Class of 2020’s Junior Retreat


Danielle Escobal, Assistant Editor

The long awaited Junior retreat crept on the Class of 2020 like this school year crept on the summer. After a hectic first month of junior year, there was an unsaid desire for a break that retreat would supply. Bags packed, books to the side, and phones kept, each advisory was ready for take-off.

The Capital Retreat Center in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, would become my and 11F’s home away from home. The buzz of excitement was evident as we began racing to our rooms. After unpacking just a smidge (enough to calm our anxious moms back home), we explored the playground conveniently adjacent to our building and got ready for our first Kosher meal of the retreat. After a wonderful dinner of lasagna, curiosity got the best of us and we continued our exploration of the campus. As the sun set, we found ourselves in the Gathering Room and began our first discussions and activities. Without revealing the secrets of an 11F retreat, sand was spilled, stories were shared, and introductions began. Our energy dwindled, but our excitement kept us awake. Returning to our rooms and freshening up, we stayed awake playing games and passing around Chips Ahoy and Oreos while showing off each other’s fuzzy socks.

Despite me still automatically waking up at six, I know everyone else enjoyed their extra three hours of sleep. After breakfast we began another discussion, one that resonates deep within me and my peers. It was at this moment I felt that we opened our arms as an advisory and held each other’s hands. We were then given alone time outside to reflect on our discussion. With the weather at a high 70 degrees, it was a perfect setting to gather our thoughts. Lunch came and then we were off on a hike. All I can say is that lakes are apparently really slippery, enough that some of us had to take a dip (hehe). And who could forget our class mafia games which really tested our friendships with one another. After freshening up from an activity in the pouring, pounding rain that made us feel like we were in a soap opera, it was dinner time. This dinner especially made us feel at home, full of NDP spirit.  Back to the Gathering Room we pushed the chairs together to watch a movie, which invoked some passionate negative and positive feelings towards characters. After a discussion of the movie, we received our special gifts and had a bonfire to make s’mores. The night ended on a high note as we laughed at the smallest of things just because we were so happy.

The first 30 minutes of the next morning was nothing but a rush to get everything packed and ready to check out. We ate our last breakfast and readied ourselves for the last discussion. The aura was different now from the first day. Although we still experienced moments of silence, our class knit was something stronger. We confirmed our new friendships and bonds formed within our advisory during the last few hours. Despite our desire to go home and sleep in our own beds, there was an unspoken post-retreat sadness throughout the bus on the way back to Hampton Lane. And even though we left on our separate ways, we are closer than ever before.

My lovely 11F: Thank you for a wonderful three days. Three days I will not forget. Let’s celebrate each other, our rings, and the rest of our blue and pink sisters.