CHATHAM — For the second consecutive year alumni are holding a bowling fundraiser to aid students at Martha Ruggles Elementary School.
The Ruggles Alumni Association is sponsoring the event from 5-8 p.m. Saturday at the Brunswick Zone XL in south suburban Homewood. The cost is $15, which includes bowling shoes and food.
Last year, Ruggles alumni raised $2,000, which was used to help build a computer lab at Ruggles Elementary, 7831 S. Prairie Ave., according to Luther Purnell, a 54-year-old Chatham resident and treasurer of the alumni association. Purnell hopes to equal that figure this year.
"We never want to raise less money than we did the previous year. Last year about 75 people attended and it was like a class reunion," said Purnell, who attended Ruggles from kindergarten to seventh grade before moving out of town. "As far as how the money will be used this year, we leave that up to the principal."
Stephen Parker, interim principal at Ruggles, was unavailable for comment.
Purnell added that with all the budget cuts this year by Chicago Public Schools, now more than ever, schools need extra help.
"We want to give back to a school that has given so much to its alumni," Purnell said. "I don't want our kids to be without toilet paper or other basic necessities because of these budget cuts."
Ruggles is on academic probation and had previously been considered by CPS for closure.
And that has alumni like Purnell worried.
"I can still remember when I was in first grade how we sat in a circle and learned how to read," recalled Purnell, who works as a lab technician. "I cherish many fond memories about the school, which is why if it should ever close, I would be devastated."
Fellow alum Amelia Flemming, an analyst in the Chicago office of the U.S. Department of Justice, said she also has fond memories of Ruggles.
"I graduated from Ruggles in 1973, and if CPS should ever close Ruggles it would be disheartening and a disservice to the community," said Flemming, president of the association. "My entire family attended Ruggles so it's more than a school to me."
Flemming said she started the association after first chatting with other alumni regularly on Facebook.
"That's where the conversation started and where it continues today," she added.
For more information about the bowling event, call Flemming at 708-799-4749.