Class of 2020 bonds at El Capitan

By Lindsay Wu ’20

Retreat proved to be a bonding experience for the 135 eighth graders who travelled to El Capitan Canyon.  The night prior to returning home, a thunderstorm occurred, causing a power outage and changes in plans.

Students spent two nights in cabins and one night camping by the beach. The students who were assigned to go camping the night of the thunderstorm were not able to and had to return to the cabins, joining the rest of their peers.  Additionally, the night hike was cancelled.

However, students in the cabins bonded during the storm.  Cabins were assigned randomly, and the lack of power and ability to go outside forced students to interact with each other.

“The lightning and thunder storm created a stronger bond between my cabin [mates] and me.  I was in a cabin with people that I wasn’t that close with, but during the storm, we just talked for four or five hours straight in the dark.  We really got to know each other, and now I know that I can trust them with so much,” Tali Tufeld ’20 said.

Before the thunderstorm, activities consisted of a beach day and kayaking, as well as hiking, a high ropes course and games to help students come together as a class. Evening programs included an astronomy lesson and a campfire.

“I had a lot of fun over retreat.  The activities were also really fun, and I bonded with my group. I liked kayaking the most, even though my kayak was really slow,” Carly Wallace ’20 said.

Faculty members chaperoning the trip had similar opinions to the students.

“I think [El Capitan] was a fun retreat.  There are always unexpected things, like the weather, that we have no control over.  Overall, it was a really good experience for the students.  It was nice to see so many of them having a good time, even though a lot of them were a little out of their comfort zones.  They were all having fun, trying new things and supporting each other,” eighth grade dean Karen Fukushima said.

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