On March 28th, 2022, the final group of the class of 2022 took a bus ride to LaSalle Manor for a full-day Senior Retreat.
LaSalle Manor is a retreat center that De La Salle Institute has attended for decades. At retreat, students are able to take a step back to reflect on their lives from a different perspective and develop themselves, mentally and spiritually. The goal is to reflect on one’s own life and discover love, peace, and clarity especially at the senior level. “The whole experience was about getting to know ourselves more. We were also able to connect with our peers,” explained senior Diamond Smith. For many seniors, the experience took them by surprise.
Many fun, team-bonding activities took place. The group played ‘Where’s Brad-O” which is like ‘Hide and Seek’ and ‘Where’s Waldo’. They then transitioned in small groups and had one-on-one conversations together. Students were also provided free-time to explore the manor. At the conclusion, they met as a whole group again to reflect on their experience and prepare for the conclusion of their high school career. Aside from the fun activities, students had moments where it was time to get serious and talk to one another on a deeper level. “My favorite part about retreat had to be when we talked about what we valued in life. We got to see other perspectives on life, what they value, and different things that shape their character,” said senior Jaylen Harris. It was a good mixture of having fun and being serious. “As chaperones, we were able to see how much students value their own family. The environment also felt like a family,” said De La Salle Chaperone Ms. Graciela Covarrubias. While being on retreat, students displayed genuine care and respect for one another.
This retreat was much different from previous years. Whereas freshman retreat is centered around becoming accustomed to high school and the De La Salle community, sophomore retreat is about service, junior retreat is about personal reflection, the goal of senior retreat is unity amongst themselves and their peers as they get ready for the next chapter of life. “This retreat was different because it made me think. As an underclassman, you try to get things over with and rush the process,” said Smith. “Now, being a senior with a developed mindset, it helped me think about who I am and what my purpose is.” For many seniors, it was an opportunity to learn new things and see things from different perspectives. “I found myself connecting with my peers, especially the ones I didn’t know. I was able to meet new people and learn about them,” said senior David Pryor. Overall, seniors had the opportunity to have a moment to get to know both themselves and more about one another.
The seniors caught the chaperones by surprise. “Retreats can be tough. However, the seniors were willing to step into whatever questions or activities, and I was proud to see how mature and willing they were to let go, be present, and support one another,” said Covarrubias. For many young people, it’s hard to open up and allow themselves to be vulnerable. However, anything is possible being cheered on and feeling supported by one another. “This retreat was much different. The students let their guard down and were open to change,” said De La Salle Institute Chaperone Mr. Tom Wegesin. For everyone, it was a good opportunity to see one another outside of the classroom in a different light where they are more comfortable and able to express themselves more openly.
This was the perfect safe and comforting experience to conclude their senior year. Most importantly, it provided students the opportunity to reflect before entering their next chapter. “I had time to relax and get away from what’s going on in life. If I had the opportunity, I’d take it and go for another visit. It was very fulfilling to have time to re-center,” said Harris. It was a reliever for students to have a space to let go and take a break from the world. “It’s a nice experience and helps you refresh and get away from everyday life,” said Pryor.