School communities came together to support an important cause, as students from Sachem High School East, Sachem High School North and Sagamore Middle School walked to raise awareness for ALS and money for the ALS Ride for Life.
It was the first in-person walk that the ALS Ride for Life foundation has held since before the pandemic. Much of the multi-building effort was orchestrated by Sachem High School East’s Student Government officers, including East valedictorian Mackenzie Szlosek, who is responsible for bringing the “ride” to East in her freshman year and has worked diligently to make it a tradition at her school. Additionally, Amanda Campbell secured a police escort for the event, which greatly increased the safety of the participants. She drew a poster for Mrs. Pendergast of her late husband and founder of the ALS Ride for Life foundation, Dr. Christopher Pendergast. Mrs. Pendergast greeted the East students at the start of the walk. The other officers, Anthony Amesti, Meghan Dittmar and Sydney Niemann, helped plan and promote the event as well as personally raised money that helped Mr. Gallo and Mr. Jannace to far exceed the expectations of an event that was limited in scope due to COVID-19 restrictions.
At the walk, ALS patient and survivor Paul Weisman took over in Chris Pendergast’s place as the “leader of the pack.” Mr. Gallo and Mr. Jannace took turns pushing his wheelchair from East to Sagamore to Chippewa, where those participating in the walk were greeted by cheers first from students at Sagamore and then from fifth grade students at Chippewa Elementary School.
The Sagamore eighth graders involved in the walk, along with Mr. Parkinson, raised almost $600, which contributed to our overall donation of $1,600 in memory of Mr. Pendergast’s life.