The Freshman Retreat


Valerie Figueroa

The freshman class gathers in St. Daniel’s Lobby waiting for their annual retreat to begin.

The annual St. Benedict’s Freshman Retreat took place on October 12. The main message of the retreat was “Ora et Labora,” where the freshman class learned how to balance prayer and work while being able to complete fun activities with their peers. To complete the activities, students were split into four groups: red, blue, green, and yellow, and they were made based on the students’ religion classes. 

The day started in the auditorium, where students watched a mini-play about St. Benedict performed by seniors. The play told students about “Ora et Labora,” which means pray and work. Then students were split into their groups and completed four stations. 

In the first station, a teacher, Ms. Alcorn, and Sister Mary gave speeches about finding balance in one’s life. They told different stories about themselves but returned to the same central topic: how nobody is perfect in finding balance in their life. Ms. Alcorn emphasized that being a freshman can be daunting, and finding a balance between work and prayer is hard. Although, in the end, they can be close to balance.

The second station was in the gym, where the prayer in prayer and work was replaced with play. Students enjoyed playing games with their peers while in this station. The options were spike ball, just dance, basketball, jump rope, and walking laps around the gym. In this station, students were also able to interact with the senior volunteers. 

The third station was in the chapel. In this station, students interacted with Father Ivan, the school’s Chaplain, and Deacon Christopher, the new moderator for Benet Academy’s youth ministries. Students learned how to incorporate prayer into their life and how including prayer has its benefits. Freshman Teniola Abosede said, “I learned a lot of new Latin words, and I learned new ways to incorporate prayer into my life.”

The last station was in the auditorium with Principal Myers. He stressed the importance of community by presenting a slideshow and showing a clip of a movie called “The Rule.” The movie was about an all-boys Benedictine school in New Jersey and how the community shapes their school. 

After all the stations, the freshman class regrouped in the auditorium for a mass. This mass, led by Father Ivan and Deacon Christopher, was special since it was the first all Freshman mass since Covid. It was an excellent way to end the day, as students could relax while practicing faith with their grades. Also, Mr. Myers complimented the freshman class by saying the students were respectful during the mass. 

The retreat was a fun experience for everyone, especially for the Freshman. Students could complete fun activities while enjoying time with friends and learning about their faith. Freshman student Grace Bickelhaupt said, “it was a really fun experience, and I was definitely able to learn a lot about myself.”