Grade 12 Retreat Marks Start of Grad Year
The goal of the retreat is to bring students together to connect with their peers, build community, play, and set goals for the year ahead.
After a one-year hiatus, the annual Grade 12 Retreat returned on September 10 for a day of fun and team-building exercises. The Class of 2022 spent the day in and around the Hotel Grand Pacific, with a bus shuttling them and GNS staff to and from the Pemberton Woods Campus.
The retreat began in the Inner Harbour with a blessing from Indigenous Educator James Taylor, before students broke into teams and ventured about the downtown core on a scavenger hunt, collecting mostly photos. Though it was friendly, it didn’t stop a few competitive teams from racing to be the first to finish and make it to the hotel.
Once all the teams had completed the scavenger hunt, students were treated to a catered lunch and a brief speech from Mr. Chad Holtum. Following that, the Grade 12s separated into groups to engage in different workshops.
James Taylor led one of the workshops, where he performed a smudge ceremony that was open for all students and staff to participate in.
“It’s been wonderful being here with Glenlyon Norfolk, sharing teachings and ceremonies with the youths. I’m always very grateful to get the opportunity to do that type of thing,” said James.
The wide variety of activities was not lost on the students, but James’ presence was definitely a highlight.
“My favourite part of the day was probably everything that James Taylor had for us,” remarked Quinn Levinson. “It was interesting and great to experience.”
Hui Lin Shan added, “Listening to him was awesome. I feel like it gave me strength, making me feel like we are all supported and loved.”
Ms. Rebecca Nielson, Coordinator: Student Life and Leadership, organized the event, and she stated, “The goal of the Grade 12 retreat is to bring students together to connect with their peers, build community, play, and set goals for the year ahead.”
The grads were supported and led through the day by a wonderful team of leaders: Ms. Nielson, Mr. Doug Palm, Mr. Harvey Thorau, Ms. Adrienne Smook, Ms. Angie Girard, Ms. Sarah McKerlich, Mr. Clayton Webb, Ms. Dawn Nordin, Mr. Jordy Moughtin, and Mr. Cole Carlson, as well as Mr. Holtum.
Last year’s Grade 12 Retreat was cancelled due to (the then current) Provincial Health Orders, so having the opportunity for classmates to bond this year was appreciated.
“I really liked it [the scavenger hunt]," commented Carmen Spencer. “We were put into groups with others who weren’t necessarily our closest friends, and I thought that was a great way to really get to know everyone.”
Highlights of this year’s Grade 12 Retreat can be seen below.