Eighth graders took their annual retreat to either Catalina Island or Joshua Tree National Park in early October where the students endeavored out of their comfort zones by playing games. Each student was placed in a group with his/her peers, a teacher and a naturalist. The students participated in numerous activities that involved working with each other in order to bond with and create new experiences. The main purpose of retreat was to relax, take time away from school and bond with new friends.
The highlight of the trip for many people was getting to see their friends in an environment outside of school. Many times during free time, kids would go swimming just off the shore and encounter leopard sharks that live in the ocean. Others also really enjoyed parts of the landscape at Catalina.
“I enjoyed the experience on the beach with the sharks and the views were really nice to see while I had my free time.” Benson Fleischer ’23 said.
The choice for 8th graders to go Joshua Tree or Catalina was recently changed last year when the choice to go to El Capitan was given to the 7th graders and the 8th graders were given the choice to go to Catalina for a second year along with Joshua Tree. This caused some controversy, as most of the class of ’22 had to go back to Catalina for a second year and experience many of the same activities.
The students on both retreats participated in numerous activities with each other such as kayaking, snorkeling, campfires and hiking.
“I enjoyed the retreat and played many games that helped me make new relationships with people that I didn’t know before. The night where we went to campfire and spent time with friends was my favorite.” Colin Kneafsey ’23 said, who went to Catalina.
Throughout the retreat, the most important part was getting to have fun while also pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. Many people also enjoyed getting to see some of their teachers and counselors do things that they might not normally do in a school environment. When asked whether or not he enjoyed being pushed out of his comfort zone at Joshua Tree, Holden Gering ’21 said, “Yes I enjoyed learning new things about myself and I enjoyed getting to meet new people that I didn’t know before.”