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Sophomores Learn about Respect during a Close-to-Home Retreat

Levi Kicken ‘19 describes the Left-Shoe Sculpture for Team Cheerios. The topmost layer of shoes can be detached without falling apart to create a “halo” figure above the rest of the sculpture.

Daniel Davies

Levi Kicken ‘19 describes the Left-Shoe Sculpture for Team Cheerios. The topmost layer of shoes can be detached without falling apart to create a “halo” figure above the rest of the sculpture.

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Normally retreats are supposed to be a time to get away from the normal and experience life from a new perspective, but this year on Nov. 3, the sophomore class of 2019 did just that from the comfort of their own home gym.

For this retreat, sophomores were left in the hands of representatives Josh Cleveland, Joshua Johnson, and intern Sarah Neuberger from Youth Frontiers Kindness and Courage Retreats in the school gym after a sophomores-only mass in the chapel. Throughout the day, sophomores participated in competitions, games, group discussions and more.

“I loved it,” Temi Adeyemo ‘19 said. “I thought it was amazing.”

“It was fun. We had a good time,” Patrick Collins ‘19 said.

“It was like having a sick day except you weren’t sick and you didn’t have to make up any homework,” Jimmy Crotty, ‘19 said.

The day started off with a pep rally in which sophomores were encouraged to run around and pass out high fives, high tens, and even high twenties. The representatives then proceeded to keep the hype going through introductions of themselves and senior helpers Broden Kaps, Ben Murray, Luka Mixa, and Jean-Marie Djidjoho.

“The leaders were involved and seemed to enjoy what they were doing,” Crotty said.

After the initial hype-inducing activities, sophomores were split into groups to talk about respect, the main theme of the retreat.

“I liked the little group discussions, because they were fun, and our leader, Broden, really knew how to lead that group,” Nolan Zeger ‘19 said. “[The discussions] were really interesting.”

The senior leaders were given topics to discuss about respect, such as the level of respectfulness the sophomores thought they had as a student body, and things they could do to help improve it.

After the first of three group discussions, the sophomores conjoined into 3 large groups to compete for points in four tasks: a penny-and-fancy-shoe-finding contest, a burping contest, a screaming contest, and a left-shoe-sculpture-making contest. The team with the most points got the privilege to go to lunch first which was held in the Armory.

“The lunches were as good as prepackaged food can get,” Crotty said.

Joshua Davies ‘20 said that it was great because the sophomores were out of the lunchroom, so the freshmen were free to go down to lunch early and get more time to eat.

Once lunch and a massive game of Lightning had finished, the retreat resumed with a dance party and a hearty group sing-along time including hits such as Macarena by Los del Rio, Don’t Stop Believing by Journey, and Lean on Me by Bill Withers.

Following the fun came a more serious time where sophomores listened to Johnson talk about some stories to teach them more about respect on a deeper level. Cleveland also contributed with some songs he had written while on his musical career. Some sophomores thought the stories were a bit exaggerated, but could sense the emotional link in each one.

Finally, the retreat ended with the “Campfire.” During this final segment, all the sophomores and seniors gathered in a circle around a microphone and a candle in the dimly lit gym to talk about how they struggle with respecting themselves and others and what they want to do to improve.

“No one has ever done gone up to speak and said they regret it later,” Johnson said. “Sometimes, people will tell me, ‘Oh, I wish I had gone up to speak.’ after the Campfire.”

It was a great turnout this year, according to the senior helpers who remember the event from their sophomore years.

“That many people don’t normally go up,” Patrick Halpin ‘17 said.

Johnson said that he could tell that the sophomore class was very close and brotherly towards one another and encouraged them to use their closeness to help build each other up instead of tear each other down.

“[The retreat] gives the class another opportunity to learn about each other and to grow as young men and as a class,” Mrs. Christy Crnkovich, organizer scheduler said.

“I learned a lot about myself today, and I learned a lot about how we could improve this already great school,” Jacob Benes ‘19 said.

“We learned a lot about respecting others and ourselves.” Collins said. “We’re going to make Mount Michael great again.”

During the segment before lunch, sophomores were split into 3 teams: Team Cheerios, Team TMNT, and Team Yes. Each team was given a specific chant to do in order to show their enthusiasm at any given moment. The chants were yelling “Ooooo!” for Team Cheerios, dabbing while making karate noises for Team TMNT, and chanting “Yes! Yes! Yes!” repeatedly for Team Yes. The teams were awarded points for the chants and any feat of enthusiasm they could do to impress the representatives, but got the most points by placing higher in the three competitions: a yelling contest, a contest to determine which group could find the most pennies and fanciest shoe, and a respect-themed sculpture-making contest in which the only materials allowed were the contestants’ left shoes. In the last event, Team Yes’s Benedictine Cross got first place, Team Cheerios’ Circle of Respect got second, and Team TMNT’s Tower of respect got third place.

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Sophomores Learn about Respect during a Close-to-Home Retreat