Possible Northside High closure fuels passion - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Possible Northside High closure fuels passion

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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NORTH MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

As many as 13 Shelby County Schools are on the chopping block and Superintendent Dorsey Hopson is expected to present his recommendations to the school board Tuesday evening.

MORE: Northside community rallies to keep school open

One of the schools in jeopardy is Northside High, a school rich in history, graduating doctors to state representatives.

"How you going to bus some North Memphis kids all the way to Hamilton? said Margarette Bland, Northside 2001 alumnae. "Them folks are going to cut up, just because they are not from out there."

Passion fuels a fine line, when it comes to hairy subjects like education. In talking to clients and employees at Swag's Barber Shop off Jackson, everyone had something to say about the possible closure of Northside High School.

"I'm able to cut hair," said Dennis Ross,  2002 Northside High alumnus. "I learned what I'm doing today. Part of what I'm doing now is what I've learned from Northside is cutting hair."

"It was in the neighborhood, you know?," Bland added. "It was the neighborhood school for everybody to go to. They knew each other. It was our comfort zone."

Proposed Closures for the 2014-15 School Year

Bland said schools are the backbone of a community. In this neighborhood, Klondike Elementary students would normally feed into Northside High. Ross said this community has changed over the years, impoverished with more families moving away.

"When I was growing up the attendance, as far as attendance was very low when I was coming up and to my knowledge the attendance is still low to this day," Ross said.

Many Northside High alumni say closing of a neighborhood school is often to the detriment of an entire community. One customer said a school's survival can only happen when students want to go to school.

MORE: Riverview supporters hope to keep school open
MORE: Hopson discusses expected closure of 13 SCS schools

"My school was Kingsbury," said Dennis Rogers. "My mama didn't want me to go to Kingsbury, she wanted me to have the best education possible she sent me to Germantown."

"I'm a business owner, I have to give my customers something that encourages them to come to my business," added Kenneth Taylor, a 1991 Eudora, Ark., High School 1991 alumnus. "So you do something with a school you don't close it down."

This is the greatest concern for many families in North Memphis. The old Lincoln Junior High School on South Orleans sat vacant for more than a decade. In 2001, FOX13 News talked with neighbors about the effect of a dilapidated school in the neighborhood, they called the school a breeding ground for trash and vagrants.

Now, once again the Shelby County Schools board is planning to close another neighborhood school in a community struggling to educate, survive, and believe in a school where this year's senior class may be its last.

"I got four technicians, all of them graduated from Northside," Taylor said. "Good representation if you really want to talk about an awesome future."

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