Freshman Retreat Builds Confidence & Friendships Among Incoming Class

gunston freshmen (400 x 267)The Gunston School welcomes thirty-six ninth grade students this fall, and kicked off their school year on Tuesday with a special orientation program including icebreakers and group challenges, a pool party, picnic with the faculty, and overnight at Camp Pecometh. On Wednesday, joined by a handful of new upperclass students, they met with each of their teachers and oriented themselves to important aspects of campus life like classroom locations, locker combinations and technology procedures. In reflecting on the challenge course and her overnight experience, one student commented: “It was a lot of fun! I met a lot of people and I feel much more comfortable than I thought I would after just one day with my new classmates.”

While academic classes started next Tuesday, Gunston’s Freshman Retreat experience is designed to help the class grow together as a group and to alleviate some of the social anxieties of entering a new school, as students learn what to expect from the intellectual challenges of Gunston’s rich academic program. Headmaster John Lewis and Assistant Head Christie Grabis spoke with the freshmen Tuesday evening, asking them to consider the growth they will experience in the coming years and to write a letter to their future selves. In discussing their goals and aspirations for the coming school year, students were excited about meeting new friends, learning to organize their time in the high school environment, and getting involved in athletics and other student organizations on campus.

“It’s always exciting and encouraging to welcome another talented and engaged incoming class that reflects our mission and our values so well,” affirmed Mark Wiening, Dean of Students. “I can already tell that this group of students will both work hard and play hard with each other and their faculty mentors throughout their Gunston experience together. I’m looking forward to watching the Class of 2017 define its own legacy of creativity, camaraderie, and academic excellence in the coming years.”