Freshman Retreat bonds students over games, performances

Emily Chen, Staff Writer

Bonding over games of Assassin and Name That Song, the new ninth grade class spent time with nature and with each other during Freshman Retreat.

The freshmen, accompanied by peer leaders, administrators and some advisors, headed out to Camp Allen for the annual retreat Sept. 15 and 16.

At 11:30, the freshmen arrived at Camp Allen and launched into the first round of bonding activities after lunch. They rotated around stations with games like Hot Seat and Telephone Charades led by peer leaders.

“The best part was just hanging out because you met new people and had fun,” freshman Sean Paul Gras said.

The second set of activities involved more games, like the Human Knot, as well as group projects including as an egg drop and a contest to build the highest structure out of newspaper and masking tape.

“I really enjoyed the assassin game and the egg drop experiment,” freshman Kate Habich said.

The freshmen spent time with not only their peers but also peer leaders and advisors during the trip. They planned a skit with their advisories and participated in an introductory question and answer session with the seniors.

“The peer leaders did an extraordinary job of making the freshmen feel welcome to the St. John’s Upper School, and it was great seeing my advisees enjoy themselves with all of the activities,” Advisor and College Counselor Nick Accrocco said.

That night’s movie, “National Treasure,” and the free time the next morning were also important times for bonding among students.

Freshmen and peer leaders build a tower out of marshmallow and toothpicks.
Freshmen and peer leaders build a tower out of marshmallow and toothpicks. (Emily Ragauss)

“I didn’t really like the bonding games because a lot of us already know many things about each of our classmates,” freshman Elizabeth Awad said. “I also wish the retreat was two weeks earlier because everyone already had their friend groups, so it was a little hard for people to make new friends.”

The advisory talent show, which took place the next morning, was a highlight of the retreat.

“I really liked the time we spent with our advisories performing and planning our skit,” Awad said.

After a last lunch in the Camp Allen cafeteria, students packed their bags and headed for home.

“The best part about freshmen retreat was getting to know my friends better, and the worst part was definitely the heat,” freshman Sarah Sult said.