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27 August 2020

Relationships at the heart of Year 12 Retreat

We got there! Due to COVID restrictions, the Year 12 Retreat was postponed from…

We got there! Due to COVID restrictions, the Year 12 Retreat was postponed from its normal time in May, and into the midst of a cold and wet winter in Victor Harbor, but thankfully the weather did not dampen spirits nor impede activities.

The Year 12 Retreat provides students the opportunity to reflect on their lives so far and their plans for the future; plans that are less about what they will do but who they will be and what is important in life. Virtually without exception, students conclude that relationships are what matters most.

From the first activity – a liturgy in honour of the late Blackfriars student, Nasir Ali Anwari, who drowned on location at Petrel Cove (the Bluff) – students were made to consider the frailty and finality of life. Memento mori – Latin for “remember you will die” – set a context for the retreat. The Nasir Ali Anwari liturgy also set the following context: remember that you will live eternally with God.

The who am I question included an exploration of the metaphorical, social masks that we wear, and whether or not they reflect our true selves. Students also spent time creating small notes of affirmation for each other and their teachers. This helped inform the boys of their gifts as perceived by others: an additional means of helping answer the who am I question, as well as reinforcing the value of relationships.

Students were also very generous with what they revealed of themselves, sometimes with raw emotion. The care and compassion given and received helped to strengthen bonds among the student group, but also between students and teachers. For example, Head of Performing Arts Ms Lucinda Pope shared the following reflection:

This was my first time attending the retreat and I really enjoyed getting to spend time with all of the Year 12s. Normally I spend a lot of time with the boys involved in Music, however this gave me a chance to connect and build relationships with some of the boys that I wouldn’t normally see. On the last day, staff and students wrote affirmations for each other and it was extremely heart-warming to read what some of the boys had written for me. It was really special to know that the stories I had told them they were able to take something from and connect with.

I believe our Year 12s have strengthened their bonds, their understanding of self and their connection with God. They have grown as gentlemen, ready to face to world and make it a better place. They have cemented their identity as a ‘Blacks Boy’.

Matthew Crisanti

Assistant Principal, Religious Identity & Mission