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Hales Franciscan Alumni, Parents Raising Funds To Keep School Open

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Alumni and parents of students at Hales Franciscan High School are launching a fund-raising drive in an attempt to try to prevent it from closing for at least a year.

They hope to raise $1 million dollars in three weeks, which they say would allow Hales to open for the fall semester on Sept. 19.

Interim Principal Anthony Daniels-Halisi said closing to reorganize in the coming year was the "responsible" thing to do.

A year ago, the school remained open despite a $300,000 fundraising drive fell short. The school's enrollment has been as high as 200 in recent years, but had enrolled only 34 students for the coming school year before its board pulled the plug last week. Despite that, Alumni Association President Brandon Davis Sr. said he sees reason for hope and has "been in touch" with "numerous" potential benefactors.


Hales, a Franciscan school not affiliated with the Catholic Archdiocese, has a motto of "Unto Perfect Manhood," a phrase alumni stressed at the news conference.

It has done well on the basketball court. Despite an enrollment of 36, it made the Class 2A final four this past spring and won championships in 2003 and 2011.

It also has had good fortune in past fundraising efforts, despite last year's disappointment. Its most prominent recent donor was Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan, who donated $5 million to Hales in 2007, but said alumni would have to step up if he were to make additional donations.

Neither Jordan nor his sons are Hales alumni.

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