“You’re able to find exactly what you’re looking for”: Why Arbor Prep has been the perfect fit for Eliza

Buddy Moorehouse
Jan 2, 2024 1:54:25 PM

Eliza Bush didn’t know anything about charter schools when she was growing up. Living in the relatively affluent Washtenaw County community of Dexter, she had attended the local traditional school district her entire life.


In eighth grade, though, as she started to look ahead to her high school years, Eliza was looking for something different. She wanted a school that could help her excel both academically and athletically – and she found it at Arbor Preparatory High School in Ypsilanti.

“I kind of heard about the basketball team was really good, and I've been a team manager ever since I was in like fifth or sixth grade,” said Eliza, who is now a junior at Arbor Prep. “So that kind of introduced me to the school and I got to meet some of the girls and they talked about the school and they talked really highly about it and so I was really interested in coming.”

The next step was convincing her mom and dad that Arbor Prep was the right choice. Once they saw the school, that was an easy sell.

“I kind of convinced both of my parents because I told them that I really like this school,” Eliza said. “I know it's a far drive, but can I go? They agreed to it because they got to meet some of the girls too and they saw how close they were and just how great it was.”

Another benefit of Arbor Prep in Eliza’s mind was the school’s diversity. The school, she discovered, was far more diverse than her home district, and she loved that fact.

“I think it's really cool because you get to see people from different backgrounds,” she said. “I mean, it's not just where you're used to just only seeing people that come from the same background as you, and you get to relate to everyone. Even if people are different from you, you can still relate to them in some way. So I think it's really cool because I've been able to make friendships with people that I wouldn't have been able to if I didn't come here.”

The sports program at Arbor Prep was a huge selling point for Eliza. She’s a standout in two sports – basketball and cross country – and she’s excelled in both of them for the Gators. As a freshman, she played on the Arbor Prep varsity team that won the state championship. That earned the team a trip to the State Capitol, where they were honored during Charter Day at the Capitol in 2022.

She’s the starting point guard for this year’s team, which was once again one of the state’s highest-rated teams coming into the season.

In cross country, she’s been an All-State performer in two of her three years. She placed ninth at this year’s Division 3 state meet, hitting the line at 18:42.7. Eliza is only a junior, but she’s already looking forward to competing in one of those sports in college – she just doesn’t know which one.

“I think basketball, it's a little harder because you have to be able to be compatible with your team, but I think our team really has good chemistry and we do a lot of stuff together, so I think that really helped it,” she said. “Whereas cross-country is more individual-based. So it's just a matter of being able to push yourself and being mentally driven. I'm not sure where yet, but I do want to play basketball or run in college and I would love to do pre-med. I've been wanting to do that my whole life.”

Eliza’s career goal is to be a pediatric oncologist, and she feels the academic rigors of Arbor Prep are setting her up for success.

“I'm taking US History and Pre-Calc. Pre-Calc and Math are my favorite. I did Statistics last year, AP Statistics. That was probably my favorite class I've taken here,” she said. “But one of the things here is that we have to have three AP classes in order to graduate. They're definitely tougher than most classes because they are AP, but I think it really pushes you and prepares you for college too because they are college classes.”

She still has a year-and-a-half of high school left, but Eliza couldn’t be happier that she found a great charter school fit at Arbor Prep.

“I think it is kind of nice (attending a charter school) because you're able to get exactly what you're looking for,” she said. “Like at my old school, it was just a big public school. There was a lot of kids. Whereas here, there's way less kids, and it's more like individual-based. The teachers personally know you they're able to tutor you and it's just they're able to really focus on what you want to do in the future for college. That's what this school is just preparing us for that and I feel like that's what really makes it different compared to other schools because it is preparing you for the next step.”

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