Eighth grade shadows frequent guests at DePaul Prep this Fall

Colin Lindquist, Staff Writer

Shadows are a common sight here at DePaul this fall. With 847 confirmed 8th grade shadows, there is no shortage of students visiting the campus for a day. And that’s not including the number of students on the waitlist. A shadow is a 7th or 8th grader that visits DePaul for a day, and follows a host around. A host is always a DePaul Prep student. Mr. Bizzeri is DePaul Prep’s shadow coordinator, the man behind the curtain in terms of coordinating our middle schoolers visitors. 

Mr. Bizzeri says that any student who attends DePaul Prep regularly can host a shadow. Grades and attendance have very little factor if you are requested by a shadow to be their host. However, shadows are mostly paired with freshmen and sophomores, as that is what the incoming freshman would experience as their first year at DePaul. But that doesn’t mean that seniors and juniors can’t be requested to be a host for a day, and certain students have done that. 

Shadows come in on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, from 7:45 AM (beginning of period 1 or period 5) to 1:15 PM (end of period 3 or period 7). If students have been requested to host a shadow, they get an email 48 – 96 hours prior to the occasion. Then students have time to prepare to host, and not too far ahead that they forget, Mr. Bizzeri explained. There are about 30 shadows that come to DePaul in a day, but it has reached up to 34 and been as low as 26. 

A large number of shadows hail from private schools. Some of the most frequent middle schools sending shadows are St. Benedict, St. Andrew, Sacred Heart, St. Clement, St. Alphonsus, Frances Xavier Ward (FXW), and A. G. Bell. However, interested eighth grade students do come from hundreds of middle schools. “They really are coming from all over the place, all over the city,” says Mr. Bizzeri. 

Mr. Bizzeri tries to pair shadows with hosts of a common school. However, sometimes the DePaul student gets a full period study hall or has a big test that day. Mr. Bizzeri explained he tries to avoid days like that so shadows get a more interesting experience focused on our courses.

The writer himself has had three shadows this fall and likes having someone see what the average DePaul student sees on a daily basis. The experience of having a shadow doesn’t really impact the day negatively. 

Students can have a maximum of two shadows in a single day. Hosts can have as many shadows as they like throughout this fall, but hosting one every day that you can (ambassadors) would not exactly be the best situation for scheduling purposes, and most shadows are assigned to a host so it wouldn’t be logical. 

An average day for a shadow at DePaul can be quite different than in middle school, as it could be much earlier and a much different form of schedule for many schools. Note that the shadows are new to high school, so if you see one, say hello to make their experience at DePaul just a little bit better. Who knows, you may see them around next year.