When one door closes, another one opens.
The story of one school in southeast Queens is coming to an end, according to the institution’s founder, who said financial hardships were at fault — but the site will not remain vacant for long.
Founder Reverend Floyd Flake — who is also the pastor of the Greater Allen African Methodist Episcopal Cathedral in Jamaica — said the Allen Christian School in Jamaica will shut its doors at the end of the current school year. However, he said school officials are determined to see the building become the home of “a quality middle school that will continue to serve the neighborhood for many years to come.”
“This is one of the most difficult decisions that I have ever made in my life,” said Flake, who started the school 30 years ago with his wife, Elaine. “It’s like losing part of your being. It has brought great sadness to me and those who’ve had the privilege of getting an excellent education in this Christian school.”
More than 560 students — ranging from pre-kindergarten though eighth grade — will need to find new facilities. But officials hope Allen Christian’s sad ending may mean another school’s new beginning.
The Eagle Academy for Young Men of Southeast Queens will inhabit the empty nest come September, which officials say will dramatically increase the ability to serve the community.
“Moving into a larger facility will allow Eagle Academy to build upon its existing model of improving educational outcomes for our young men of color,” said David Banks, president and CEO of The Eagle Academy Foundation.
The academy currently enrolls sixth and seventh graders from southeast Queens. However, Banks said they share a building with “a much larger” I.S. 59.
Now, officials say the Eagle’s new spacious school — located at 171-10 Linden Boulevard — will allow for specialized classrooms, science labs, technology, art studio, athletics, music classes — and possibly even increased enrollment until the school reaches its full size, serving almost 600 inner city young men.