Springtime at Immanuel Lutheran High School in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, is packed with traditional events, like Arbor Day, Field Day, ILHS Banquet, and the Senior Tea, to name a few. One such event is High School Visitors’ Day, which generally occurs on the last Friday in April or the first Friday in May; this year it was April 28.
ILHS Visitors’ Day provides seventh and eighth-grade students throughout the synod an opportunity to visit the campus of Immanuel, interact with students and staff, and learn more about what it would be like to attend ILHS. Invitations are extended throughout the CLC, with around seventy students and a dozen adults visiting the Immanuel campus for the occasion.
Many visiting students travel from a distance and arrive on campus Thursday evening. Games and mixer activities are organized for these early arrivals, who then get to sample resident student life by spending the night in the dormitory.
The actual Visitors’ Day program takes place during the school day on Friday. Visiting students take part in a variety of activities. They learn about co-curricular activities and athletics. They attend a classroom setting in which a few teachers share an engaging or entertaining sample of their subject areas. Tours of the campus buildings and grounds are conducted. Students may even participate in game show-style experiences, scavenger hunts, or other activities centered on various aspects of life at Immanuel.
Adults who accompany the visitors are invited to tag along with the students during the day, but they also have their own opportunity for question-and-answer time with Immanuel staff members. This gives chaperone parents a chance to learn more about Immanuel Lutheran High School.
The program itself changes from year to year, but one constant has been the active involvement by the high school students of ILHS. Numerous student volunteers participate in planning, organizing, and conducting the Visitors’ Day program under the supervision of the principal.
At the close of the school day, the formal Visitors’ Day program comes to an end, but a few more ILHS events are on the schedule in the afternoon and evening. Baseball and softball games are usually played at locations on and off campus. Friday evening the Immanuel drama club presents a play or musical production. Many visiting students stay in the dormitory Friday night, providing them one more opportunity to interact with their high school student host.
Immanuel Lutheran High School has been richly blessed with people, programs, and property. Our students and staff enjoy the opportunity to show and share blessings with visiting students, many of whom, God willing, will return as students and be able to carry on this cherished tradition of welcoming prospective students at the next Visitors’ Day at Immanuel.
Jeff Schierenbeck is a professor at Immanuel Lutheran College in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.