Freshman Gillian Weitzner and Senior Mary Stuart Gray take on the ropes course. Photo: Caitlin Jones
Freshman Gillian Weitzner and senior Mary Stuart Gray take on the ropes course.
Photo: Caitlin Jones

Entering high school can be daunting for most freshmen, but Pace’s freshman retreat paves the way to a more comfortable beginning. “[The trip] was extremely helpful in starting high school,” said freshman Gillian Weitzner. Whether it is high up on ropes courses or sliding down the waterside, the experiences are designed to ease the transition from middle school to high school.

The week before the new school year, the incoming freshman class and 16 seniors set out for northern Alabama to form a special bond with each other at Camp Skyline. Upon arrival, students were thrown into canoeing trips, zip lines, ropes courses, and numerous team bonding activities with the seniors and camp counselors. “Jacob’s ladder was my favorite because it involved teamwork, and it was really funny when we would get stuck on a pole, hanging like a sloth,” said senior peer leader Lauren Archer.

These activities allowed for the young freshmen and experienced seniors to get to know one another and form new relationships that will stick with them for the rest of the year. “I know we all had a blast meeting our peer leaders, and I am excited to spend more time with them,” said Gillian. Through this trip, the peer leaders begin to connect with the freshmen and their peer leadership partners for the year, with an eye toward making peer leadership classes more enjoyable for the young students.

The trip also provides the opportunity for the students who were new to Pace to forge friendships with the returning students. “The Skyline trip helped everyone bond with fellow students, new and old,” said freshman class president Charlie Hirsch. The peer leaders agreed that the trip helped them get to know the Class of 2019.

Students from both grades reported that the team relays and color wars on the last night really capped off a great trip. “On the last night all the peer leaders, especially me, were invested in winning, and at the end we had a giant mosh pit,” said senior Jean-Luc Brown. Other peer leaders have fond memories of this night, with many saying that it was their favorite part of the trip.

The trip has made the transition easier, with many students viewing the year ahead with excitement. “I can’t say enough about how fun the trip was… They’re such a high energy, exciting class,” said senior Mary Stuart Gray.