May 25, 2011
Basketball Power Rice High In Harlem To Close

NEW YORK — When the news hit that Rice High School would close on June 30, the common theme was disbelief.

“I’m still trying to digest the situation to be honest with you, said Dwayne Mitchell, head hoops coach at the famed basketball power in Harlem. I just can’t see it with the tradition of the school, not even just the basketball people, but the tradition of what it’s done for the community and traditionally, what it’s done for the kids in general.

“Right now, I’m not buying into the thought that Rice is closed.”

Barring a last-minute surprise, Rice ended its storied basketball history when the Raiders lost to Christ the King in the CHSAA Class AA championship game on Sunday. The school will close the books with eight city titles.

Rice, a Catholic prep school founded in 1938, has been called home by basketball stars like Kemba Walker and Felipe Lopez, but tradition couldn’t keep enrollment numbers from falling or keep the school afloat financially. Despite word that the doors would be closing for good at the end of the school year, Mitchell and assistant coach Kimani Young said that there are still efforts to save the school, including moving to one of two middle schools, All Saints School on 130th Street or St. Charles Borromeo School on 142nd.

A statement issued Monday by the Board of Trustees said: “Economic realities have forced this painful, difficult and emotional decision. Rice High School has been operating at a cumulative budget deficit of millions of dollars for over a decade. The school hung on as long as it could to continue fulfilling its core mission of educating young men.”

Chris Fouch, a redshirt sophomore at Drexel who played on Rice’s state championship team in 2008, said that rumors of the school’s closure had been swirling even when he was a student. He heard the news when someone contacted him via Twitter.

“I can’t believe it honestly, Fouch said. Just thinking back to when I went there and others that went there before me, I just know it was a really good school. It’s a shame to see that happen.”

In its statement, the Board of Trustees said enrollment had dived by 44 percent, and donations, normally a dependable source of funds, had also taken a hit. Staggering operational costs, coupled with failed attempts by the Board of Directors to find financial support, forced the school’s closure, according to the statement.

But for those affected, the decision is still tough to swallow — and Mitchell, for one, is holding out hope that something can be done.

“There are definitely people reaching out and saying this is unreal and asking what can we do to keep Rice open, the coach said. Those calls are definitely coming in. Right now, things are so new and so premature. It’s pretty much dealing with the fact that the decision has been made to close Rice High School.”

Basketball Power Rice High In Harlem To Close

ESPN.com, Christopher Hunt

http://espn.go.com/blog/new-york/high-school/post/_/id/2257/closing-of-rice-high-school-rocks-harlem

NEW YORK — When the news hit that Rice High School would close on June 30, the common theme was disbelief. “I’m still trying to digest the situation to be honest with you, said Dwayne Mitchell, head hoops coach at the famed basketball power in Harlem. I just can’t see it with the tradition of the school, not even just the basketball people, but the tradition of what it’s done for the community and traditionally, what it’s done for the kids in general. “Right now, I’m not buying into the thought that Rice is closed.” Barring a last-minute surprise, Rice ended its storied basketball history when the Raiders lost to Christ the King in the CHSAA Class AA championship game on Sunday. The school will close the books with eight city titles. Rice, a Catholic prep school founded in 1938, has been called home by basketball stars like Kemba Walker and Felipe Lopez, but tradition couldn’t keep enrollment numbers from falling or keep the school afloat financially. Despite word that the doors would be closing for good at the end of the school year, Mitchell and assistant coach Kimani Young said that there are still efforts to save the school, including moving to one of two middle schools, All Saints School on 130th Street or St. Charles Borromeo School on 142nd. A statement issued Monday by the Board of Trustees said: “Economic realities have forced this painful, difficult and emotional decision. Rice High School has been operating at a cumulative budget deficit of millions of dollars for over a decade. The school hung on as long as it could to continue fulfilling its core mission of educating young men.” Chris Fouch, a redshirt sophomore at Drexel who played on Rice’s state championship team in 2008, said that rumors of the school’s closure had been swirling even when he was a student. He heard the news when someone contacted him via Twitter. “I can’t believe it honestly, Fouch said. Just thinking back to when I went there and others that went there before me, I just know it was a really good school. It’s a shame to see that happen.” In its statement, the Board of Trustees said enrollment had dived by 44 percent, and donations, normally a dependable source of funds, had also taken a hit. Staggering operational costs, coupled with failed attempts by the Board of Directors to find financial support, forced the school’s closure, according to the statement. But for those affected, the decision is still tough to swallow — and Mitchell, for one, is holding out hope that something can be done. “There are definitely people reaching out and saying this is unreal and asking what can we do to keep Rice open, the coach said. Those calls are definitely coming in. Right now, things are so new and so premature. It’s pretty much dealing with the fact that the decision has been made to close Rice High School.”






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