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Retreat Prepares Seniors for Life After GA

Written by Gertie Lafferty '24

The Senior Retreat (held at Montgomery County Community College) began with guest speaker Alex Weber, who was a former NCAA Division I lacrosse player and American Ninja Warrior, among many other accomplishments. He was animated and passionate in his lessons of perseverance, hard work, and grit. I resonated a lot with what he shared with us about overcoming obstacles in order to achieve goals. As a senior in high school, I have to make a lot of decisions about the future (where I’m going to college, what I want to major in, what job I want to pursue in the future), which can be very overwhelming and confusing. Weber’s words and stories inspired me to think about what I really want to do in the future and what I want out of life. He told us that it is all within reach as long as we chase the fire within ourselves that is motivating us to keep moving forward to achieve our goals.

This speaker was supported by the Daniel R. Chen '13 Speaker Series.

The next section of the retreat was divided into three activities: mindfulness with Dr. Latch and Mr. McLean, yoga with Ms. Fraser, and breathing with Mr. Grady. Each activity had about 10-15 students. Mindfulness was focused on how to sit, clear your mind, and breathe to fully be present in one moment. Dr. Latch shared a lot about different research and scientific studies that prove mindfulness to be a useful tool for everyday life. We began doing our own mindfulness exercises and were given the choices to either sit, lay down, or draw to accommodate everyone’s level of comfort while relaxing and centering ourselves. Then, we switched it up and did yoga with Ms. Fraser, which was super fun and goofy. My group was able to laugh and bond during this activity while we attempted to stretch and do handstands. Mr. Grady talked to us about breathing and how breathing techniques can improve the immune system, reduce stress, and increase physical energy, and it doesn’t take a lot of effort. So, combined, all three activities were definitely fun and lighthearted. I wish there was a bit more time for them because they were all so engaging and interesting, but there was a lot to do in one day.

After these activities, we were all provided lunch from Wawa and given time to roam around, eat, and talk with friends. Lunch was followed by two informational sessions. One was about financial health and the other was about consent, led by Ms. Jennings and Mr. Dence. The finance session was a lecture-like structure, where we listened to a presentation about good and bad saving habits. I think this was important to hear, especially before going to college, because it is crucial to have a good savings account for future success, and it is most beneficial to set it up now. The consent talk was mostly a reminder from what we had previously learned in our health & wellness classes, but it is always helpful to refresh these lessons because they apply to every situation in life. Overall, while there wasn’t as much bonding happening during these times, these two sessions were important to hear.

Altogether, the Senior Retreat felt very well-thought out, and it was really fun. We got a day away from classes to come together as a class, get inspired by our guest speaker, work together with volunteering faculty members, and prepare for a healthy future with financial saving and consent lessons.