Day of Renewal offers freshmen opportunity to bond and reflect

On Oct. 19, members of the Class of 2020 had the opportunity to experience a day-long retreat organized and hosted by McNick’s Campus Ministry group. This year’s retreat was centered around a theme of “Growing in Christian Community.”

“We really want the first-year students to move forward with a deeper understanding of what it means to be a part of the McNick community and…a community in which we work together to support each other in understanding what it means to live as disciples of Christ,” said Jeff Hutchinson-Smyth, Director of Campus Ministry.

Faculty members and members of the senior class helped to coordinate the many activities during the day, which included speeches from students, small group activities, and a Mass to close the retreat.

Students seemed to especially enjoy the small group activities. “What I liked about the retreat was that we were able to interact with new people within our small group. I met a handful of people I had actually never seen before,” Freshman Ian Burt said.

Freshman Madison Kouche also enjoyed working in small groups. “Being in small groups with my classmates…really appealed to me,” she said. “I feel like it bonded us more.”

According to Hutchinson-Smyth, branching out toward new people was one of the main goals of the group collaboration. “The small group setting is a great opportunity for the students to build connections with one another that go beyond who they already know,” he said.

Speeches from the seniors also made up a considerable portion of the retreat, with students sharing past experiences throughout their high school years as well as their faith journey. “[The speakers] talked to us about our transfer from grade school to high school and…the new friends that we would make,” Freshman Will Brokamp said.

After the retreat, Hutchinson-Smyth was pleased with the participation and help of both the students and faculty involved. “I’m really grateful for the way the class of 2020 brought open hearts and open minds to their experience…and for how the faculty and seniors really were ‘bonded together’ in providing the freshmen with an outstanding first retreat experience at McNick,” he said.

Freshman students come together to make a class candle during the 2016 Freshman Day of Renewal. The activities in this year’s retreat were geared toward a theme of “Growing in Christian Community.” (Picture Courtesy of McNicholas High School Weekly Newsletter)

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