Retreats Return in Full Force, Receive Positive Response


Sofia Perlman

Over Sept. 11-13, all four grades went on retreats. Freshmen did team-building activities at school, sophmores walked downtown Minneapolis, juniors went to the Como Zoo, and seniors drove out to YMCA Camp St.Croix.

     After a year of hybrid and online learning, our community is back and ready to revive the numerous traditions lost throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. In a typical school year, students participate in grade retreats with their classmates, advisors, and deans. Each retreat is different but all have the same goal of building community within the class. 

     This year the freshmen stayed at school and participated in a variety of team-building activities to help their grade grow closer together. Vivien Pihlstrom ’25 said, “We started off with an assembly where we talked about working together.” Molly Anderson ’25 elaborates, “We [also] did icebreaker questions with new students and other advisories to get to know more people in our grade.” Anderson states that the grade retreat “Was good for getting to know other classmates and [she’s] not going to lie, it wasn’t the most entertaining day but overall it was a good bonding experience.”

     On the other hand, sophomores had the classic experience of exploring areas adjacent to our school within the city of Minneapolis. This specific grade retreat has been consistent for many years whereas other grade retreats change yearly. They had the opportunity to visit locations such as the Stone Arch Bridge, the Guthrie Theater, and local restaurants or food trucks downtown. 

     Jonah Yousha ’24 explains, “The first place we went to was US Bank Stadium and we took a lot of photos by the statues… later in the day we had to head back to US Bank Stadium because someone left their bag there but their bag ended up getting stolen. It was a funny moment for my advisory when we realized we had to head back and it brought us closer together.”  

     The juniors went to the Como Zoo for a day filled with sightseeing and socialization. Additionally, each advisory participated in a photo scavenger hunt that received very positive feedback. Ivy Besikof ’23 describes, “it was a lot of fun, we had to work together to complete the scavenger hunt and then we got to go back for lunch and hang out with our friends. It was a good bonding experience.”

     Lastly, the senior retreat is typically a two-day, one-night camping experience at Camp St. Croix however, due to COVID-19, it turned into a day trip for the Class of 2022.

     Habon Samatar ’22 explains, “We had an excessive amount of free time which I think was intentional to spend time with our friends but also at the same time it felt like there was just nothing else to do.”  The day consisted of a scavenger hunt, bonding activities, free time, as well as advisory skits, and a bonfire.

     Samatar reflects, “I don’t understand why we didn’t do [the senior olympics] because we had all of that free time but also our whole grade wasn’t there so I don’t know how it would have went. Maybe it was intentional.” Despite this, the retreat was overall successful, and as Jessop said, “it brought my advisory closer together for sure… I had a lot of fun.”