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Seniors start a new tradition

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The seniors who attended the retreat gathered for a group photo when they returned to school.

The seniors who attended the retreat gathered for a group photo when they returned to school.

The seniors who attended the retreat gathered for a group photo when they returned to school.

Lauren Gaubert, Reporter

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Twenty-five seniors attended the inaugural Kairos Retreat Sept. 1-4.

The retreat is designed to promote spiritual growth while allowing students to develop new friendships and have fun with their teachers and peers.

Kairos typically consists of many personal testimonies and small group discussions that lead participants to a deeper understanding of themselves including their relationship with God.

Mrs. Meredith Lafontaine, theology teacher, said she wanted to bring this specific retreat to JPII because she has taken part in many Kairos retreats herself and values the impact that it has had on other schools.

“The need for a transformation at JPII was obvious,” Lafontaine said. “We have a number of conscious, committed, mature students who value more than the superficial and were craving an experience like Kairos.”

Senior Mallory Rauker knew immediately that she wanted to go on the retreat. She was excited about getting to go off campus and spend time with her peers while developing in her relationship with God.

She said her favorite part of the retreat included listening to many teachers speak about their own faith lives.

“Many students don’t realize that teachers understand entirely what it feels to be in high school,” Rauker said. “They know the stress of assignments, obligations, and status and how to help us overcome many of those hard obstacles we face.”

Kairos has an effect not only in the students’ faith lives, but also in their school lives and friendships.

“Before the retreat, I desperately wanted senior year to end and graduate,” Rauker said. “However, after bonding with my fellow students and learning how impactful senior year will be, I hope it doesn’t fly by too fast.”

Seniors spent their free time during the retreat exploring the campsite.

Seniors spent their free time during the retreat exploring the campsite.

 

Senior Samantha Cooper was also quick to participate in the Kairos retreat because she wanted to be able to share a new kind of experience with her friends outside of school.

She said that she wishes the retreat could have lasted longer than three days.

“I feel like I got a ton out of it,” Cooper said, “but I also feel like there was so much more to experience in getting to know myself and the people who also went on the retreat.”

For Cooper personally, the retreat has had a major impact on her life.

“I feel like I have become a better person spiritually,” Cooper said. “I spend a lot of my time turning to scripture and prayer. Also, by listening to Christian music on my way to and from school, I really feel like I am in God’s presence 24/7.”

As the retreat ended, the students were encouraged to ‘live the fourth.’ This means keeping the retreat experience alive in some way.

“For me,” Rauker said, “that meant living with strong faith in God, pushing through all obstacles in life, and working hard at anything I do. Kairos inspired me to become a better person.”

Cooper also found ways in which she can ‘live the fourth’ in her everyday life.

“I know personally ‘living the fourth’ meant habitual prayer and making sure I go to church every Sunday,” Cooper said. “I also changed my music taste completely, making me feel like I am worshipping all of the time.”

Another Kairos retreat is scheduled in February, giving the remaining seniors and the juniors an opportunity to participate in this life-changing experience. Seniors from the first retreat will be group leaders.

“I would absolutely love to be a group leader in February,” Cooper said. “I honestly loved every second of it and I want to make sure that the people who go in the spring do too. It is such an amazing experience and I actually would love to see people go through it like we did.”

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Seniors start a new tradition