Behind the Scenes: Shadow Days
November 28, 2017
Although the act of waking up every morning and arriving at school before the first bell at 8 am before starting your day of classes and meetings seems customary for the average Academy high school student, the idea is foreign and intriguing to those looking to Academy as a potential high school. Shadow Day was implemented by the Admissions department to serve as a looking-glass for those girls who are attracted to the qualities and ideals of an Academy education. The shadow day at Academy also offers an exclusive inside look into the daily life of a student, an opportunity that some schools do not have.
Director of Admissions Pam Doherty says that shadow days are beneficial because potential students “can see what the school is really like and fully immerse themselves in the school, which really breaks down stereotypes.”
It is true that the shadow day does not segregate prospects from the students who attend the school by trying to fabricate an ideal high school situation. Rather, the shadows are actually interacting with the other students and teachers. In science classes, for example, teachers, like Kim Quire, enjoy using their shadows as participants because “it shows them what we are really all about. We love to give our shadows a chance to get involved during the class by doing the labs with their mentor. It helps them get comfortable with the school and allow them to see that school is not so scary, it is fun!”
Typically, the shadows are paired up with students who attended the same school as them, who they requested, or with Ambassadors who have a schedule that offers classes with what the prospective student is interested in. The shadows are able to choose the person they shadow so they are not put in uncomfortable or unwanted situations throughout their shadow day at Academy, and for those who are unfamiliar with students at the school, the Ambassadors serve as joyous figures who represent the school and its mission. Ambassadors such as Samantha Cano (’18), Olivia Perez (’10), and Maddy Ruppel (’18) believe that shadows can benefit the most from their shadow days if the person who they are paired up with are candid, honest, and respectful of anything the shadow may share with them.
Doherty says, “Even if girls do not choose us, they know who we are and what our mission is,” and part of this is due to the fact that the shadow days offer a genuine look into how the girls are and how they interact with each other.
It is true that from the shadow’s side of things, the most important thing is noticing what differs Academy girls from the typical high school student.
Junior Carly Finley shadowed last year and says of her experience, “Everyone was really welcoming and made an effort to say ‘Hello’ or introduce themselves. Everyone was collectively together; I felt like I was witnessing a big family in every class.”
Senior Ambassador Samantha Cano is working with Kat Kelly to make a video to send out to shadows beforehand so they know what to wear, what to bring, and what to expect among other things.
Cano says, “I think it will benefit them in the sense that they will be more prepared and less timid.”