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Monday, May 27, 2024
The Observer

High school students ‘Shadow for a Day’

On March 23, TRIO hosted “Shadow for a Day.” High school students from the South Bend area were assigned a host student from Notre Dame to experience a day in the life of a college student. 

TRIO’s two programs on campus are Upward Bound and Talent Search. Upward Bound is a college preparatory program that helps students excel in high school and look towards higher education. Talent Search, the program responsible for organizing the “Shadow for a Day” event, helps advise students from seventh grade to senior year. 

Courtesy of TRIO

The event is not entirely new to Notre Dame’s campus. Before COVID-19, the University hosted the “Shadow for a Day” event annually. This year marked the first time the event has been held since the pandemic, and TRIO has recognized student’s eagerness to jump back in. Ninety students signed up to be a host, and the final assignments matched 50 Notre Dame hosts with 50 shadow students. 

“We’ve had great outcomes of Notre Dame students that wanted to be hosts,” Talent Search Advisor, Asma Musleh said. 

Notre Dame students recognize the importance of this event for younger students. Senior David Webster, one of the hosts for the day, said he wished he had this opportunity when he was younger. 

“I had always pushed education. But for me, I really didn’t know what college students did, so I thought it’s an opportunity to show a high schooler,” he said. 

The hosts were responsible for showing the high school students a realistic experience of what it’s like to be a Notre Dame student. The shadow students attended classes, got lunch and did whatever their specific host would do on an average Thursday. 

“This is kind of like them testing out the waters and seeing how it feels to be on a college campus,” Musleh said. “How it feels to sit in a college classroom, eat in the dining hall, ask questions about the dorms, just how it feels to rush from one class to another. All of these different things that we may overlook, they get to try it out and see how it feels.” 

This experience caters to the students’ schedules, so TRIO was deliberate when matching students with hosts. Shadow students were matched with Notre Dame students that have similar interests, both academically and beyond. 

“I think they did a good job of trying to get you to have certain things in common with [your] student,” Webster said. “For example, the student I was paired with had a strong interest in math, which aligned with mine. He was also interested in sports, which is an interest of mine. So we were able to make connections on those kinds of premises.”

Musleh feels that this is one of the benefits of the event. In the past, they have seen that by connecting students who share similar interests, long term mentorships form. Students can refer to their hosts to ask questions throughout the college process. 

The idea is that by showing high school students the college experience, they will want that for themselves. 

“Our overall goal is to give the students exposure to college and prompt them so that they can be successful graduating from high school, but [also] entering college and graduating from college,” Roxanne Gregg, the Executive Director of TRIO programs, said. “This is one of those experiences that will help them and assist them on that path.”

Webster said his shadow student was grateful that this experience allowed him to discern the differences between high school and college. 

“He seemed to like the experience of seeing firsthand that it’s not just going to school and sitting down and then going home and doing nothing,” he said. “It’s kind of like you have to be finding things to do between classes, and he seemed to like that.”

Those involved with shadow for a day thought that the event was meaningful and important to get involved with. 

“My big reason would be thinking about how by giving up a couple hours of your day, what kind of impact you could have on a student,” Webster said.