UPTOWN — When eighth-graders at Mary E. Courtenay Elementary School face teachers and staff on the school's basketball court Friday, their hardwood battle will be about much more than bragging rights.
Uptown residents and Courtenay eighth-graders Brad Murukurthy and Erin Willingham said they organized the game as part of a service project to raise money for children at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago.
The duo, both members of the school's basketball squad, are charging adults $5 and students $2 to watch the game at the gym, which can hold almost 100 people.
"It's important because these kids are sick. We just want to make their time and stays at the hospital a better time, because it must be hard," Murukurthy said. "Some kids have cancer, leukemia and some very incurable diseases."
The proceeds from the game at Courtenay, 4420 N. Beacon Ave., will go toward sponsoring an eighth-grade student who will participate in the 17th annual Step Up for Kids challenge next month, where participants will climb 80 floors to the top of one of Chicago's tallest buildings, the Aon Center, to raise money for the Children's Hospital.
Ten kids and 10 staff members will square off on the court Friday for what the organizers expect to be a competitive match.
Courtenay girls basketball coach Candace Schlesser and middle school teacher Joseph Fisher are two staff members Murukurthy said students should key in on during the game because of their prowess on the court.
On the students' side, however, "we have a lot of stars that can lead this team," Murukurthy said, name dropping himself, Willingham and one of their teammates Johann Jean.
"We have our eyes on a win," Murukurthy said.
But they still have their eyes on what counts.
"I just felt like helping the kids at the Children's Hospital because some of them have a hard time there," Willingham said.
The Staff vs. Students Game at Courtenay Elementary School tips off at 1:30 p.m. Friday. Members of the Uptown community are welcome, as are students and staff at Courtenay.