Junior Retreat: A New Perspective


Photo courtesy of Mrs. Caine

Kate Wiley, Social Media Coordinator, Staff Writer

Junior retreat is quickly approaching, and it is clear that the current junior class is anxiously awaiting their experience of this beloved NDP tradition. Junior retreat is known to many as the defining moment of an NDP girl’s bond with her class. It is a pivot point as the juniors prepare to receive rings and shift from shy freshmen to the strong upperclassmen we knew we would become.

To preface our junior retreat with some past wisdom as well as a few new perspectives, I interviewed seniors Lauren Helminiak and Caroline Habiger and juniors Jill Noss and Reena Bitar to give our rising juniors a more inspired outlook on the retreat.

Seniors, what was your favorite part of junior retreat last year?

Lauren: My favorite part of retreat was when all of the girls in my advisory went to the meeting room in one of our cabins after our advisors had gone to bed and we all hung out together. We shared snacks and stories, and I really enjoyed the opportunity to get to know new people outside of the school setting.

Caroline: My favorite part of the retreat was the opportunity to just. . . retreat. It’s easy to get caught up in junior year craziness, so it was nice to simply exist in nature with people from different friend groups and backgrounds. This may sound silly, but I felt so in tune to being a human during those three days. We all put so much pressure on ourselves during the school year, and retreat is the perfect opportunity to leave everything behind knowing there is no homework to make up; you are just living.


Juniors, what are you most looking forward to for junior retreat?

Jill: This year, I’m excited to get to know more about my classmates. I think that having an event outside of school will really bond our class, and I am looking forward to experiencing a new environment together. We are all looking forward to partaking in this tradition, and I’m confident that our class will not only make retreat an amazing bonding experience, but also a memory we will never forget!

Reena: This year, I’m excited to have a break from school. Junior year is already stressful, and I think that we could all use a couple of days to not have to worry about schoolwork and tests. This retreat will help us all to relax and be able to spend time with our advisories in a non-school environment. I’m also very excited for the opportunity to get closer with and learn more about my classmates.


Seniors, how did retreat bond your class, and did you notice a real difference afterwards?

Lauren: It can be difficult to bond with new people at school when you are so focused on getting all of your assignments completed, so being able to step away from that and having the opportunity to talk to people that you didn’t talk to in previous years was really nice. It helped me to form friendships that I value a lot, even now!

Caroline: My advisory bonded a lot after retreat. Since it was full of different friend groups, I was apprehensive at first, but we had a wonderful time getting to know each other. Afterwards, all our mornings together were a little bit sweeter. Once we came back, it was so much fun to share our different stories and experiences from retreat. We traded them like Pokémon cards. It’s a great “preview” of the bonding that getting ready for ring together brings.


Juniors, what are your hopes for this retreat and how it will bond our class?

Jill: I hope that our class comes to understand more about each other. In school, it is easy to get wrapped up in work, so this is a great opportunity for us to relax and focus on each other rather than worry about other things. I hope that everyone comes to retreat with an open mind and makes the most out of our time. After retreat, the Class of ‘24 will be bonded in a new way, and I can’t wait to become even closer with my pink and green sisters!

Reena: I hope that our class develops a closer bond with each other and that we all have fun. I have heard about junior retreat from past years, and everyone says that even if you don’t think it will, junior retreat really does bring your class together. I am excited for that to become a reality for our class!


And finally, seniors, any advice for the rising juniors?

Lauren: My advice for juniors going on retreat is to go into it with an open mind! I know that some might think there are a million other things you could be doing rather than sleeping in a cabin and showering in small quarters, but it truly is such a great time to step away from stress and create new friendships. Junior year is tough, but with the friendships you have made over the past two (or five) years at NDP, the year goes by more quickly than ever.
Caroline: My advice for juniors: enjoy every second! You deserve a break. Also, don’t worry too much if you don’t have many friends in your advisory. Just be open to each other, and you may find a bond you had no idea could exist. Be honest and respectful during conversations. Be sensitive to other perspectives. Embrace not having your phone, too; it is surprisingly nice to have a break from that. And if you play Uno, don’t hold back!


Thank you so much to my sisters of pink and green and the 2023 seniors for your input. I hope this gave the freshmen and sophomores something to look forward to, the juniors some amazing advice, and the seniors something sweet to reminisce about.