Student retreat builds fellowship
Sky Mountain. For Faith Christian High School students, those words tend to evoke excitement, fond memories and, for the freshmen, nervousness about the possibility of senior pranks.
Sky Mountain is our annual high school retreat, located in a picturesque camp complete with beautiful mountains, pine trees and a serene (but icy cold!) lake. For three days, the entire high school spends every day together, splitting into teams to compete for the coveted title of Sky Mountain champions, and meeting twice a day for amazing chapels.
The cabins are mixed-class, giving students of all ages an opportunity to get to know one another. By the end of the week, many new inter-class friendships have developed.
Sky Mountain is three days of not only spiritual growth and education, but bonding.
At Sky Mountain, the freshmen feel both excitement and "prank" anxiety. However, this year, the seniors decided to make a game for the arriving students: We hid in the woods along the road, and the students had to "count the seniors," hoping to find all 25 of us.
Freshman Hannah Payne said of her experience, "Being new at Faith, I was a little shy at first. But Sky Mountain made me realize that we're a family. Everyone has a really special bond. I grew so much spiritually and can't wait for next year!"
For seniors, this year's Sky Mountain held a special significance; it was the last time we would make the long drive, the last time we'd swim in the lake, the last time we'd eat the — um — interesting camp food.
For seniors, Sky Mountain starts a day earlier than for the rest of the high school, so that we get an entire night with just our class up at camp. Senior Night is a time to bond, cherish memories, enjoy time with each other and begin to come to terms with the fact that it's the beginning of the end of our high school lives.
For senior Annie Reimers, "It was a time to bond with people I'd never thought I would get close to."
Senior Cody Warta said, "For me, Sky Mountain has always been a bonding experience, but this year especially, we seniors were able to focus on the relationships we still had time to cultivate."
Senior Lacy Bicknell said, "As a senior, it's so easy to get caught up in leaving (high school) and focusing on the future, but places like Sky Mountain and nights like Senior Night remind you to stop and enjoy the memories you made, the lessons you learned and the friends you think you'll have forever."
Every year, Sky Mountain has been a time of memories and a lot of fun. But this year, it really hit home to me that I am a senior, and that this was the first "last" of many things this year. It was a bittersweet realization, but for the most part, the class of 2012 took it in stride.
As we took that final drive away from Sky Mountain, we took our cherished memories and the close friendships we've created with us as we gave it a fond farewell.
Elizabeth Andrus is a senior at Faith Christian High School. Her column appears every six weeks in Education.