The senior retreat is not something that the class of 2022 would want to miss out on

A selfie of the class of 2022 during the first day of their senior year.

Roman Kalaczinski

A selfie of the class of 2022 during the first day of their senior year.

After hearing about his older sister’s senior retreat, senior class president Benji Zorn wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from his class’s senior retreat. 

But what his older sister promised was that there would be people who would go into the trip as complete strangers and leave having formed lifelong friendships. After hearing this, Benji was absolutely amazed by the impact that the senior retreat could have on students.

“How is [it] possible that you see this person, like through all your years [of high school], and not develop a friendship,” started Benji, “then you spend 36 hours in the woods, and now you’re friends?”

With this question in mind, Benji’s main goal for this year’s senior retreat is to develop deeper connections with his classmates and create memories that will last a lifetime.

This year’s senior retreat will be held at Camp Henry, like every other year. However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, instead of making it an overnight trip, the seniors will leave the high school at 9:00 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 13, and come back that same night at 11:00 p.m. There will be a multitude of activities at the retreat, such as team bonding exercises with randomized groups, ropes courses, rehearsals for the annual Homecoming lip-sync competition, and a bonfire to end the night.   

Benji has been extremely satisfied with the initiative of his peers so far to make their senior year as memorable as possible. Participation for high schoolers is always a concern, however, Benji has not seen any trouble in that general area.

“I’ve been blown away with the participation of most seniors [with] their willingness to just ask and see what’s going on,” Benji said. “I’ve never seen this [throughout] any of my years [of high school] so far. I mean, participation is already up, but I feel like [the retreat is] just going to get that ball rolling. We’re just getting everyone excited that it’s the end and [we should] make it count.” 

To accompany Benji’s hopes for the retreat, senior and student body vice president Maurielle Hayes yearns for her peers to be open to conversing with people they don’t interact with on a daily basis. Maurielle is encouraging everyone to have an open mind and branch out in the hopes of forging unbreakable bonds with their fellow classmates.

We’re just getting everyone excited that it’s the end, and [we should] make it count.”

— Benji Zorn

“I know we’ve already started this year for a couple of weeks,” explained Maurielle, “but [I want to] have a nice beginning [to this year] and get to know each other as a class more after how many years we’ve been together.”

After the trials and divisiveness of the last year and a half, Maurielle hopes that seniors can put their differences aside, come together as a class, and make their final year at FHC one to remember.

“We each have differences, but we all come together as one class of 2022,” Maurielle said. “We may not all be in the same friend groups, but we all have one thing in common, like real Rangers.”

Like Benji and Maurielle, AP US History teacher and senior class representative Steve Labenz also believes that the senior retreat is the perfect way to bring the class of 2022 together.

“[The senior retreat is] something that we started many years ago, and I think it’s a good idea to get the kids together,” Labenz said. “Especially with the last few years with COVID and everything, [they] haven’t had a lot of time together. So, I think it’ll help to build a little bit of community, a little collegiality to get everybody on the same page and get the school year off to [a good start].”

The senior retreat is known for being a crucial bonding experience for the senior class. Attendance is not only an important step on the way to having a unified senior year, but it’s also a diverse experience; there is something for everyone to participate in.

“Everybody talks about how much they’ve enjoyed [the senior retreat],” Labenz said. “I think there’s something for everybody. There’ll be some group stuff; there’ll be some downtime. You know, I think they really try to make it something that is fun for everybody no matter what.”

Senior Roman Kalaczinski, student body president, is also particularly excited about group activities, especially rehearsing the lip-sync routine for the Homecoming assembly on Sept. 23, 2021. Including the lip-sync practice as an activity at senior retreat will hopefully improve both the quality and participation levels of this year’s lip-sync.

“I am looking forward to just being with my class, practicing our lip-sync, and getting that down,” Roman said. “That way, we can finally win and just be with everybody and have a good time.” 

Roman made it very clear that as excited as he is about the lip-sync practice, the bonfire, and the group activities, the most important thing about the senior retreat is that as many people as possible show up. 

“I know that some people are upset that it’s not going to be exactly like it has been in the past, but the truth of the matter is that it’s never been about sleeping away or staying at Camp Henry,” Roman said. “It’s always been about the experiences that you have with your class and the people that you meet. So just get out there and go to it, even if you may not want to; I highly encourage everybody to get involved.”