Grade Retreats

Grade Retreats

Elisa Lopez, Contributing Writer

In the second week of school, students split up to attend grade retreats guided by their deans and advisors. Although the retreats were separated by grade, they were consistent in their effort to build community amongst students.

For freshman there were advisory and group based activities. The grade retreat was a time spent outdoors and amongst friends. They discussed values and participated in group-based activities, allowing the grade to grow closer as people. Justice Tyner ‘20, explained, “It was interesting getting to know each other’s values and personalities. It was even more interesting to see how they each compared and contrasted.”

Sophomores had a different experience from the other grades, getting to spend the day at the Upper School, breaking up into advisories, pairs and watching TedTalks. Some would have preferred to have gone outdoors but it was a good way to spend time with classmates as an entire grade.

The juniors’ retreat had a somewhat mixed response. On Monday, the juniors left for the rather thematically named “Camp Friendship.” Zehra Khan ‘18 explains a downside to the trip, though,“The time between the bus ride and school was atrocious. The time at the end of the retreat could have been more organized.” However, as Kahn continues,, “The junior retreat was a great time for all members of the junior class to meet with their friends and other members of the class. I personally enjoyed the free time we got at the end because it allowed everyone to spend time playing, socializing and having quality time with friends.” In all, the time at the camp was enjoyable and left room to talk to new people. Perhaps a closer location would have been more optimal, though.

For the seniors there was camp St. Croix in Wisconsin. Despite the rampant mosquitoes, the senior response was mainly positive. Ellie Grossman ‘17 explains, “The senior grade retreat was a blast. We got to bond with classmates we may not have known super well and grow even closer with our homerooms. Even though we all got eaten alive by mosquitos, it was worth it for the experience!”  

Leaving Saturday and returning Monday, the seniors spent one night together, working in advisories and in dyads. More importantly, the retreat was one last bonding event for the senior class.

In the end, retreats continue on, repeating themselves annually, providing new ways for grades to bond over shared experiences.