Students at St. Alban’s Allen Christian School spent their final day in class last week because due to financial difficulties, the school is closing after 30 years, at 171-10 Linden Blvd.
“It was the best school in southeast Queens,” said Monica Campbell, who had been a teacher at the school for 10 years.
“The rapport we built up with our parents and students and the achievements we accomplished have set the standard for schools in the community,” she said.
Campbell walked out of the school at the end of the day with two of her students, whose shirts were covered with the signatures of their friends.
“I’m going to miss my teachers, the activities and my friends,” said Shania Sue.
She and her friend, Ziana Santana, have both made plans to attend different Catholic schools next year before they apply to high schools.
Both girls are heavily involved in school activities and are members of the National Junior Honors Society.
The Rev. Floyd Flake, pastor of the Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral and founder of the school, said the school had to be closed due to financial strains.
“The problem is that it is church-based,” he said recently on NY1. “And so we made a decision that we could no longer take the church’s money and put it in the school while we had the responsibility carrying the church itself. And with two mortgages, we had to make a decision about which one should go.”
“It’s a heartbreak, really, to not operate it going forward because this is a school where my seventh- and eighth-graders are scoring 10 and 11 on the Stanfords and my eighth-graders ... are sought out by just about every high school in Queens,” he said. “It’s been phenomenal.”
The Eagle Academy for Young Men, operated by the 100 Black Men, will move from its current home in IS 59 in Springfield Gardens and take over the Allen school’s building.
Flake said the building has a capacity for 700 students, which will allow the academy to grow from sixth- through eighth-grade all the way up to high school.
“I think that’s great for the boys in southeast Queens,” he said. “They’ve just taken a significant portion of the population that needs to be addressed, and that is under-achieving African-American boys, and I think that is a great thing.”
“If I had to replace it with something, I think this is the best thing in the world,” Flake said.
The Eagle Academy was named last week by Mayor Michael Bloomberg as one of 40 schools leading the way in closing the achievement gap for young black and Latino men and better preparing them for college.
Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4574.
©2012 Community News Group
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