It’s a big day for the 481 students who have applied for 132 seats in Community High School’s 2015-16 ninth grade.
The random drawing was conducted this morning, and results will be posted at 3 p.m. on the windows of the alternative school at 410 N. Division, as well as on its website.
At the same time, it’s a sad day for the CHS staff that sat in a locked room with a box of names and a box of numbers, randomly selecting the freshman class.
“It’s the best way to do it because it offers the most transparency,” said CHS Dean Marci Tuzinsky. “It requires more manpower. It’s three hours times six of us here, but we do worry about going to a computerized system if it wouldn’t offer the same transparency. Because these are real people with real lives, we feel like we owe it to them to do it in real time.”
“And personally,” said counselor John Boshoven, who randomly selected the 481 names one by one from a box, as counselor Brian Williams picked that person’s lottery number. “It’s terribly personal.”
Present to observe and help with the lottery were the dean, two counselors, three secretaries, two students, and a parent. The students’ names were on business cards of the same size, as were the cards with the numbers on them.
Tuzinsky said people have been asking for a computerized system because it would be so much easier.
“But then there’s that mystery of what happens behind the computer,” she said.
Boshoven said the lottery used to be done in public, with hundreds of people watching.
“You had a hundred people cheering and 200 people crying,” he said. “We finally said, `We have to get rid of this system.’”
Students whose numbers are 133-481 will be placed on a waiting list.
Christina Hicks, secretary to the dean, said that there’s no way of knowing how many of those students will be called. One year, she said, every single student chosen in the lottery went on to enroll at Community. Another year, she was able to call well into the waiting list.
Nancy Dean, who has a sophomore at CHS, was an observer of the lottery process this morning. She said she could relate to the way some parents and students will feel later today because her older son, now a senior at Skyline, was not chosen in the draft four years ago.
“He would have done well here and it would have been good for him,” said Dean. “But Ann Arbor is a great district and he’s done well at Skyline, where he’s enjoyed the health and medicine magnet.”
Senior Ella Steiger said she knows some eighth graders at her younger brother’s school who are eagerly awaiting today’s results. But she was never nervous about it.
“From the seventh grade on, I told people I was going to Community, so when my mom told me my number was 56, I was like, `Yeah,’” said Ella, who wanted a personalized high school education. “It’s been really incredible. I’m so glad I got to spend the last four years of my life here. I’m going to miss it a lot next year. I know the type of freedom and everything I was given at Community is going to help me in every year to come.”
Tuzinsky said it’s sad she won’t get to meet all the students whose names were called one after another Tuesday.
“But we’re also lucky to be in Ann Arbor,” she said. “These are all great schools here.”
Added Hicks: “We wish we could take them all.”
Senior Ella says she just knew four years ago that should would have a low number in the CHS lottery.