A Sense of Belonging – The Sophomore Retreat


(From left to right) Kayle Brody ’25, Kiersten Gann ’25, Madelyn Welther ’25, Aria Colavita ’25, Audrey McCarus ’25 on campus during sophomore retreat.

Emma Brading '25

After initially planning for a ropes course, the religion department found themselves switching gears for the sophomore retreat. With special thanks to the teachers and faculty involved, Mrs. Antico, Dr. Borin, and Mrs. Donnelly, alongside the guidance department including Ms. O’Neil and Ms. Gallo, the retreat was a wonderful bonding experience. The day began bright and early in the study hall, where the sophomores were treated to a delicious bagel breakfast. Next, after announcements, they participated in a lively “getting-to-know-each other” activity using yarn. Then, once the opening prayers were complete, they headed outside for an exhilarating morning of fun. 

Once the retreat was taken outside, the truly memorable moments were created. There were three groups that moved between each of the three activities. The first activity was a giant inflatable board, on which one side featured a dart board where girls kicked soccer balls onto the velcro surface, and the other side featured a giant version of a toss game except, in this version, footballs and frisbees were used instead of rings. This activity was perfect for both getting closer with classmates and utilizing athletic abilities in a fun way! After this activity, there were bumper balls. Overall, this seemed to be a fan-favorite among the sophomore class and was easily the most exhilarating, too. During the first round, the players adjusted to the feeling of the bubbles. Essentially, everyone ran into each other for about five minutes. Once the girls were accustomed to the feeling of the bubbles, the real games started. First, was capture the flag. This thrilling game was played about three times per group, and the section finished off with a somersault contest, rolling down the hill in the bubbles. The last activity was the human centipede, which required the sophomores to work together as a group to race inside of a giant circular mat. In this section of the games, there were many creative– and sometimes absurd– modes of moving around. Overall,this section was incredibly amusing, and provided all of the sophomores with good memories with students they may not have otherwise spoken to. Once all of the stations were complete, arguably the most exciting portion of the retreat began: the jousting. In this unofficial part of the retreat, all of the sophomores returned to the bumper balls, and repeatedly “jousted” by slamming into one another, contesting to see who would be the first to fall. The battles would occur between two and four students, while the rest of the class and teachers looked on, amused.. Altogether, this section of the retreat was the most exciting, but also exhausting. The next portion was sure to relax everyone, while also providing insight on relationships and reasoning. 

After the recreational activities, the sophomores were treated to pizza and ice cream sandwiches. The group was able to talk amongst themselves for about one hour in the amphitheater. However, most of the girls were not able to stay seated for too long before they began their performances. After these fun shows in which the girls showed off their dancing and musical talents, things began to relax again as the sophomores were met with a beautiful speech by Mr. Gillespie. This interesting speech included personal accounts from the history teacher, while also relating to the current sophomore class and their retreat. Following the speech, the sophomores quietly reflected on the speech and how it related to their own lives. Once the questions were answered on paper, they broke up into groups and discussed their answers. Although these groups consisted of students who were unfamiliar with one another the conversations were very heartfelt. The sophomores were able to relate to each other regarding community, emotions, and their upcoming year. Remaining in these groups, the students moved to the picnic tables in the back of the school for the final activity. 

During the final section of the retreat, the sophomores were able to both relax and bond further. The highlight of this last portion was without a doubt the creation of the bracelets and class necklace. Using beads that were attached to different positive qualities (faithful, loyal, kind, funny, etc.), the students assigned each other beads in their groups based on qualities they thought each other possessed. After the personal bracelets were created, the class necklace was made. Each sophomore contributed a bead to assign the class as a whole, regarding their experience with the retreat. This was one of the most memorable aspects of the retreat, as it best displayed the overall feeling the experience gave: a sense of belonging.