For the first time in McNicholas history, the junior class retreat will be an overnight one. On Tuesday, Feb. 25, the girls of the Class of 2015 journeyed to St. Anne’s Convent in Melbourne, Kentucky, and on March 11, the boys will head to the Bergamo Center in Dayton, Ohio. In previous years, all juniors were part of a retreat that lasted the length of the school day. Beginning this year, administration has separated the boys’ and girls’ retreats in addition to making them longer and more meaningful. These changes have been made to give the young men and women of McNicholas time to reflect on God’s love and the gifts that have been given to them. “The world is co-ed and the fact that [McNick] is co-ed prepares us for that,” Retreat Director and religion teacher Mary Beth Sandmann said. While she recognizes the importance of being in a co-ed environment, she also knows the value of taking time to examine the talents of each in separate environments. “It’s important that we take a step back to take a closer look at young men and women,” Sandmann said. The retreats have been extended to allow more time for growing closer to classmates, and to allow more formal and informal conversation. “We felt pretty strongly that to grow in a relationship, you need time,” Director of Campus Ministry Jeff Hutchinson-Smyth said. The girls returned to McNick on Feb. 26, and their enthusiasm has made the junior boys excited for their retreat. “It sounds exciting because even if we’re not very deep, we get to know each other a little better,” junior Patrick Simmons said. Through sharing poems, experiences, and tears, junior girls have begun to see their classmates in a different light. “Being outside of school made me see them as more than just my classmates,” junior Allie O’Keefe said.