Sophomores reflect on their retreat experience

Class of 2024 members have the chance to grow their faith


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Sophomores listen to a speaker during their retreat on March 23.

Ellie Barnes, Reporter

With finals and end-of-school-year anxieties looming around the corner, for most sophomores it is a relief to take a day off from their classes for their day-long retreat.

One day a week from March 9 to April 19, 50 to 70 different sophomores will take the brief bus ride to Laurel Hall for a day of growing their relationship with Christ. 

For the new director of campus ministry, Mr. David Neeson, this is his first time overseeing the sophomore retreats. Neeson said that the National Evangelization Teams Ministries is leading the retreats this year. He said, “In essence, this is a group of young adults who travel the country and give one-day retreats for parishes or for schools.” 

Through ice breakers, witness talks and prayer times, NET Ministries strives to grow the sophomores in their faith. Neeson said, “What I think is admirable about NET Ministries is that these young adults are in the prime of their life, giving a year to travel around and talk to strangers about faith. This is literally what the gospels told us to do.” These retreats are a chance for sophomores to “take a day away from academic pressure and focus on what really matters in life, which is their relationship with Christ,” Neeson said. 

Sophomore Crew VanderWoude shares the Neeson’s view. For VanderWoude, the prayer time was most impactful. He said, “It is kind of nice to be able to be quiet for once and not have to do tests or homework or all that.” 

Though the one-day sophomore retreats are meaningful, Neeson would prefer that they participate in a more robust program similar to the three-day senior retreats. He said, “How we currently run retreats aren’t what I would say ideal, because they are not full immersion experiences.” Even so, the sophomore retreats do serve a purpose, as Neeson went on to say, “Just because we are not hitting the depth that would be desired, doesn’t mean it’s not important to still (have the event). A retreat allows you to walk away from whatever battle you are fighting, whether that’s anxiety, depression or stress.” 

On the retreat, Neeson hopes that sophomores will get the chance to regroup and return to their battles knowing that they are not alone. 

On a final note, Neeson said he wishes students not judge the retreat based on someone else’s experience. He said, “I hope that students come with an open mind and an open heart.”