Willoughby charts a course for excellence

Morey Charter School the right choice for accomplished junior

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Junior Jennifer Willoughby is one of nearly 400 students who travel from surrounding communities to attend Morey Charter School.

A solid and basic education, individualized instruction, career awareness, honesty: These are some of the core principles upon which Morey Charter School of Shepherd, founded in 1997 by Michigan industrialist Norval Morey, stakes its claim.

Norval Morey, who passed away later that year, stressed his belief that education is an integral part of personal achievement. Accordingly, the principles with which he imbued the school hang on the wall of every classroom as a reminder to the school's 382 students that success in education means success in life.

One student who has taken that reminder to heart is Jennifer Willoughby, an 11th grader who excels in both her classes and her extracurricular activities.

Spanish is Jennifer's favorite subject, and she has aspirations of using Spanish in her future career. After school, Jennifer enjoys youth group activities and plays volleyball for the Morey Malamutes. Her sport of choice is one of the seven junior and senior high school sports programs offered at Morey. Jennifer also takes part in drama and dance activities and mentors a fourth-grade girl in reading through Morey's Adopt-a-Reader program. And even with this busy schedule, she still finds time each day to help out the administration and staff in the main office at the school.

Diane Schroeder, one of the school's administrators, describes Jennifer as an "outstanding student."

The choice to send Jennifer to Morey-which is about 10 miles from her home-was made by her parents, who also considered home-schooling, an option they have exercised in the past. Ultimately, the Willoughbys chose Morey not just for Jennifer but for her two younger sisters as well.

Morey, located 10 miles southwest of Mt. Pleasant, draws students from 13 school districts in 5 different counties, some traveling up to 40 miles each day for school. The Charter School Office of Central Michigan University provides for oversight of the school. Morey also recently hired a new CEO, Ralph Crosslin, who brings more than 30 years of teaching and administrative experience to the school.

Morey Charter School has proved to be a rewarding environment for Jennifer, and she plans to remain with the school until her graduation.

Asked about her future plans, Jennifer says, "I'm still trying to narrow it down, but I'm thinking about forensic science."