Complementary Schools Network: Haley and Hayley On the Go

Haley Prusa ’17 and visiting student Hayley Cartwright


Hayley Cartwright ‘17 is usually a student at the Putney School in Vermont, but last week you would have found her here at Rutgers Prep, because both Rutgers Prep and the Putney School are member schools in the Network of Complementary Schools, which gives students an opportunity to experience another school community as a welcome guest. (Rutgers Prep is one of just two Network member schools in the state of New Jersey.) We took a moment recently to touch base with Hayley and her host sister Haley Prusa ‘17 about their experiences as participants in the Network.

“Well,” began Hayley, “Rutgers Prep was the only school on the list that offered shadowing of a profession as an option (in addition to just attending classes), so since I’m interested in athletic training and PE, I decided to reach out and see if it would be possible to shadow those kinds of people at Rutgers Prep. My mom is very supportive of me getting out and trying new things, and I got a call saying that the week I had in mind would work, so here I am!

One thing I’ve noticed is that everyone in the Rutgers Prep community seems really kind, and I like the way the schedule works here, too. It seems somewhat less stressful than my school, maybe even a bit easier (we have more homework every night, and we have evening classes and classes on Saturday). To be honest, I’m a little jealous of the college counseling here at Rutgers Prep; it seems like the counseling staff here is just able to give more support. And I always thought of my school as pretty diverse, but Rutgers Prep is even more diverse, which is really cool. I also actually kind of like the effect of a dress code… I like that there’s a feeling of an expectation to live up to.

Meanwhile, I’ll have a lot of work to catch up on, once I get back, and I’m also in the midst of trying to prepare for National Personal Trainer certification. Although personal training, and athletic training are not the same, I have still been able to learn a lot by shadowing the Rutgers Prep trainers. I have also been able to connect some aspects of the two together. It has been interesting to see the similarities and differences between the two. Athletic training is more prevention, care, and rehabilitation, whereas, personal training is exercise coaching. I have gotten to watch athletic trainers Jess and Tim prevent injury by teaching the students how to properly stretch for their sports, care for them when students come to for help wrapping injuries, and rehabilitate students when trying to regain range of motion from injury. I have gotten to watch personal trainer Kacy help students create fitness plans, and coach them through exercises in the weight room.

It’s been totally fun and exciting… and hey, I even got to go shopping in New York City yesterday! The ultimate reason to participate in the Complementary School experience is to get out and see something completely new, to make new connections and relationships.”

We also reached out to our own student Haley Prusa ‘17 to see what her experience as a Network sojourner was like. Last year we had a student (Tenzin Crowley from the Bush School in Seattle, WA) come and visit Rutgers Prep via the Network of Complementary Schools, and she and Haley Prusa became close. It seemed like a natural next step this year for Haley to apply to be a visiting student at the Bush School in return. “One big difference for me was that students at the Bush School call their teachers by their first names, which I ended up feeling like maybe provided more of a chance for connection. The campus was really pretty, although also on a hill, so you had to walk up that every day. They had some cool classes that we don’t offer at Rutgers Prep, like Electronica and Metal Design, which was interesting. I also thought that some of their English electives were really interesting; while I was there, I was taking a course in Magical Realism and another one in Poetry & Vignettes.”

Both Network of Complementary Schools participants easily agreed on what they felt should be one of the biggest “takeaways” from their experiences: “More students should do this!”

(If you’re an Upper School student at Rutgers Prep with questions about how the Network of Complementary Schools could work for you, please check in with Mr. Mitchell or Dr. Cooper.)