COLORADO SPRINGS. As area eighth graders are contemplating their high school choices, St. Mary’s High School invites them to join the Pirate student body for a day during one of the school’s upcoming Eighth Grade Shadow Days.
The first shadow day of the 2019-2020 school year is Wednesday, Oct. 23. Parents can join in that day, too, with a parent open house from 9-11 a.m., when they will hear from current students about the St. Mary’s difference.
Families can find all of the information about these events and register online at www.smhscs.org/admissions.
Current St. Mary’s freshmen said that attending an Eighth Grade Shadow Day was an important step in helping them feel more comfortable with the transition between middle school and high school.
Bernadette Williamson said that, before attending a St. Mary’s Shadow Day, high school was a big unknown for her.
“I didn’t know what to expect from high school,” Williamson said. “Attending a shadow day really made a difference in understanding what high school would be like. Other high schools didn’t even have shadow days which made me upset, because if you can’t shadow, you won’t know if you like it or not.”
For Laura Jumper, Maria Mason, and Emerald Cordova, attending an Eighth Grade Shadow day offered an opportunity to meet the teachers and see their teaching style, which helped them feel more comfortable as their freshman year began this fall. Jumper said that attending classes during the Eighth Grade Shadow Day helped her to know what to expect in the classroom. Cordova agreed.
“I got to know the teachers,” Cordova said. “While they might not remember me just from a shadow day, it really helped me to know and remember them. I learned so much about St. Mary’s that I never would have known if I hadn’t come to shadow day.”
Choosing Catholic education is a serious commitment for families, especially when public charter schools provide an alternative to traditional public schools.
However, those who have experienced the St. Mary’s difference, like St. Mary’s President Rob Rysavy, feel the commitment is worth the sacrifice.
Rysavy and his wife, Michelle, currently have two students at St. Mary’s, two who are alumni, and two who will attend in the future.
“We have seen the whole- person impact of Catholic education in general, and from St. Mary’s in particular, with our oldest two children who are graduates of St. Mary’s,” he said. “They were both well equipped to find their way in this world, and Michelle and I love the kind of people they both are.”
For middle schools who visit, that St. Mary’s difference is felt during Eighth Grade Shadow Days and Seventh Grade Visit Day. They are able to make connections with current students and teachers — connections to build on once their freshman year begins. Cordova said that she reconnected with her shadow day Ambassador as a teammate on the cross country team and felt like she already had a friend at St. Mary’s.
“It felt so welcoming at Eighth Grade Shadow Day,” Mason said. “It was nice getting to know the sophomores and freshmen who were our ambassadors. When the school year started, it felt like I had more friends here that I already knew. It was encouraging and helpful to see familiar faces.”
For more information about the St. Mary’s admissions process, contact Jane Cummings, director of Admissions, at email@example.com.
(Amy G. Partain is director of communications for St. Mary’s High School.)