News Centre

Early Rise Reflective Retreat for Year 13

Scarlette Oliver and Sharliz Ang (Year 13)

On a very cool Wednesday morning, the Year 13s set up for retreat at Eastern Beach.

Despite an early start, the seniors get a day off from their normal school lives to reflect and learn from God. As a yearly tradition, our seniors get the chance to have Mass on the beach as the sun rises.

Unfortunately, with unfortunate timing, rain poured, and the event was not made possible. Nonetheless, morning mass was still conducted with Father Kevin across the road in Willow Park’s Christian Convention Centre.

With a reflective mass and a filling breakfast, the Year 13s were ready to start the day of fun sessions. In total there were four workshops, each centering on a different topic.

One session dedicated to team building where we learned many things about not just us, but our connections with each other, as well as God. As the main topic, we learnt that all of us are one team; that we can build each other up if we have faith.

Another session focused on decision-making and how the choices we make will directly affect us, but also indirectly affect the wider community. Here, we were able to think of a time when we had to make a major decision and reflect on how this affected us long-term.

We learnt about Dr. Laux’s hardships and were inspired by how she overcame them with her decision-making. Through her inspirational messages and experiences, we learnt to not follow the trend, not dive into emotion first when making decisions, and how each decision we make affects the future of our lives.

While the sessions continued, another group sat with Mrs. Maddison to learn about overcoming adversity. There, we came to learn about people like Bryall McPherson who, due to bone cancer, had her life tossed around many times.

Losing the chance to go to the Rio Olympics, cancer, nor losing an arm stopped her drive and passion for life. With her story, we come to learn about facing hardships with courage and getting through them. That we should not give up hope and continue to be determined in life.

On the more spiritual side, Father Kevin’s session helped us learn about reconciliation and the importance of telling others about any hardships we may be facing. He shared many stories about overcoming hardships, how people dealt with their difficulties, and made us reflect on our sins and reconcile. This taught us to “throw away” the burden we have dealt with in our past and move on.

Guest speaker, Mr. Yalda, who was previously a teacher at Sancta Maria, shared important lessons throughout his presentation on his past experiences and hardships he faced when he was younger.

From this presentation, we learnt that Mr. Yalda was a refugee, who endure numerous obstacles such as being kidnapped. He showed us that even in those difficult times, God was still caring for him throughout it all. We learnt about gratitude and how blessed we are with our privileged lives in New Zealand.

Summing up the retreat, Patrick Adams said, “The retreat gave me a chance to reflect over the decisions I made in life and how each choice and hardship I have gone through has shaped who I am today. I enjoyed spending my last retreat with my mates.”

Special thanks to all the staff who helped make the retreat possible, especially Mrs. Oliver, Mr. Ardern, Mr. Tamayo, Mrs. Maddison, Mr. Piggin, Mrs. Sullivan and Dr Laux. Without them, this memorable retreat would not have been possible.