New superintendent nominates cheer, Hyline and varsity football teams for ALS challenge


When new superintendent Dr. Tom Leonard heard about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, there was no doubt in his mind that he would do it. But he wanted to add a twist: to get students involved. So on Aug. 21, in the Chaparral Stadium, Dr. Leonard, head football coach Todd Dodge and members of the cheer, Hyline, and varsity football team all completed the challenge together.

“I’m all for the ALS cause,” Dr. Leonard said.  “[The challenge] is also good for spirit and it gets people to smile. If you watch me in the video I don’t flinch. I just took it. But it did mess up my hair.”

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a neurodegenerative disease that affects cells in the brain and spinal cord, causing loss of muscle control which can lead to paralysis and eventually death.

The videos, which end in a dare to complete the challenge in 24 hours or donate $100, began to pop up across social media in mid-July of people pouring buckets of ice over their heads to help raise awareness for the disease. The trend soon went viral, with new nominations setting off a chain reaction throughout the country. It wasn’t long before the internet fad arrived in Westlake.

Many of the students participating had been previously nominated by friends and already done the challenge. However, Hyline senior Madison Knight didn’t mind repeating the bone-chilling act.

“I knew it was for such a good cause so I had no problem doing it again,” Madison said. “I’m glad the superintendent nominated us because it was fun doing it with my team.”

After the ice was poured and everyone was soaked, the participants nominated Lake Travis High School to complete the challenge.

“I had lunch with [Dr.] Brad Lancaster, the superintendent of Lake Travis,” Dr. Leonard said. “So I made sure he knew about it. The last I heard he was going back and putting something together.”