Time out

Upperclassmen overnight retreats offer a break from school for reflection, group activities.


Jemima Scott

Seniors on retreat listen to an introduction about the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito before going to observe the animals. The class stayed up past 11 p.m. for a circle sharing activity later that night.

Cassie Eskicioglu, Senior Reporter

The Junior Class retreat scheduled for Friday will be moved to a yet-to-be-determined date so all students and faculty can attend Stuart Hall High School’s varsity basketball state championship game, but the purpose for the retreat will remain the same — to take a break from school life.

“The retreats are a unique opportunity for introspection and time for reflection,” retreat leader Paul Pryor Lorentz said. “Time for shared togetherness, funtime, downtime and a tech timeout experience.”

The senior’s retreat took place early this month at Naturebridge in the Marin Headlands, and plans are for the Junior Class to head to the same location.

In addition to walking to the Marine Mammal Center, writing letters to their future selves, and playing cards, seniors spent time in an affirmation circle sharing kind words and personal stories about each of their classmates for over four hours.

“It was very emotional — a lot of people cried,” senior Gabby Tom said. “It made me finally realize, ‘Wow, I am never going to see some of these people [after high school] again.’”

The juniors can expect hiking, personal narrative reflections, and singing-bonding activities while on their retreat, according to Pryor-Lorentz.

“I went to the Headlands in fifth grade and had a great time,” junior Sophie Mack said. “We did lots of bonding activities and hikes as a class. I’m excited about this retreat because I feel like its a similar chance for the whole grade to bond.”

PAWS advisers will join the juniors in their retreats, offering them an opportunity to get to know students out of the classroom, according to Spanish teacher Mary Bicanic who will attend the junior retreat.

“I am really excited to see the class together in a big group setting, now that the class is at the end of junior year,” Bicanic said. “I also like to see you all out of the classroom and school setting, when a lot of the normal day-to-day stressors are gone, everyone is relaxed, having fun and more focused on relationships.”

Dedicated to work and learning, the classroom does not always offer students a space for certain activities such as meditation, according to Pryor-

“On the simplest level, I hope that everyone gets relaxing downtime and quiet time to just recharge,” Pryor Lorentz said. “On a deeper, higher aspiration level I hope that there is the opportunity for students to discover something about themselves, to have some sort of self-reflective insight that helps them be better in themselves.”