Photo Credit: Gabby Accardi
Each year the freshmen class goes to the Bethany Center for the annual freshman retreat. This retreat is used to help the freshmen feel as though they are part of something bigger than themselves, and teach them how to survive high school. Sixteen seniors were chosen as leaders of the school to talk to each of the freshman by either giving a talk on a specific topic, lead prayer services, or lead their small individual groups. The freshman went into the retreat close minded, but left with open hearts and minds for their journey over the next four years.
The freshman, seniors, and faculty boarded the buses around eight in the morning beginning their day. On the bus the girls were quiet, talking to one another about what to expect for the day. Lilly Martinez (9) did not know what to expect on her way to the retreat, “I have always heard that this is something you always remember.” When they got to the Bethany Center they started off with icebreakers and prayer. After that, there were eight seniors chosen to give talks on social life, religion, and experiences that freshmen will be faced with throughout high school. After each discussion the girls would meet up in their small groups to discuss the topics that each senior talked about. The freshman girls were able to talk to each other and get a senior’s point of view. Myah Rhines (9) loved the small circles, “I loved my leader and I loved talking with my classmates. I can not wait to become closer over the next four years.”
The whole day was filled with bonding and great memories. At the end of the day the girls were able to write their letters that they will open when they are seniors. Senior leader, Christina Thompson, felt sad when watching them write their letters, “watching them write their letters made me remember when I was here four years ago and I cannot believe it’s almost over.” The letters are special because these are memories that they are going to remember their whole lives; To look back on the retreat, and see what you have learned or how you have grown.
On the way home from the retreat, the girls were singing and having a good time with all of their sisters. The difference from the way back to the way there showed how much the girls bonded and grew as a class. The freshman retreat is a time to grow and learn about yourself and the sisterhood at the Academy of the Holy Names.