by Kristine Schwartz '22
This past weekend, while the rest of the Upper School settled into the new school year, the NCS freshman class headed over to the Bishop Claggett Retreat Center in Adamstown, MD.
We arrived on Friday around noon, after an hour-long bus ride filled by belting old Taylor Swift songs. Our first afternoon of the retreat was dedicated to outdoor activities, including some where we had to (literally) lean on our classmates and trust that they would support us. One of the highlights of these activities was towards the end of the afternoon when we all got to experience a long zipline through the woods.
At the end of the day we ate dinner, with every person sitting at a table designated to their homeroom. That night there was a thunderstorm, which unexpectedly moved our evening activities indoors. However, we didn’t let the rain stop us from having a great time. We got to know Dr. Brown-Allen, the Head of the Upper School, and spent a lot of time brainstorming (and arguing about) our class Spirit Day skit.
When the time came for us to settle in for the night, we ran through the rain back to the building we would be sleeping in. By the time we got back to our rooms everyone was soaked from the rain and sweaty from being in the heat all day. Despite our general grossness, we still all poured into the hallway for an impromptu dance party to "Mr. Brightside." It wasn’t long before the teachers told us to stop or we’d break the floor, and honestly, I was surprised we hadn’t already broken it.
Lights out was at ten thirty but, as you can probably imagine, very few people actually went to sleep then. Our long, long night consisted of truth circles, running through the hallways, complaining about being hungry and thirsty, and a 2 a.m. yoga/zumba/pilates class led by someone who had never actually done any of those activities.
This retreat brought all the girls in our grade closer together, whether they had been at NCS since fourth grade, or were new this year. We got to know and trust each other through planned bonding activities, such as having to get 14 girls through one normal-sized hula hoop as fast as possible (our record was 4 seconds), and unplanned activities such as the biggest game of “Never Have I Ever” I’ve ever seen. Coming into this school year, I had no idea how our class dynamic would change with so many new additions. After this retreat I realized that even though there are new girls and our class has grown in size, we are still going to be the tight-knit class that trusts and counts on each other constantly.