Seniors volunteer to attend annual Big Bend field trip as counselors


Courtesy of Class of 2021

Seniors take on the role of counselors at the annual eighth grade Big Bend trip to revisit the camp or experience a new opportunity.

Bailey Maierson, Staff Writer

When Alexander Adrogue was in eighth grade, he was pierced in the leg by a cactus while leading a group of his friends through a valley. Despite his leg going completely numb from being impaled, Adrogue, now a senior, is thrilled to return to the camp grounds as a counselor on this year’s annual Big Bend trip. 

For some seniors, revisiting Big Bend will allow them to take part in activities they were not able to previously, but for others, the trip is a chance to miss a week of class and enjoy the company of their friends and nature. 

Senior Eleanor Devetski did not originally intend to become a counselor. It was not until she ran into Director of Experiential Education, Marty Thompson, outside of College Counseling one day that she reconsidered the trip.

“After talking to him and hearing how excited he was for the trip, it made me excited and realize how much I would hate to miss out on such a great opportunity,” she said.

Devetski signed up for both the South Rim and Blue Creek hikes, but she is most eager to revisit the campgrounds themselves, a place where she met people in her grade that she never expected to have things in common with. 

Adrogue is looking forward to challenging himself in the more difficult hike of the two, Blue Creek, having taken the easier route as an eighth grader. 

“I’m honestly most looking forward to missing school and spending time in nature,” Adrogue said. “I just absolutely love getting to spend a couple of days in the middle of nowhere, just kind of meditating, breathing and enjoying good air.” 

Adrogue is also glad that he will stay in the traditional staked tents at Big Bend again, a factor that some seniors take into account when choosing to become counselors for Big Bend or the freshman retreat at Camp Lonehollow. 

According to Adrogue, the freshman retreat and Big Bend are very different excursions despite both of them taking place “in the middle of nowhere.” At freshman retreat, students have a residential area, so it’s less strenuous than staying outside at Big Bend. Adrogue recommends that students interested in the “full outdoors experience” go to Big Bend.

For senior Andrew Sall, who came to SJS in ninth grade, the trip provides an opportunity to enjoy nature and be a part of a school tradition that he was not able to participate in. He also loves the outdoors and hiking, but tends to get outvoted when it comes to going on trips with his family.

Sall heard about the trip to Big Bend from his classmates who shared their experiences with him, and decided it would be the perfect compromise.

“This trip was something I wanted to experience for myself before I leave SJS,” Sall said. “This is a great opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and also become more involved with the SJS community members, especially those who you don’t interact with on a daily basis.”