LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Fern Creek head coach, James Schooler has been teaching basketball in this community for a long time. “I’ve been blessed to have coached all over the state of Kentucky, and I know a lot of kids from everywhere,” said Schooler. But these days, Schooler is spreading his wings and giving area youth a place to not only work on their game, but also broaden their horizons. “Definitely more than basketball. This is a place of culture and learning,” said Schooler.
Located in the Portland neighborhood the Schooler Prep Academy offers everything from basketball, to a recording studio that will be done soon, television production, and a focus on culture. “I think that one of the best ways for people to express themselves is through the arts. A lot of people find their voice when they’re able to write something down,” said Jou Jou Papailler an instructor within the program.
As you can imagine, an undertaking like this can get expensive and James Schooler has been paying for a lot of this project out of his own pocket, but has come up with some creative ways to fundraise. “One of the ways we wanted to raise money was to sale each backboard, and (former U of L and NFL player) Jamon Brown jumped on it. First off, he’s like, I’m going up there,” said Schooler.
The facility needs some upgrades. The roof above the basketball court leaks along with a laundry list of other maintenance issues that a little love and care will fix, but according to some of the students the program is already making a difference. :I’ve learned so much. Not only about basketball, but about myself," said E’moni Washington, a college freshman who comes back to the gym to work on her game and receive instruction.