In a boisterous assembly at West Lawn Park, Chicago Bulls players officially crowned RH Lee Elementary School as the 2013-14 recipient of their "Adopt-A-School" program.
Along with BMO Harris Bank, the Bulls annually support one local school with the hope of inspiring academic excellence and superior attendance among students. Located in West Lawn, RH Lee serves 900 students in grades Pre-K-8.
"We are thrilled to be partnering with both BMO Harris and the Bulls as we work towards college and career readiness," said Lee principal Lisa Epstein. "Both organizations are terrific examples of the integrity and hard work which the Lee community values and instills in students each day."
Receiving this distinction was a team effort for Lee. Several members of the school community collaborated on the application, including PE teacher Michael Smiles, who created a video, photo montage and song parody showcasing the connections Lee has made with the West Lawn community.
"The video had creative information on how Lee positively affects the community," said Smiles. "We included photos from our community vegetable garden, after-school cooking classes, summer camp, food drive, and other recent activities."
Some of the students in the video were on hand for this week's celebration, which included appearances by Benny the Bull and the Jesse White tumblers, as well as Chicago Bulls players and representatives from BMO Harris Bank. The celebration was held at West Lawn Park, and the 250 students in attendance included those who have achieved the highest attendance rates so far this year.
"We appreciate being allowed to hold our assembly in West Lawn Park," said Principal Epstein. "They are wonderful community partners and we look forward to continuing this ongoing positive relationship."
Prior to the assembly, representatives from BMO Harris Bank presented an informative money lesson to 8th-graders, as well as those students who are part of Lee's after-school financial literacy group. And as part of the prestige of the "Adopt-A-School" program, one lucky student will have the chance to act as ball boy or ball girl during a Bulls game this season.
"The boy or girl who receives this honor will be someone who has a high rate of attendance, has given back to their community, and has maintained good grades or shown major academic improvement this year," said Principal Epstein.
Lee will also receive monetary support from BMO Harris and the Bulls, which will be used for both facility upgrades and increased access to technology, including new laptops, iPads and smart boards to support the rigorous demands of the Common Core State Standards.
"It is truly an honor for Lee to be partnered with BMO Harris and the Chicago Bulls," said Michael Smiles. "Through this partnership, our students will have the opportunity to further their college and career readiness through advancements in technology."