by Amber Allen
photography by Brian Murphy
Patches of snow and years of memories greeted the 35 seniors who traveled to Mile High Pines last weekend for Senior Retreat. This year’s theme was, “A Time to Remember… A Time to Look Ahead.”
Seniors dined on 15 pizzas with President Stephen Morgan at Numero Uno before heading up the hill to camp.
At Mile High Pines, Oaks Area Coordinator Cheri Martinson and Dwight Hanawalt, professor of physical education emeritus, brought energy to the group with ice breakers and a rousing round of folk dancing.
Personal inspiration was provided by Dr. Len Hightower, dean of student affairs, and Harvel Lewis, coordinator of minority student affairs, who discussed the realities of life after graduation.
For the first time, seniors were given Senior Retreat t-shirts. According to Helena Gerstenberg, housing and residential life director, “There was a lot of funding this year so we were able to do that. We wanted to mark the experience for them.”
Seniors were also given Warehouse Pizza coupons in place of the usual Saturday dinner that is served at the camp.
Seniors spent the rest of Friday evening dancing in the main lodge and playing indoor sports.
Saturday, the senior gift was announced—illumination lights for the front of Founders Hall—and Derek Morales was elected class agent.
After lunch, seniors joined Gerstenberg for a touching discussion on the fears and joys of leaving college.
Goal letters were passed out and seniors wandered back to the original places where they had written their letters.
Anna Lopez felt reading the letters was the highlight of the weekend.
“I had ten goals listed in my letter. I had accomplished most of them and the others I will hold onto for the future,” she said.
After rejoining the group, seniors were given another sheet of paper to write their ten-year goals, which will be returned to them at their ten-year reunion.
The final activity of the weekend was the ritual of transition with Rev. Judy Georges and Catholic Campus Minister Jane Kirchner. Seniors decided what direction they were going in life and then passed a bowl of burning sage in symbolic gesture.
Many seniors left with different impressions but Nikyah Thomas summed it up when she said, “The whole class bonded together and we learned a whole lot more about each other. So often we are identified by what group we belong to but this weekend we were one.”