Freshman Retreat a Bonding Experience
Freshmen come together at the end of February to experience one of the most impactful events of their entire Rockhurst High School careers: The Freshman Retreat. This year's ran from Feb 23-25.
This three-day retreat has often been referred to as a pivotal moment in a young man's life, and a defining mark for the class as a whole. The retreat includes several surprises for the youngest Hawklets, but some of the general activities include team building exercises, games, time away from school, Mass, sports, and conversations with older Rockhurst students and faculty members, female high school students, and Rockhurst alumni.
This year's co-chairs were seniors Cade Prins and Cole Smith. As freshmen, both realized just how important the retreat can be for each member of Rockhurst's newest class. So they were involved as grounds crew members as sophomores and core-team leaders as juniors. Then, they were selected to head the entire event, alongside Rev. Vincent Giacabazi, SJ.
"My Freshman Retreat was one of the most impactful experiences of my life. I had such a blast at the retreat that immediately afterwards, I knew I wanted to try and make sure that the freshmen classes after me would have an equally fantastic time," said Smith. "This year, being co-chair with one of my best friends was the ultimate fulfillment of that dream."
Prins had a slightly different feeling about his experience as a freshman, but still felt the call to help future retreats.
"I enjoyed my Freshman Retreat, but not as much as I feel I could have. After it, I decided to try and make the retreat the best in any way that I can," said Prins. "Next thing you know I'm on sophomore grounds crew, then core-team, and then finally co-chair."
Freshman Retreat Director, Fr. Giacabazi, SJ, believes that the retreat has both an individual aspect for each student, as well as an aspect for the class as a whole.
"For the individuals, it's about setting goals, developing new friendships, and being introduced to deeper prayerful reflections on life and relationships," said Fr. Giacabazi, SJ. "For the collective, it brings about a sense of bondedness, unity, and fraternal enthusiasm. It solidifies their identity as a class, and helps them realize that they are people who truly belong and are at home at Rockhurst."
Following their Freshman Retreat, the Class of 2020 seemed to agree. Students were given a survey after the retreat ended, and here were some results:
- 90% of freshman respondents said, "I enjoyed the retreat (very) much."
- 87% of freshman respondents said, "I feel a (very) much greater connection to my classmates after this retreat."
- 81% of freshman respondents said, "I feel (very) much more comfortable/more at home at Rockhurst after this retreat."
"The Freshman Retreat opened my eyes to appreciate just how much the staff, and even the students, care about the individual success of everyone that enters into Rockhurst. For that, I know I made the right choice to attend RHS, and I want to become more involved now. Thank you so much to everyone involved in this retreat!"
"The experience for me was very good as it provided an opportunity to get out of the daily hustle and bustle, and look deep inside myself and what I really wanted to achieve. No electronics isolated all distractions and gave me the opportunity to interact with my classmates on a different level."
"It was the best time I've ever had. I grew closer to people and It felt more like a brotherhood."
The above video is recap of the 2017 Freshman Retreat, courtesy of the Pastoral Office.
The above video is a quick description of the Freshman Retreat in general, courtesy of the Pastoral Office.