It is a sad time in our community knowing that Coahoma Early College High School will no longer exist.
I understand why the Mississippi Department of Education could not provide funding to CECHS. I can also understand why the Clarksdale Municipal and Coahoma County school districts did not sign the memorandum of understanding (MOU) that would have kept CECHS open.
Everyone did what they felt was best and no one was at fault.
However, that does not change the fact that CECHS’s closing is sad in many ways.
As 2016 graduate Untareo Johnson, who went on to play linebacker for East Mississippi Community College and Bethune-Cookman University, pointed out, CECHS is the only historically black high school in the county. That means something.
There were also many great memories on the football field and basketball court.
CECHS always hosted a holiday basketball tournament and Clarksdale and Coahoma County high schools participated.
All three local public high schools seemed to bring out the best in each other.
CCHS and CECHS were division rivals in Class 2A for many years.
I remember when a little less than a decade ago LaTerry Henderson transferred from CCHS to CECHS after his freshman year.
The transfer caused him to sit out his sophomore year.
Henderson came back his junior year and helped CECHS win on CCHS’s court.
Our teams brought out the competitive fire in each other.
I remember when CECHS hosted its final holiday tournament in 2019 and the boys won the tournament.
CECHS defeated Coahoma County en route to the tournament championship.
Coahoma County went on to win the state championship that season.
After CECHS won the tournament, I remember asking coach Corney George about how his team beat other good teams. His response was how that meant they were pretty good, too.
George respected his opponents to the point where he knew his team had to play well to win.
There was a brief period of time where Clarksdale refused to play CECHS in any sport.
Fortunately, that is long water under the bridge and the two schools patched up their differences nearly 10 years ago.
They started playing one another at the beginning of 2012 in The Pinnacle.
That was back when Micheal Stringer was the CECHS coach. His good friend Farrington Hill was and still is the Clarksdale High coach.
I remember how happy Stringer and Hill were that they were able to come together after that game.
The two schools split games that night.
The Clarksdale girls and Coahoma Early College boys won.
We all have our memories from CECHS athletics. These are moments that stood out to me.
I am sure if you talk to 10 people about moments they remember from CECHS sports, you will hear 10 different answers.
That is fine because CECHS still means a lot to everyone.
One thing we all can take comfort in is, even though the school is closed, the memories and accomplishments can never be taken away.