Galileo’s “Shadow Program” a Big Hit

by Johnny Ha and Jessie Jiang

Galileo's Shadow Program

(L) Mr. Zhen passes out paperwork to the visiting students (shadows) at the main office.

It’s that time of the year again, where future Lions come to tour Galileo!! Starting in mid-October, Galileo offers the Galileo Shadow Program, where Galileo students volunteer to bring interested 8th graders from schools all over San Francisco to come and experience what it feels like to be in high school for a day.

Matching up a Galileo student with an 8th grader is easier said than done. Galileo Shadow coordinator, Bai Zhen said, “There’s a 3 piece system for the application process. I first start by spreading the word out to the 8th graders, then to the Galileo students and after I receive all the applications, I try to match up the 8th graders and students together based on their interest, gender, and middle school. Since it’s my second year, this year’s Galileo’s Shadow program received a lot more recognition and interest.”

Before their shadow date, 8th graders and their families are offered a tour around the school, visiting administrative offices and pathway classes. “We start with a little program in the auditorium, [followed by] a Q&A session and a small little tour to feature Galileo’s pathways and general programs. In addition to the tours, which are generally focused on parents, Galileo started a ‘buddy or shadow program’ on Tuesdays for 8th grade students to get a different view of [Galileo] life,” said Galileo principal, Dr. Reimer.

So far this year, over 50 Galileo students have volunteered to have an 8th grader shadow them.

Many of these students have enjoyed their experiences. First time shadower, freshman Natalie Yip said, “When I was showing my shadow around, I had to be careful [with] my language and how I should explain how things worked at Galileo so [the 8th graders] could understand. I liked being the shadower because it felt nice to help someone get to know the school I go to.”

Galileo staff also agrees that the Shadow program is a great thing for students who are interested in attending Galileo. History teacher, Coach Papa said, “This program exposes kids to [a] bigger environment since it’s different from where they are coming from, showing the shadows how kids function in a bigger environment. It also allows the shadows to see the similarities and differences from middle school to high school and be exposed to the teachers and staff of Galileo.”

Due to the high demand and interest in Galileo, the first tour of the 2015-2016 school year had a breaking record of 140 students and parents. Encouraging students to attend Galileo, Dr. Reimer says, “Galileo has the highest UC acceptance rates, strong in academics and has a variety of elective classes, and great leadership. These things make [Galileo] a fantastic school!”

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