Seniors Retreat


Ever since childhood, we’ve all heard the question in regard to following what our friends do. “If he jumped off a bridge, would you do that too?” At ODA’s annual Senior Retreat, that happens to be almost exactly what you’ll be doing.

Each year, the senior class embarks on an overnight DaySpring Conference Center for a journey of bonding and trust. While DaySpring offers many athletic courts and other activities, the seniors only have one thing to take on: the outdoor ropes course. This has been a tradition of ODA’s for over a decade, and every year, it succeeds in bringing students closer as they learn to trust each other outside of a classroom setting. Due to recent events, this year’s retreat has been postponed until further notice. However, this has not hindered the excitement of the students or faculty.

One of the most famous aspects of the retreat is the Ropes Course. One particularly challenging elements is one called the Leap of Faith. One student climbs a narrow wooden pole, 30 feet into the air, until they are standing on the very top. Once the student is ready, she must jump from the pole even higher to attempt to reach a bar hanging above. Should the student miss the bar, she will swing to the ground.

The catch? The harness protecting the student is in complete control of her classmates who are on the ground, all holding onto the rope suspending the jumping student.

“The Leap of Faith is what I’m looking forward to most. It’s a perfect trust exercise, and a huge adrenaline rush,” says senior Christian Nold.

While it may seem crazy, the element allows students to put an unbelievable amount of trust in their peers. The feeling of being lowered safely to the ground with the entire grade cheering for you is eye opening. Most conclude marveling at how close everyone is, and how much we all care for each other.

Aside from countless other activities and games, another excitement on the horizon for the seniors is the awarding of parking spots. After the controversy that occurred at the end of last year over parking spots, this year’s new arrangement is a welcome solution, at least for the seniors.

Each student randomly selects a spot within the designated senior sections of the parking lot, and whatever spot you end up with, you keep for the rest of the year. Not only that, but the grade will spend a Saturday morning in the near future painting, decorating, and making the spots their own.

The sorting of the parking spots and the Leap of Faith are both exciting things that the senior retreat brings, but students are most looking forward to something else. Especially given recent events, the whole school has come together, especially the seniors. The grade has supported each other and offered compassion in every kind of situation, so much so that they have grown to be even more of a family. With this in mind, the class of 2015 is beyond ready to take on senior retreat and have each other’s backs, both physically and emotionally.

“With everything that’s happened, our grade has become even closer than we were before, if possible. I think it’s still going to be something really positive for our grade,” says senior Christine Turner.