Just like in the movie Waiting for Superman, families sat in metal folding chairs in a gymnasium Thursday night waiting for their child's name to be called.
As names were read there was the occasional cheering or clapping. And, as the last name was called - Talia Muller - there were tears and disappointment.
Thursday night, the held its annual lottery for admission. Founded in 2002, the Framingham-based middle school is a free regional public charter school focusing on "Expeditionary Learning."
"This is an exciting night," said school director Kristin Harrison.
It is also challenging, as there were more applicants than spaces, added Harrison.
Although the charter school's board of directors voted to increase the number of students accepted for grade six for the 2012-13 school year, applicants increased too - 214 for the incoming sixth grade class. There were 150 last year.
Last year, 92 sixth graders were accepted. This year, 126 students would be accepted.
Siblings of current students were given the first sixth grade seats, even before the public lottery began. Of the 126 slots for grade 6, siblings took the first 22.
The first non-sibling lottery name called was for Maria Julia Almeida, a student. Her father said the Charter was their first choice as it was closer to home and a "good school."
Applicants from the eight communities that comprise the regional school district were given first preference to class seats, over other communities. The district is comprised of Framingham, Natick, Ashland, Sudbury, Southborough, Marborough, Hopkinton and Holliston. Harrison said for the first time, there were applicants for all eight communities.
Numbers were not available last night to how many students from each of the eight communities applied and how many non-district students applied and how many students were accepted from each community.
Several of the applicants sitting in the audience were only children, including Jayden Gavin, #26, of Ashland.
After Judy Gatlin, from the Framingham Public Library's Homework Club pulled the last name for the 126th spot, names were then put on a waiting list.
Last year, students on the waitlist as high as in the 20s, were eventually offered spots into the school.
Applicants from the eight regional towns were placed on the wait list, pulled via lottery, before non-regional town applicants.
Harrison said each family would be emailed today, March 16 on where they stand on the waitlist.
Accepting 126 sixth graders, means in 2012-13 school year, the school will have 306 students, the largest number of students that can attend McAuliffe as named in the school's charter, said Harrison. Presently, there are about 270 students.
The school has said it has outgrown its current space and is looking for a new future location, preferably in Framingham.
Editor's Note: My daughter was an applicant for the sixth grade class. She was #59 in the lottery and was accepted into the McAuliffe class of 2015.
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