How a Panther for a Day becomes a Panther for Life

Claire Rulyak, Staff Writer

The “Panther for a Day” program at Seattle Prep is one that has had a special influence on  Prep students for many years. If you ask most students at Prep, they will most likely have a story from when they were an Eighth grader visiting Seattle Prep for the first time. The Panther for a Day program allows these Eighth graders to be Prep students for a day with a high school host. The visits can be scary, fun, and educational for those trying to decide on a high school, and the hosts love them too!

There are about 600 spots a year for Eighth graders, and they are always overfull. So, what makes these visits so impactful, and what kind of impact do they make?

When a host first meets their Eighth grader, they greet them with a smile, allowing them to feel the famous community value at Seattle Prep.  Bridget Frauenheim (’23)  says that when meeting a visitor, she, “create[s] an environment where the student can easily let go of the stress of picking a high school and enjoy the feeling of knowing where they belong”. This is a main pillar of the program because Prep is made to feel like a school as well as a home.

A  previous visitor now thoroughly involved in Seattle Prep is Daniel Soto ’24. He said : “The visit led me to choose Prep because I got to see what being a Panther feels like: Being part of a welcoming community… and much more”. Feeling this connection with a school and host as an Eighth grader becomes a major part of high school decision. This may be the reason that Prep has only received more and more applicants over the years.  In fact, our newest freshman class, the class of 2025, is the largest class to ever be welcomed at Seattle Prep. This is positive news for the school, yet not every visit can be perfect. In that case visitors will have to look to other factors when choosing Prep.

Elena Lovejoy ’24 said her Panther for a Day experience “definitely wasn’t the best high school visit”. She ended up in classes that didn’t pique her interest and toured with her older sister on a day in which she couldn’t participate much. It may not be harsh to use the word “boring” to describe this visit. Days like this are unavoidable which is why it’s important for Eighth graders to be well-informed about all the positive aspects of Prep.

Lovejoy later said, “I chose Prep because it was familiar, and I had heard really good things about the school from a lot of different people”. This goes to show how impactful Seattle Prep is.  The Panthers are back this year and once again eager to welcome a new round of Eighth graders.