For sports enthusiasts, March is an exciting month. The excitement of the NCAA Tournament keeps even the casual fan glued to the edge of their seat until the final buzzer sounds. While it’s easy to get caught up in the players, it often comes down to the coaches and the belief that every talented student athlete also has the potential to excel in a professional career beyond basketball. The NCAA has made this clear throughout March by running special advertisements with this message: “There are over 380,000 student athletes, and most of us go pro in something other than sports.”
While the game matters, life after the game is what matters the most.
A microcosm of this message presents itself in a new documentary film about a legendary high school basketball program, whose off-the-court record of graduating all but two players is even arguably more impressive than the near-perfect on-the-court track record of 24 state basketball championships.
The Street Stops Here – a compelling documentary about Coach Bob Hurley, Sr. and his near-perfect track record of state basketball championships – will air for the first time nationally tonight (March 31st) at 10:00 p.m. on PBS. The film synopsis states:
The Street Stops Here is a portrait of the nation’s best high school basketball coach, Bob Hurley, Sr., and his career-long struggle to inspire and motivate those around him in order to keep the doors of a poor, inner-city Catholic school open. He’s tallied 900-plus victories for a school that’s won 24 state championships. Hurley’s sent all but two of the hundreds of players he’s coached to college, a feat that truly shows what matters to him most.
No high school in America has accomplished so much with so little. For more than 50 years, the tiny, broken-down school has provided a quality, Catholic education for Jersey City’s lower-income families. Sustaining St. Anthony’s mission is a constant struggle, as financial instability threatens to close its doors annually.
Sadly, St. Anthony’s plight is an all-to-familiar story. A parochial school, providing a high quality education to low-income families – families who would otherwise be relegated to their underperforming neighborhood schools – struggles to keep its doors open because of education policies that disadvantage private providers.
In the nation’s capital, the storyline is much the same. The administration is phasing-out the successful D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, which provides scholarships of $7,500 to low-income children to attend a private school of their choice. That decision has not only had a negative impact on District families, but it has also been devastating for some D.C. schools. A number of parochial schools in the District may be forced to close down since enrollments will continue to decline as the program slowly dies. As a result, hundreds of children attending these schools may be forced to return to the underperforming and unsafe D.C. public school system.
The Street Stops Here, which was screened at Heritage this spring, is just one example of the uphill battle so many families and schools face to guarantee children in their community have access to a quality education. It’s a must-see for anyone interested in the fight to ensure all children have a bright educational future.