Senior Retreat: #Connected2021

Seniors gathered in the gym Sept. 28 for their senior retreat.

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Morgan Herriott, Print Managing Editor

The senior retreat brought seniors together to connect and spend time with one another. 

The theme for this year’s retreat was #Connected2021, symbolizing the strong bonds between the senior class even among unprecedented times. As seniors began to arrive, a slideshow of pictures from freshman year that had been submitted by the Class of 2021. Attendees sang and danced to “Everybody” by Ingrid Michaelson and took part in an activity designed to teach seniors to lean on each other in hard times. Video messages from Caroline Dickey ’18, Kamryn Rogers ’20 and former science teacher and 2018 Teacher of the Year Erin Paterson presented the senior class with encouraging words of advice as they dive into their final year of high school.

“I used to think that I would lose connection with a lot of my classmates, but after the retreat I totally understood that wasn’t true,” senior Brynna Dow said. “An overall message I got from the retreat was that it’s okay to not know the direction of my life, especially because I have so many Sion sisters that will support me in whatever I do.”

English teacher Casey Engel gave a speech on the power of walking into the unknown. Engel encouraged seniors to not be intimidated by questions about the future and reassured students that it’s okay for their answer to be “I don’t know.” The speech was meant to communicate that having a map of one’s entire future was energy that could be better spent relishing the moment, according to Engel.

“Think of not knowing as inviting in possibilities that you wouldn’t otherwise explore by following one pre-planned path, especially as you move into the next realm of your life,” Engel said. “ Life can be so incredibly complicated, but a lot of that complication involves pressures and stress factors that are just toxic, and I feel like those pressures and stress factors hinder so much about a person’s purpose and journey.”

Student Body Class President Mary Hudak shared her own story on working towards loving herself and how being at Sion had greatly impacted her mental health and self-confidence. She encouraged seniors to treat each other with kindness and compassion always because you may never know what kind of impact it might have on one person’s day.

I left the retreat with the comforting knowledge that I can always rely on my classmates to be there for me when I need them and that I will do whatever I can to be there for them when they need me.”

— Student Body President Mary Hudak

“The main thing I hope that people took from my speech is how important it is to be kind to one another,” Hudak said. “You never know what someone is going through and the impact a few kind words and actions can have on their day, and by extension, their life.”

Seniors were also given a bag containing a letter from their freshman self, strings and yarn to make a necklace representing 10 hopes each senior had for themselves and a piece of cardstock to write down a goal that will be put on the senior class bulletin board. They also joined together with their freshman year peer ministry groups to reconnect and reflect on how things have changed since freshman year. 

“Some goals of mine are just to stay super optimistic and high spirited, especially since senior year can be pretty stressful,” Dow said. “Also just to get closer with my senior class, since it’s the last year here at Sion.”

To close off the night, the class of 2021 gathered in the middle of the gym floor around a microphone that was open for any student to come up and talk if they felt the desire to. Seniors shared parts of their freshman letter, reflections on their high school experience, how Sion has changed them as an individual and even more personal stories of struggle and perseverance. 

“Open mic helped me see that I am not alone and that many people struggle with the same things I do,” Hudak said. “I left the retreat with the comforting knowledge that I can always rely on my classmates to be there for me when I need them and that I will do whatever I can to be there for them when they need me.”