Today’s words come from two of our Year 12’s, who have prepared a reflection on the Retreat experience. Many thanks to Juan Limbo and Jessica Grizancic for their generosity.
Year 12 Retreat was an eye-opening experience that embraced us for our final year of schooling. Throughout the three days, our perceptions of life were drastically changed through several guest speakers sharing their captivating life journeys.
Father Rob Galea was fortunate enough to share his life as a teenager being brought up in a dark past that led to him becoming a devoted server towards God. His wisdom has taught us that there will always be light to drive out the darkness regardless of how difficult it may seem. By talking about such a vulnerable topic in a way that appealed to all the students, we were very blessed to have met such an inspiring man of compassion and humour.
We also had a unique talk from Marita Cheng, an Asian woman who has evolved the world of Robotics through her company Robogals after following her dreams in Engineering by abandoning her forced destiny into Medicine. She has empowered all of us to follow where our passions lead us and to take control of our own destiny without the pressure of other people.
Finally, we were also grateful to meet Margaret Hepworth, author of the ‘Gandhi Experiment,’ who taught us that despite our circumstances, we should aim beyond our expectations; because without faith in action, there will be no faith in change. Ultimately, Retreat prepared us for the future and built connections that will strengthen everyone in the midst of Year 12.
Retreat was an eye opening experience to all Year 12 students, where we continued to develop our relationships with those in our lives, but also take the initiative to connect with some new faces. This year’s retreat was quite unique compared to ones in the past, where we travelled to three locations together as a Year 12 cohort but also independently with our house. I believe students enjoyed Father Rob Galea, who spoke to us on the first day, the most at retreat and really left school that day truly inspired. For me, Father Rob’s story of how he found hope and courage even in his darkest of times, taught me that in order to succeed you need to experience failure and disappointment first so that courage can be established. I think many of the Year 12 students were mesmerised by his determination to be the best version of himself, where these values can be applied to improve our belief and motivation that we can succeed in our studies.
On the second day of Retreat, each house travelled to an independent location where we listened to our own teachers’ experiences in life. The courage and determination of these teachers to never give up their goals and endeavours despite their hardships, really shines through at school in their character and willingness to support and assist students with their studies. I think the parent letter was the most emotional part of Retreat for majority of the Year 12 students. Reading our parents’ words of love and proudness, caused students to really connect with their parents on a level that perhaps wasn’t experienced before. To be surrounded by our friends and teachers on Retreat gave us the opportunity to develop our relationships, which we are truly grateful for.
We are grateful to you parents and guardians for the affect you had on Day two of the Retreat. As is often the case, students were moved by the sentiments and encouragement you gave through your letters.
While we learned a lot with the new arrangements for the three days of retreat, the outcomes for students were positive and the spirit of compassion, understanding and hope was generated through the three days. In Fr Rob Galea we saw a man of faith, hope, vision and courage amidst adversity. In 2012 Young Australian of the Year, Marita Cheng, we saw perseverance and commitment to success, and especially a role model for women in the world; and in Margaret Hepworth we saw a woman of wisdom, who inspired the students to improve the world through positive action. Finally, the celebration that ended the retreat was filled with joy and energy. Students enjoyed the singing, dancing and words of encouragement from students and staff.