Livin' On The Line ~ The Community High School Line-Up Debacle of 1996

It seemed like a good idea in January,1996: To deal with overwhelming demand for placements at Community High School, AAPS would hold a lottery for the first 50 slots and then the rest could wait in line "for a few days" before the April 1st sign-up date. Except the line started at 8:45 a.m. on Sunday, March 17th when Tappan Middle School student Maisie Wilhelm lined up outside the Balas Building. And they came, and they came and they came, with tents, and cook stations and couches and campfires. Parents set up temporary homes in vans, temporary offices in tents, and a Line-Up headquarters. Hopeful middle-schoolers played Hacky Sack (remember Hacky Sack?), strummed guitars (of course), and exhibited almost-Community High cool.

This being Michigan and March, a late-winter storm hit Ann Arbor on March 20. By March 27, the Ann Arbor News had seen enough of frozen kids and sacrificing parents and called for an end to the Line-Up in favor of an all-lottery system. Apparently the situation got so tense a Community High School student had to remind News readers it was the AAPS and not the students who lined up who caused the Line-Up debacle at Balas. April 1, 1996 finally arrived and a cold and wrapped-up Maisie was officially welcomed by Community High School dean Judy Hamilton Conger. And by April 2, Superintendent John O. Simpson had read enough Letters to the Editor, seen enough images of tents and announced that AAPS would move to a lottery system for filling slots at all three alternative schools. And thus ended another chapter in the colorful history of Community High.

Comments

We were so glad Lydia got into Community. People want smaller schools.
Tbb