On the second Sunday of October, students and teachers alike gathered at Salesianum for the freshman retreat. Starting on the 8th at 2:00 p.m. and stretching into the morning of October 9th, freshmen spent nearly 24 hours back at school to grow closer as a class and learn what it means to be a Salesian, in word and deed. A large portion of the time the freshmen spent at school was devoted to small-group sessions; the Class of ‘21 was split into multiple sections of around 12-16 people, with two upper-classmen volunteers leading and directing the group discussions. Topics included brotherhood and tradition, with questions to make the freshmen consider the roles they play now and the ones they will in the future.
The most memorable occasions from the retreat occurred during the evening, with house competitions featuring games such as “The Price is Right” (complete with Plinko board) and a relay race. House points were on the line, and the Class of ‘21 scrambled to win fame and fortune for their respective houses. Following the craziness of popsicle-stick bridges and a mishap with the PB&J-making race, freshmen settled down for a candlelit Mass led by Fr. Beretta. The evening came to a close with students splitting into the air-conditioned parts of the building to sleep.
Monday morning saw students up early for breakfast and a final reflection and small-group discussion. The retreat wrapped up with a prayer service, where the freshmen received ties chosen by their big brothers. Parents, who arrived following the small-group discussion, watched as the junior and senior leaders tied the ties of the Class of ‘21, which were then blessed by Fr. Beretta to bring a close to the weekend. As the freshmen left, they took the gifts from their big brothers with them as a physical reminder of the Salesian spirituality they had learned about over the past 24 hours, and as a charge to “Live Jesus” every day.