Shadow visitor program is back in full swing

Eighth-graders get the chance to see all that the school offers


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A group of eighth-graders and their host gather outside the Innovation Center at the end of their visit to campus.

Daniel Kent, Reporter

One of the school’s most successful admissions programs has made a comeback this year. The shadow program allows prospective eighth graders to fully immerse themselves in a student’s day on the Hill. The program is a major factor that contributes to the high school decision making process. 

However, it was scaled back last year due to various pandemic restrictions.

Some changes last year included shadows not being able to spend the whole school day on the Hill and not eating lunch in the cafeteria. But admission operations manager Mrs. Maribeth Cloud ‘86 said she is excited about this year’s new opportunities. She noted how the new Innovation Center has been especially beneficial for the program. Shadows begin the day in a newly built classroom that has a spectacular view of the campus. 

Cloud said that shadows are able to eat in the new dining hall, which offers a place where they can, and she said, “Break bread with folks, and that builds community and builds relationships, and you’re able to learn more.” 

Although the pandemic brought about many restrictions that changed the shadow program, Cloud said that the admissions department learned much from the experience as well. Last year, the time that shadows spent on the Hill was limited, and they were released before the end of the day. This year, shadows are released at 2:05 p.m. so that their families are able to avoid the chaos of the pick up line. 

Cloud was also happy to say that the Irish Expert Panel would continue this year. Cloud said, “We have a panel of Irish experts, which are three of our current students who volunteer to help out and answer questions and provide information.” 

Shadow host and sophomore Julia Morrell said, “We go over the uniform and what their life would be like at Cathedral.” These changes to the shadow program provide opportunities for prospective students to learn more about the school. 

If they’re really interested in a specific thing, like art, I’ll take them to Cunningham.”

— Sophomore Julia Morrell

A shadow can experience many aspects campus life in their visit. The day begins at 8 a.m. with a meet and greet, followed by the Irish Expert Panel until 8:30. Shadows are then paired with their hosts and attend class with them until their dismissal. Morrell said, “If they’re really interested in a specific thing, like art, I’ll take them to Cunningham.” 

Shadows are treated to a free lunch in the dining hall as well. Cloud noted that shadow hosts also usually give a tour of the school.

Only students in eighth grade can shadow. To apply to be a shadow, Cloud explained that the visitor and their parent or guardian can go to where they will fill out a form with basic demographic information and interests. Unless a specific host is requested, shadows and hosts are matched based on the shadow’s interests. 

Cloud said, “Our office greatly appreciates everyone’s enthusiasm and commitment to our process, and we greatly appreciate the big Irish welcome that our visitors receive from the students and educators.”

She also noted that the Open House will be on Oct. 14 beginning at 5:30 p.m., and that event provides a much larger number of people to learn about life on the Hill.