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Wheaton Academy student organizes basketball skills camp to aid four classmates

Wheaton Academy's Brandon Ruggles is setting up a basketball skills camp so that four classmates can attend a leadership camp in the summer. (Photo submitted by Holly Ruggles)

Wheaton Academy's Brandon Ruggles is setting up a basketball skills camp so that four classmates can attend a leadership camp in the summer. (Photo submitted by Holly Ruggles)

There is no “wait ‘til next year” attitude for Wheaton Academy junior Brandon Ruggles and he is setting up a basketball skills clinic to help the aid of four classmates.

Ruggles transferred from Wheaton Warrenville South last year and was so impressed with South’s J. Kyle Braid Leadership Foundation that he helped start the foundation at his new school.

Since the start of the WA chapter of the foundation came after the school’s budget was approved, it was not able to fund four sophomore WA students who qualified for the foundation’s weeklong leadership camp in Colorado.

Ruggles, who attended the Colorado camp when he was at South, said it was a “life changing” experience and wants to try to raise $6,000 so that Nathan Houlihan, Nathan Lopez, Marissa Gagliano and Betsy Jones can attend.

He is helping to put together the J. Kyle Braid One-Day Skills Camp on Memorial Day at Wheaton Academy. Grades one through five will run from 3 p.m to 4:30 p.m. and cost $45 and sixth-through-10th graders will run from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and cost $60 with the money going to The JKB Foundation.

Running the skills portion of the camp is Tim Rusthoven, the all-time leading scorer at Wheaton Academy, WA coach Paul Ferguson, Downers Grove North coach Jim Thomas and M14 Hoops Director and former Rwanda National Team member Matt Miller.

Ruggles said the JKB group funds half of the money for the leadership camp in Colorado and the respective schools provides the other half. Despite knowing his school had not budgeted this money, he still wanted the four students to go to Colorado this summer.

“We could have done this next year, but I didn’t want to do that,” Ruggles said. “I only have one year left after this and I would like to see these kids do something now. I told (the Braid Foundation) and I told coach Ferguson and I told myself that I was going to figure out a way to raise this money and I refuse to fail and not raise the money. These kids deserve this opportunity and I want to give it to them.”

Ruggles said his father, Dave, and Ferguson have been instrumental in setting up the camp thanks to their various high school and AAU/travel contacts.

For information on signing up to the camp, contact druggles@mercurymechanical.net. Donations can be made to Wheaton Academy c/o Mercury Mechanical, 152 N. Railroad Ave., Northlake IL 60164.

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