Upper Room Christian Academy closes high school, middle school

Staff writerOctober 9, 2012 

Upper Room Christian senior Rodney Purvis (5) brings the ball up court during the first half.

GREG MINTEL — newsobserver.com

Rodney Purvis will play basketball this season but his former high school won't.

Upper Room Christian Academy in Raleigh is eliminating its high school and middle school grades, the school's executive director John Amanchukwu said Tuesday.

The preschool and elementary school remain open, and "thriving," Amanchukwu said, but a lack of funding caused the school to shut down its high school and middle school classes.

Purvis starred at Upper Room for four years and made the McDonald's All-American team last March. Purvis earned a scholarship to N.C. State, where he's expected to start at guard for the Wolfpack this season.

Purvis was initially declared ineligible in August by the NCAA while URCA was under "extended review" by the NCAA.

As a member of the first graduating class at Upper Class, Purvis was the first student to go through the NCAA eligibility process. Purvis won his appeal with the NCAA on Sept. 17, after providing details for four years worth of course work.

Amanchukwu said the issue with the NCAA and Purvis is not why the school is downsizing.

"There's no link to the situation with the NCAA," Amanchukwu said. "That had nothing to do with our decision."

Upper Room will still have about 240 students, Amanchukwu said, enrolled in preschool and through the fifth grade. The decision to eliminate the middle and high school grades will affect 38 students, Amanchukwu said.

Upper Room opened in southeast Raleigh in 2001 and Purvis' class, which included three other students, was the first to graduate from the school in 2012.

During the NCAA review, Amanchukwu cringed at the characterization as Upper Room as a "diploma mill" for basketball recruits.

"Let's be clear, our record showed that we were far from a factory," Amanchukwu said. "We had two Division I athletes. The rest of our students were in a different category."

Upper Room finished the 2011-12 season with a 24-16 record and won the Great Carolina HIgh School Athletic Association title.

Purvis averaged 26.1 points and 6.7 rebounds per game for coach Avie Lester's team. Forward Tyrek Coger is also considered a Division I prospect. Coger, who's in the class of 2013, initially committed to Missouri but has since backed off. Coger transferred to Quality Edcucation Academy in Winston-Salem during the summer.

Upper Room fielded varsity teams in boys and girls basketball and volleyball last year.

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