Community’s newest additions

Eighth graders unload off of yellow school buses in the parking lot at the back of Community. They are excited and curious, scanning the scene and fellow students as they push through the black doors, facing northwest. As they walk up the stairs, jazz creeps around the corners and becomes more prevalent as the students walk into the black auditorium. Most of these students have been in here before, but now they are experiencing the school in a new light; these are the eight graders that beat the odds and got into Community High School.

Through late January and February, eighth graders and their parents are in the process of determining what school to attend come next September. Students in the AAPS district have the option to either go to their ‘home school’ — or the school that is within a student’s zone depending on where their family lives — or to go to a high school outside of their designated district. The ‘big three’ public high schools in Ann Arbor, which are Pioneer, Huron, and Skyline high schools, accept applications for students wanting to transfer schools if they have space.

Community High School, a small public school located in the Kerrytown neighborhood north of downtown Ann Arbor, works a bit differently. The school accepts students through a lottery-based system, in which each applicant is given a number within the range of the total number of applicants; numbers one through 132 are accepted and those who receive a larger number are put on the waitlist.

So what is the point of applying? Community differs from the big three in many ways aside from size that make it particularly attractive to students. Jenna Wright, a junior at Community that transferred from Skyline going into sophomore year, described what sets Community apart.

“I think that there is a lot to do [at Community],” Wright said. “Our clubs are so much fun. Everybody talks to each other, like even if you don’t know people, you will still end up talking to them somehow. If you want to try new things, there are a lot of opportunities at Community. You have CRs where you can go out and do things [you are interested in] and you have more time in the day.”

Community held an orientation for students that were accepted, dubbed ‘Connect with Community,’ on Tuesday, February 28 to give eighth graders an idea of how the school is run and to sway kids on the fence to commit to enrolling. Students were able to go to forums and ask questions to forum members relating to the school’s academics and quirks.

With the commit to Community date rapidly approaching, both those who were accepted and those with a low number on the waitlist will have to decide: will I be a rainbow zebra?