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Uptown Elementary School Adopted by Chicago Bulls Will Receive Benefits

By Mina Bloom | January 21, 2015 2:29pm
  McCutcheon Elementary School celebrated with an assembly featuring current players and Benny the Bull.
Bulls Adopt Uptown School
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UPTOWN — Chicago Bulls mascot Benny the Bull took a break from rousing the crowd at the United Center this week to put on a show at an Uptown grade school for adoring students.

That's because the professional basketball organization chose McCutcheon Elementary School, 4865 N. Sheridan Road, as its 2014-2015 "Adopt-A-School" partner, which means the school will get facility upgrades and its students will get tickets to Bulls games, ball boy opportunities and team souvenirs, among other benefits. BMO Harris Bank sponsored the partnership.

"We can't even comprehend how lucky we are," said eighth-grader and MC Steven Brooksherring at a school assembly announcing the partnership Tuesday. "We are forever lucky and we will make you proud."

Mina Bloom says the kids were screaming at the top of their lungs:

McCutcheon boasts an enrollment of nearly 500 students ranging from kindergarten to eighth grade. The Uptown school was adopted by the Bulls because of its strong academic and attendance records and its commitment to serving the community, a release said. The program is in its seventh year.

Specifically, math and reading scores have greatly improved and the school has a 95 percent attendance rate, BMO Harris Bank executive Leslie Anderson told the crowd. Students also raised $700 to help needy families, she said.

McCutcheon also recently changed wards. It had been in the 48th ward, which is represented by Ald. Harry Osterman. That changed on Jan. 1, and the school is now considered part of the 46th ward, an area represented by Ald. James Cappleman.

"The two of us are fighting over this school because you have such a wonderful school," Cappleman said at the assembly.

McCutcheon submitted its application in September. A Bulls spokesman declined to provide the number of applicants they received. 

Students, teachers and administrators on Tuesday cheered for not only Benny the Bull and his antics, but also special guests, including current Bulls players Tony Snell and Aaron Brooks as well as former player and Bulls ambassador Bob Love.

"They put a smile on my face," Brooks told reporters after the assembly, referring to McCutcheon students.

Adriana Jimenez, 14, found out the assembly that an essay she penned earned her courtside tickets to a Bulls game. She said she expected that her parents would "scream and jump" once she told them her essay won. 

"Maybe some of us could never get [these opportunities] in our lifetime, but now we can," Jimenez said, adding that the school's partnership with the Bulls is "amazing."

"In my essay I said I wanted to win for my parents as well. They always appreciate me and I wanted to give back."

Despite that Jimenez's family moved from Uptown to Humboldt Park this summer, she has remained at McCutcheon. She told her parents she did not want to leave the Uptown school.

Also at the assembly were the Bulls' professional tumblers. The Incredibulls and the CB Flippersaided by the team's cheerleaders, the Luvabullsperformed risky flips, leaving students in awe. 

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