Dear senior year — the retreat


Dear Senior Retreat,

I’ve waited four years for you, hoping it’d be a million times better than the one we went on as timid, unfamiliar freshmen. Because at fourteen, I had little to know clue who my graduating class is. But moreover, I wasn’t exactly sure I knew myself. 

At fourteen, I was still afraid to wear bold colors to school—something that’d make me stand out in a crowd. At fourteen, I made sure to wear makeup every day to convince my class that I was pretty like the upperclassmen were. 

But at seventeen, I’ve switched my focus to something more worthwhile—something more worth my time here at FHC. 

After returning home from the Senior Retreat on that Monday evening, I was pretty sure I knew every single member of the Class of 2022— their names, at the least. I’m pretty sure I talked to people I had never, not once in my four years, talked to before, and I’m pretty sure I made some friends.

I’m pretty darn sure.

Senior Retreat was definitely something to keep in my memory box. Although the process of growing as a class was long and grueling and exhausting, the amount of fun I had was incomparable to the countless bonding activities I thought would never end. 

And I laughed; I laughed so much. Despite my voice being entirely gone from screaming at the football game earlier in the weekend, my laughter was inevitable. 

I laughed when Matt Burns attempted to front-flip over a jump rope during a team-bonding activity, only to slam into the cabin on the other side. I laughed when Owen Gorsuch didn’t step foot off the karaoke stage for what seemed like hours at a time, performing for a dead empty gazebo. And I laughed at the bonfire when Kelsey Dantuma confessed the crush she had on Jack McNamara in middle school. 

I smiled, reminisced, and loved. 

The Class of 2022 shared a million special moments at the end-of-the-night bonfire. An uncountable number of people stood up, in front of an entire sea of peers, and confessed, joked, and thanked everyone for making them who they are today. As I watched the people I’ve known and not known for years go up and recite a speech—whether lengthily or briefly—I spontaneously took a spot in line for an opportunity to preach.

And that’s what I’m most happy about: having no regrets from Senior Retreat.

I stood up, shaky voice and all, and made my statement. With the crackling fire behind me and my graduating class in front of me, I reflected on my days since Pine Ridge Elementary.

The senior bonfire is always supposed to be something honorable and unforgettable, but I didn’t believe that until I experienced it. 

Returning from the retreat, I am now able to say hi to people in the hallway I grew closer with that day. I am now able to distribute so much more Ranger Pride and love for the senior class than I ever had before, and for that, I thank you.

As I sit here and pour my raw feelings into this editor’s column, I realize that I owe it all to the senior class.