CHICAGO (CBS) – A Catholic high school on the South Side was showing off some new buses to help students in need, and they got a special blessing from Cardinal Francis George on Monday.
CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli reports Leo High School has been educating young men in the Auburn-Gresham community since 1926, but in recent years just getting to school has been difficult for many Leo students.
Starting Monday, that trip to school should be a bit easier for some.
Cardinal George visited Leo on Monday to bless two new additions to the school’s fleet of buses. The new buses were donated to the school by its alumni club.
The new buses will be used to pick up young men who live in the often-dangerous neighborhood surrounding the school. That way, they can have safe transportation to class.
George said the buses were needed, because there are some students who simply can’t get to school easily.
“It takes too long, and this expedites their ability to come, and in a sense it extends the school’s reach,” he said.
The buses also will be used to take members of the Leo boxing team and other athletes to the school’s numerous sporting events.
When she’s not holding a heavy bag as a boxing coach at Leo, Kimberly Hickey teaches math. She said the new buses will make a major difference in the lives of students.
“I think it’s very important, because I have kids first period that come in, and because they’re not able to get to school on time, they’re missing a large chunk of academics. So it’s very important that we have transportation for the kids to come in,” she said.
While at the school, the cardinal also met with Leo graduate Miles Turner, who was shot during his senior year last October, and left partially paralyzed.
Turner threw himself on his cousin last fall to protect him from gunfire, and barely survived.
In May, Turner was able to attend prom while still recovering from five gunshot wounds. At the time, he said he could only remember “me just falling, and people yelling and screaming my name.”
Miles left the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago on May 3, just in time for the prom later that day, but only after weeks of strenuous treatment.
“Learning how to sit up again, how to do certain stuff, bend my legs again, stretch my legs out,” he says of his rehabilitation. “Basically, all the stuff that’s got to do with my legs and lower body.”
Turner graduated in June.
His story has served as a stark reminder of the dangers students face in the area surrounding Leo.