“This says a lot that Gaillard would think so much of us to issue this challenge and marks a great way to kick off our school year at NES,” Wicker said.
Gaillard’s cousin challenged him to the ice water cold water challenge to benefit research into ALS.
“I had to do it and the water was so cold,” Gaillard said.
He thought of people he wanted to share the challenge with, including his brother.
“Mr. Wicker has done a lot of funny stuff over the years so I thought he would go through with it,” Gaillard said. “And I just wanted to see something funny happen to Mrs. Downs on the first day of school.”
As part of the challenge, Wicker issued a challenge to all elementary school principals in the Newberry County School District and to Dr. Beth Brooks, director of Elementary Education, to take part in the cold water challenge.
At NES these events promote school spirit and Wicker thanked Downs for being a team player and participating in the challenge with him. She said the water was cold but actually refreshing on a muggy August afternoon.
“I was very proud of Gaillard when he made the challenge. He has a big heart and I knew he was doing it for a good cause,” Downs said. “It made me feel special that he chose to challenge me and I am glad I accepted.”
No stranger to fundraisers, Downs has done benefits for Spina Bifida, a disease her brother has lived with for 31 years.
“I have never had ice water poured on me though,” she said. “That was a first.”