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Juniors experience ‘J.O.Y.’ on retreat

Students spend time creating mason jar crafts and writing positive affirmations for their classmates in a session titled, “Others.” Photo credit: Tyson Noquez-Epil

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The junior class held its annual retreat at St. Anthony’s Retreat Center in Kalihi last week.

It is traditionally an event planned and led by students from the junior class. This is compared to the retreats of other grade levels, which are usually coordinated by the Living In Faith Experience (LIFE) Team.

The theme of this year’s retreat was “Ice Cream for J.O.Y.,” with the acronym “J.O.Y.” representing the phrase, “Jesus, Others, and Yourself.” Students participated in a variety of activities throughout the day, which included playing games, listening to music, providing personal testimonies and creating crafts.

Retreat coordinators and juniors Alana Glaser and Megan Mattison decided to gear the retreat towards self-improvement and reflection, in contrast with the popular retreat theme of strengthening class relationships.

“This is because we feel that our division is already closely knit,” Glaser said, “It was unnecessary for us to participate in extensive bonding activities. Instead, we chose to give our classmates the opportunity to come to understand and appreciate themselves as unique and valuable individuals. Our various activities allowed for inner thought and self-evaluation.”

Mattison had similar hopes for the class to focus on internal development and self reflection.

“My main goal for this retreat was for everyone to learn something new about themselves,” she said. “I wanted people to see that their flaws make them unique and that they can use what God has given them to make the world a better place. I really believe that almost everyone learned something new about themselves or their peers on the retreat.”

Junior Realesse Lumapas enjoyed the supportive ambience of the retreat and thought that it helped to reinforce the key messages of the day.

“There were a lot of great topics touched upon during retreat, such as loving our flaws and strengths,” Lumapas said. “I think everyone really needed to hear those things from, not only the leaders, but fellow classmates as well.”

For junior Katelyn Schmisseur, a new student this semester, the retreat provided her the opportunity for not only inward reflection but also new interpersonal relationships.

It was really helpful having a retreat on my second day of school because it gave me a chance to meet people,” Schmisseur said. “It was so different than my old school because we would never do anything like this, and if we ever did, nobody would really participate. It was nice to see that the whole grade is comfortable with each other.”

The retreat for the junior class is typically an extended day retreat that ends at about 5 p.m.

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