Taking place throughout each weekend of October, the Freshman Retreat has allowed new students to meet people and see the campus for the first time as Cubs. The freshmen were able to familiarize themselves with classmates and the school. A total of 10 Freshman Retreat events were held so every 9th grader could have the experience.
The Loyola faculty and staff assisted in making the retreat, which featured a variety of activities for the freshmen to participate in, ranging from sports to bonding activities between the students.
Matthew Schaeffer said, “I think that the retreats have been going well considering that we are limited by COVID health protocols.”
The students were required to sit, walk and meet new people from a minimum distance of six feet. Furthermore, the students were obligated to wear a mask and bring items such as hand sanitizer. Past Freshman Retreats functioned as a single weekend where the entire Freshman class stayed overnight at Loyola. In previous years, students were allowed to drive with their big brothers around town, go to their Big Brothers’ houses for dinner and partake in other fun activities outside of campus.
Freshman Boyer Tooley said, “I feel more connected to the campus because it was my first time doing activities on the grounds of Loyola. The connection to the Loyola campus was enlightening, and the memories I made during this event will stay with me forever.”
The students had the chance to play frisbee golf, which was spread across the campus so that the freshmen could also tour the school. Students were allowed near the buildings and onto the fields, but they were not permitted to go indoors. Whenever there was a break, they would return to their groups and talk amongst themselves. Nearing the second half of the retreat, students attended a mass outside. Groups spent approximately 4 hours on campus, from 8:30 to 12:30.
Freshman Gabe Nissen said, “Loyola did their best to make the experience enjoyable and safe to socialize with others. Although the pandemic did not allow Loyola to do as many activities as they had in mind, the experience was still amazing.”
Through the variety of fun events and connections made on campus, the retreat served as a memorable experience for many. Being on Zoom all day for school can be difficult and it can be challenging to stay engaged with the rest of the class, but this retreat proved to help students escape from the synchronous learning and provided an opportunity to engage with classmates in person and learn about campus life.
Nissen said, “Online school does not do a good job of showing me what the school is really like, but being on campus was such a great experience. It was able to show me that I made the correct choice of choosing Loyola because it felt like home.”