Student retreat day connects and inspires

The RU OK Day message was the perfect way to lead into the Student Retreat Day activities

​The RU OK Day message was the perfect way to lead into the Student Retreat Day activities

Who ever said a 'retreat' was just for the adults?  

Year 7 students from San Damiano College in Yarrabilba have taken the time out this week to check-in, connect, collaborate, and refocus as part of a Student Retreat Day.  

A valuable activity often organised across BCE schools, Assistant Principal Religious Education Helen McNamara from San Damiano said this Student Retreat Day was all about symbolism – “exploring the importance of connection and inclusivity". 

“Students reflected upon their feelings and the need to continue to work as a community that promotes a feeling of belonging," Helen said. 

“The day was filled with such joy and fun, which meant the serious nature of the discussions was not overwhelming thanks to the expertise and nature of our guest Michael Fitzpatrick, who has a gift of music and connection with young people." 

“Students were called upon to sing and dance, and they did so in an environment of acceptance and encouragement." 

Aside from the typical navigations of adolescence and early adulthood, throwing a pandemic into the mix can place an extra emotional and developmental weight on our young people.  

Helen said the students were open and honest, and was touched by their ability to share in front of their peers and engage.  

“I believe the experience of the retreat will further strengthen our community and allow these young people to lead us into the future," Helen said.  

With RU OK Day coinciding with the Student Retreat Day, Helen said it was the perfect way to lead into the retreat activities and share the RU OK message, including through a morning of Eats and Beats with karaoke.  

“Students were able to enjoy the music while sharing lunch together, as well as creating posters based around the RU OK message." 

Helen also said it was an important reminder that we all need to ensure we have the support in place that allows us to prioritise our wellbeing on a regular basis.  

“Students at San Damiano, Yarrabilba are proud of their school and this experience allowed them to see that we must continue to build all within the community – and that can begin with a simple RU OK, not just on retreat day but every day." 

“Our Principal Mr Peter Edwards is often heard saying every day is RU OK day at San Damiano." 

San Damiano College is a new school that opened this year. With 77 students currently enrolled, Helen said while they are excited to welcome new students next year, they are enjoying the tight-knit family the school has become.   

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