Sophomores find meaning in service at retreat


Claire Duncan

FOOD FOR ALL. Sophomore Brandon Bousquette serves food to a patron at The River Food Pantry in Wisconsin on Sept. 19. The River Food Pantry is a nonprofit that provides food, clothing and household items to Dane County families. Reflecting on the experience, Brandon said, “It allowed me to meet various new people and gain experience with people of all backgrounds.”

Peter Pu, Reporter

Despite the pouring rain in Lake Delton, Wisconsin, the Class of 2022 volunteered at 11 service sites to begin its year of service at the Perlstein Resort and Conference Center Sept. 18-20.

According to Service Learning Coordinator Chimare Eaglin, the Baraboo Area Senior Citizen Organization was a new addition to the service sites.

Students learned and gained new experiences through helping others. Sophomore An Ngo volunteered at the Hope House, which supports victims of domestic and sexual abuse. She made pins to honor Domestic Violence Awareness Month and cleaned windows, toys and other surfaces.

While reflecting on the service she provided, An said, “It doesn’t have to be something that’s super amazing. You don’t feel enlightened or anything. It’s just something that you do because you should.”

Sophomore Julien Derroitte volunteered at the Renewal Unlimited, Inc. Head Start, which supports three- to five-year-old children and their families.

Julien said seeing the children’s energy and sitting in their shoes for a day was eye-opening.

“It’s fun, it’s nice, it’s kind, and I feel better about myself,” Julien said after returning from the service site.

The children Julien and others spent time with also benefited. Janeen Belardo, one of the teachers at the Renewal Unlimited, Inc. Head Start, said that it is important for the children to interact with people other than their parents and teachers to better understand the concept of “stranger danger.”

In addition to the sophomores, senior peer leaders also attended the retreat and organized four-legged race, over-and-under, one-foot race, and an advisory talent show won by Daniel Wheadon and Christine Himmelfarb’s advisories.

Senior Ioannis Nikas, a peer leader who helped plan the event, said he pays more attention to the meaning of sophomore retreat.

“It really gets you in the mindset of service and makes you think about what is service and why it is important, so I think that is really valuable,” Ioannis said.

After a day of service, students ate s’mores and sang around a bonfire on the evening of Sept. 19.

“You can just see people by the campfire singing, swaying along and roasting marshmallows together,” sophomore Jasmine Wade said. “I just feel like everyone is one big family.”