Due to the worldwide pandemic during the 2020-2021 school year, 8th Grade Day was canceled and the number of Shadows was limited. Recently in the 2021-2022 school year, Xavier was able to return to these fun, traditional activities.
“Last year, we listened to the advice from the Catholic Diocese of Phoenix and wanted to keep our faculty, staff, students and visitors safe,” said Vanessa Alexander, director of communications and student ambassador moderator. There was no 8th Grade Day in 2020 and we had a limited number of Shadows in January and February of 2021.
The Shadow Program is an opportunity for prospective 8th graders to “see the academic side of Xavier when you shadow a Student Ambassador all day,” said Jennifer James, director of admissions. The program runs from October to the beginning of February.
Girls who have never been to Xavier now have the chance to experience the fun that XCP has in its rallies, and to take tours visiting teachers’ classrooms on 8th Grade Day. “The 8th Grade Day is engineered to be a very exciting day, and it is very intentional that all the 8th graders are there together to experience the rally as a class,” said Kate Brink, president of Student Ambassadors Club.
The schedule for 8th Grade Day has remained the same: the 8th graders arrive at Xavier and the day begins in the Performing Arts Center (PAC) with an informational assembly. They then have three classroom visits. As usual, the 8th graders on campus this year also had lunch with the Student Ambassadors. They then finished the day with the rally and collected goodie bags.
Different from last year, this year’s 8th Grade Day required faculty, staff and students to wear Halloween-colored masks. “The 8th Grade Day is going to be about 100 students less than we were anticipating due to current times,” said Alexander.
New safety rules have also been implemented in Xavier’s shadow program. “This year we returned to the Shadow Program as normal, but now the shadows also have to be masked,” said Brink.
Shadows arrive on campus in the morning, then meet their ambassadors in the Baldwin Library and spend the entire day with them. “The most important thing about Shadow Day is that it is a whole day where the shadow is getting 100% of the attention from that ambassador and the school,” said Brink.
While in the Baldwin Library, shadows are greeted by Xavier library staff members, Remi Fitzgerald and Valerie Ahern. It allows 8th graders to decide if Xavier is the right fit for them as students.
“Most 8th graders and their parents appreciate the opportunity for the children to attend school for a full day here at Xavier. It is a realistic way to enjoy the school, rather than an hour tour or the wild and fun 8th Grade Day,” said Alexander.
Aside from 8th Grade Day and the Shadow Program, there are many other promotional events for admissions that are different from last year, including school visits and information socials. “It is only a matter of time before we return to normal,” said James.