How Did This Year’s Frosh Choose SHC During a Pandemic?


Following the school tradition, class of 2025 destroys their class sign to initiate their first SHC Walkathon. (Mr. Chu)

The Class of 2025 applied to high schools during an unprecedented time ― the COVID-19 pandemic. During the fall application season, while some places in San Francisco began to reopen at limited capacity, most high schools, including SHC, remained closed. This restricted prospective students’ exposure to high schools because they were not allowed to visit school campuses, shadow students, or attend open houses. Despite these obstacles, SHC creatively planned virtual alternatives to provide an overview of the school’s opportunities.

Irish for a Day, for instance, was altered to accommodate students on Zoom. Instead of following a student ambassador throughout the school day, Irish for a Day students observed a simulated class taught by SHC teachers. They experienced the atmosphere of classes and learned more about the school’s curriculum. Additionally, Mr. Lim, the Director of Enrollment Management, led online tours of the campus with the help of student ambassadors. The honorary Irish students concluded their day by competing in a Kahoot game. Reflecting on this experience, the response from SHC freshmen was overwhelmingly positive. Claire Bagdon ‘25, for example, thought that “it was both informative and engaging because they showed us a lot about the school and community. They also gave us activities to do which were interesting despite being at home on Zoom. It was really fun for me.” 

Furthermore, SHC hosted their first virtual Open House for eighth-grade families. The school website was reorganized to include informational videos, FAQs, and Zoom meetings for every department, program, and co-curricular activity. Despite being unable to meet the SHC community in-person, families and their students appreciated the school’s hospitality during the online event. Muriel Jang ’25 remarked that the virtual Open House made “SHC seem like a very welcoming community. There were a lot of staff and students who seemed genuinely nice, and they showed us all the activities, clubs, and programs that the school had to offer. The programs really interested me, and I noticed there were many educational opportunities.”

The online events proved to be very thorough and helpful, since a majority of interviewed freshmen thought that the online format did not negatively affect their high school decisions. Aurora Ramirez ‘25, who attended last year’s Open House, admitted, “I do wish I could’ve visited in-person to get a fuller experience of the school’s campus. However, I learned a lot from the Open House.” For others, the decision was easier because of their prior knowledge from family and friends. Aurora Chen ‘25 explained, I don’t think that the online events made it harder to choose, since I also knew a lot of alumni from my middle school who go to SHC. I had heard many good things from them, so it positively influenced the way I thought about SHC.”

Although SHC has now resumed in-person programming for incoming families, the adaptability of last year’s admissions team can be credited for drawing in another class of unique individuals to our community.