By: David Lisk, IMSA News Staff Writer
This past Tuesday, October 09, many students wore sandals or tennis shoes without socks for Sockless Solitude Day, an event sponsored by SPARK. The students’ goal went sockless to honor former IMSA principal Dr. McLaren, who is currently undergoing treatment for ALS. Dr. McLaren never liked socks and putting on socks was one of the first activities that he lost to the disease.
A similar event was held last year on Dr. McLaren’s birthday, October 6. For the occasion, students spent the day without socks, signed a birthday card, and sang happy birthday to their principal. This year’s Sockless Solitude Day was lower-key as SPARK wanted to emphasize Dr. McLaren’s accomplishments and long period of service at IMSA.
So what is SPARK? SPARK is a newly chartered club whose goal is to increase awareness and raise money for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS through partnerships, research, internal education, and service. SPARK is an extension of Shine On, a club originally started as a way to honor and support a former IMSA senior who developed Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Sockless Solitude Day is just one of the events that SPARK has planned for this year. IMSA students can anticipate the upcoming and very exciting SkyRise Chicago fundraiser. During this event, participants will climb to the top of the Willis Tower to raise money for the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago where Dr. McLaren once stayed.