Five great charter champions from the past year

Posted by Buddy Moorehouse on July 12, 2017


From sports to spelling, Michigan’s charter school community had scores of champions during the 2016-17 school year. Whether it’s students, schools or alumni, MAPSA loves learning about and sharing these great charter school success stories.

As we look forward to seeing even more in the coming school year, here’s a look at five great “Charter Champions” from the past school year.

1. The DEPSA Boys’ and Girls’ Basketball Teams
You’d be hard-pressed to find another high school in the state that had as much success on the basketball court this season as the Detroit Edison Public School Academy (DEPSA). The boys’ basketball team at DEPSA had a fabulous run through the Class C state tournament, winning District and Regional championships and making it all the way to the state semi-finals before falling to eventual state champ Flint Beecher. 

And the girls’ basketball team at DEPSA won it all, claiming the Class C state championship with a thrilling 46-44 win over Pewamo-Westphalia in the championship game. That gave charter schools back-to-back Class C state championships in girls’ basketball, following Arbor Prep’s title in 2016.

2. The UPrep Science and Math Chess Teams
Chess is a big deal at the University Prep Science and Math Elementary and Middle School in Detroit. The chess teams there regularly dominate state competitions, and this year, they won it all nationally, too. The UPrep Science and Math chess teams won two titles at the Supernationals IV Tournament in Nashville, Tenn. Cameron Rector, a sixth-grader at the school, was named the top player in the entire tournament after winning all seven of his matches. From coast to coast, nobody plays chess better than these charter school kids from Detroit.

3. Derrick Walton Jr., Chandler Park Academy and the University of Michigan
Walton, the pride of Chandler Park Academy in Harper Woods, had a great senior season as the starting point guard for the University of Michigan’s basketball team, but he stepped it up even more in the Big Ten Tournament. Walton put the eighth-seeded Wolverines on his back during the tournament, leading them to four wins in four days to claim the championships. Walton was named the Big Ten’s Most Outstanding Player for his play.

Walton followed that up by having a great showing in the NBA Summer League for the Orlando Magic, and is poised to get a shot at making the team when fall camp opens in October. 

4. The Math Team at Central Academy
More than 400 charter school math stars from all over Michigan showed off their skills at the EMU Math Facts Challenge in May, sponsored by the Eastern Michigan University Charter Schools Office. When all the adding, subtracting and dividing had been done, the champions were crowned – and it was Central Academy of Ann Arbor that came out on top, taking first place as a team in both and elementary and middle school divisions. 

5. The Rubik’s Cube Whiz from Light of the World Academy
One of the highlights from Charter Day at the Capitol on May 3 was when aseventh-grader from Light of the World Academy in Pinckney named Will Italia took center stage in the Capitol Rotunda and solved the Rubik’s Cube in less than 40 seconds. You might not know that there’s an actual Rubik’s Cube competitive circuit – and Will is one of the best in the country at it. Earlier this month, he earned a trip to the Cubing USA Nationals in Ft. Wayne, Ind. (the country’s top cubing competition), where he finished as one of the 600 top Rubik’s Cube solvers in the nation.

Be sure to tag MAPSA in your Facebook posts when you brag about your charter champions so we can help share the good news. #celebratecharters 

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Topics: Charter Schools