Marian cancels open house, recruitment adjusts by going virtual

FrannieCihunka

Every Marian girl remembers the moment they knew Marian was the place for them. For many girls, this realization happened at Marian’s annual open house. Unfortunately, due to Omaha’s rise in cases of COVID-19, Marian cancelled its open house to protect prospective students and their families from contracting the virus. Instead, Marian offered a virtual version of the annual open house through a series of videos posted on the Marian website. Student tour guides Shantise Pearson, Cali D’Agosto, and Anne Masek guided future Marian girls through Marian academics, activities, and traditions. 

Recruitment Director Mrs. Molly Woodman ‘97 was in charge of the open house and both Woodman and the Marian administration made the decision to cancel it. “Many factors were considered-the rising numbers of COVID cases in our county was, of course, a main factor,” said Woodman. “While we were confident that we could keep everyone safe, we also have to consider the public perspective.  We have healthcare workers basically begging people to stay home, and we’re inviting the public to a big event at the same time?  That looks terrible-no matter how many precautions we have in place.” 

Junior recruitment team member Cali D’Agosto was happy that the open house would still be happening virtually. “I’m bummed it couldn’t be in person, because I look forward to meeting possible Marian girls, and I remember being in their shoes! I really think that Marian did everything they could to put out great resources for people looking at high schools,” said D’Agosto. The open house affected D’Agosto’s high school decision as well. “As soon as I walked into Marian, I was greeted by smiling faces from everyone in the building. The energy was uplifting and fun. Getting to walk in the halls as if I was a student sealed the deal for me.”

The videos are “prerecorded snippets that are on a dynamic (interactive/changing) webpage on our site. That Ms. [Mary Catherine] Ruesch built from scratch in one day!” said Mrs. Woodman. “We tried to mimic an actual tour-with girls leading them into the most popular tour stops and talking to the teachers.” The 7 videos cover the fine arts, sports, STEM and journalism programs, Campus Ministry, a tour of the Haddix Academic Center, and a look at the Bluetique. 

Although Marian was able to offer the open house in some way during this pandemic, not being able to have in-person events will have an effect on recruitment. “Only three grade schools allowed the admissions directors to come and recruit, and we weren’t allowed to bring student recruiters with us.  For the rest of the grade schools, each high school had to send a recruitment video,” said Mrs. Woodman. “It’s probably going to have an impact but we won’t know for sure until the placement exam.”

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