The Freshmen Retreat for St. John’s School Class of 2026
The freshman class at St. John’s School went to Carolina Creek Camp and Retreat Center for two days to kick off our first year in the Upper School. We were able to get to know our new classmates, as well as catch up with old friends. We ate meals and experienced fun activities together, such as swimming in the lagoon, jumping off the Terror Tower, playing 9-square, trying the pool’s rope course, and zipping down the zipline. We also played many games in newly formed Advisory groups, such as seeing who could build the tallest tower out of spaghetti and marshmallows. Our Advisories are like a small family within the broader St. John’s family, so it was super important to get to know each other. The Advisories competed in several games.
Freshman Kenzie Chu said, “I thought it was really fun, and I got to know my Advisory better because we played a lot of fun bonding games. It was also cool to see how all the new kids interacted with each other outside of the school setting and see their personalities.”
Another aspect that was introduced to the freshmen was the House Games. At St. John’s, every student is put into one of six houses, similar to the houses in Harry Potter, and, throughout the year, there are games and other fun activities that can earn your house points. At the end of the year, the house with the most points gets the best prize of all: bragging rights. The House Games are a fun way to get the competitive blood flowing and to get to know our community better. I had no idea what a huge deal the House Games were until I got to participate in one. All the freshmen participated in the relay race at the retreat. This race kicked off the House Games for the year, and it was highly competitive. There is an event for everyone, whether it be a sprint, bean bag toss, or math problems. The atmosphere was charged with excitement before the race, and that excitement only grew once the race began. Sadly, my house didn’t win (but shout-out Taub!), and the proud winner of the relay race was Winston.
In addition to the fun, high-energy activities, there was also downtime when we could really get to know each other. We will be spending the next four years together after all! We had been instructed to leave our phones at home, and I’m grateful for that because it gave us all the chance to unplug and really talk. Whether it was during bracelet making, other art projects, playing cards or ping pong, the late night conversations, or even the bus ride, the freshmen all got closer and were able to bond and make friendships that might have taken longer to form had we not been able to get away from the hustle and bustle of Houston and St. John’s.
“I enjoyed the freshman retreat because it was a good way for our grade to bond and get to know each other before starting school together,” said Aditri Singhal, another freshman.
All in all, the freshman retreat was a great experience, and it was a fun start to my St. John’s career.
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