Grade Five Student Retreat Fosters Faith and Purpose

Temporarily derailed by COVID, the grade 5 retreat powered up again this year with an extra special collaboration between Lower and Upper School faculty. Entitled “Walking in Faith,” the retreat on Tuesday, May 28, offered students three reflection stations mentored by the Upper School Theology Department at The Shrine of St. Joseph in Stirling.

In the first station, students discussed the poem “Footprints in the Sand.” They discussed times in their young lives when they thought God had carried them and how we can turn to faith in troubled times. The students found quiet spots and wrote in their new faith journals, then returned and had the opportunity to share.

The second station used the metaphor of kites to illustrate how the Holy Spirit can carry us through troubled times. Students built real kites and discussed how the wind keeps them aloft. They reflected on those individuals who had taken them through struggles. They inscribed on the kites the names of people who supported them and people they wanted to pray for, and then they went outside to fly their kites.

“I so enjoyed the grade 5 students’ energy and eagerness to share their thoughts and prayers,” commented Upper School Theology Teacher Lisa Durant. “It was fun to see them fly their prayer kites as they ran through the field with the Holy Spirit lifting their prayers!”

The third workshop assigned students individuals from the Bible. Students discussed some of these characters’ better-known quotes and how words and intonation convey meaning. They were then assigned a quote and an emotion, such as happiness, sympathy, excitement, etc., and then they practiced reading their quote and acting that emotion in front of their peers. 

“I introduced them to the idea that our voices are unique,” explained Topping. “Just like our fingerprints and eyes, our voices are unique and a gift from God. So, how we use our voice is really important.” 

The retreat invigorated our Lower School students’ sense of purpose and refreshed our Upper School theology teachers’ sense of purpose in their mission. 

“They were so excited to be greeted with such enthusiasm from the younger children,” said  Patti Cepparulo, Lower School Religion Coordinator. “As much as they love teaching the older students, this retreat was uniquely uplifting. The Upper School faculty walked away with a renewed appreciation for what they do because the students were so appreciative.”