The Bright Side of Shadows

By Nativ B., Class of ‘22

As admission season rolled around for the 2019-2020 school year at The Downtown School, we had a lot of work to do.

As this is our first year of operation, we were in an unusual position. We had to convince applying students that our school worked. We had to convince them that are school was just as good if not better than all the other private school. And we had to do with three months of experience and forty-five kids.

I had always been under the impression that our best bet would be to have shadow days. And after some discussion and planning, two weeks before winter break we started hosting our first shadow students. Since then, I personally have hosted five students.

You may ask why? Sure, it is a lot of fun to host, but there is also something tiring about hosting. If you have an in-class work period, you will need to make the student feel welcome while also working; if you have a test, you will find another class for the student (who wants to sit through a test?); and, of course, there is always that moment at the Armory when you look up from your pizza, thinking your guest might be lost, when actually you find that your shadow student has taken it upon themselves to walk to the other side of the armory and buy a bubble tea. Phew!

So what causes students at The Downtown School to host multiple shadows in one week? Well, I think that it’s because we care about this school so much and want to see it thrive. We are the founding class, and we want to ensure strong future cohorts. There is something truly special about being able to share the work that we and so many others have put in to making this school such a special place. That’s why it always makes me smile when I see a shadow raise their hand in class, or laugh at one of Brian's bad jokes. At the end of the day, I don’t get to decide where these students will go to high school, but it’s my hope that come admission season next year many of them will be hosting prospective incoming students and telling them about how great The Downtown School is.