Juniors reconnect, strengthen relationships at retreat


Malcolm Taylor

During junior retreat April 15, juniors Philip Kellermeier and Brent Pennington are the last ones who remain in a rock paper scissors tournament. Brent’s favorite part of the retreat was the opportunity to speak through an open microphone, as it was powerful and emotional. “Doing this and hearing everyone’s story allowed the grade to connect more and learn more about one another,” Brent said.

Colin Leslie, Reporter

After a year apart, juniors were given the opportunity to strengthen and rekindle their relationships with each other at junior retreat, held at school April 16 and 17 due to coronavirus regulations. Although students did not stay overnight the retreat was still a success, according to Dean of Students Ana Campos.

Juniors were split into 11 groups, each with a facilitator from Camp Pretty Lake. These groups stuck together for activities throughout both days of retreat.

After assembling, each group went to a different location around the school, where the members of the group began to get to know each other.

Every member of each group created a life map, which was a description of the events in their life up until now. Students then presented these maps to their fellow group members.

In addition to the life maps activity, groups engaged in team-building activities. Throughout retreat, there were some opportunities for members of the group to socialize, and lunch and dinner were provided in Sunny Gym both days.

According to Ms. Campos, junior retreat is meant to be an opportunity for students to reflect on their past relationships with other students.

“The activities center around your life, like what relationships and experiences have gotten you to this current place in time, and how you want your future from here on out to look, who you want in your life, what experiences you want to have,” Ms. Campos said.

Ms. Campos said she thought junior retreat was successful despite lacking the experience of spending the night with the rest of the grade.

“I was worried about there being a loss of the kind of feelings that people have at this retreat because everyone went home, and they were, you know, spending time with their family, they might have done some homework,” Ms. Campos said. “I was really pleased to see that by Thursday night when students were leaving, they were talking about this retreat and their experiences at it in very similar ways that students have done when we’re in Wisconsin.”

Julien Derroitte said the retreat gave him the opportunity to connect with friends he had not talked to in a while.

 “I got to rediscover some of the bonds with old friends,” Julien said. “At least through the life maps and certainly at the end, we got to learn a little bit more about each other than we were able to at past retreats.”

At the end of retreat, there was a display of apologies and notes of appreciation, and students had the opportunity to speak through an open microphone.

“I was surprised because a lot of kids went up there, and the line really started to pile up,” Jonah Schloerb said. “A lot of the people who went up actually went up twice. It seemed like people who went up once felt emboldened to go up a second time.”

Jonah said retreat forced him to be more mindful of the perspectives of other students.

“One person in my group said something about how she was the main character in her story,” Jonah said, “and this retreat made it up to you to understand that everyone else is the main character in their own story, and you never know what that story is.”