A Sweet Retreat


Photo Credit: Frances Burton

Business Manager Sunila Steephen reflects on the Class of 2016’s senior retreat.

To be honest, I had looked forward to the senior class retreat to Allaso Ranch since I had been a freshman.

Year after year, near the beginning of school, my Facebook feed would be littered with various groups of seniors posing at various locations at Allaso (which, by the way, is much less rustic than Mo). For the most part, it seemed like a lot of clear skies, outdoor activities and fun.

But I had heard infamous and notorious stories of the famous senior bonfire. Leading up to that night, I felt a weird mix of trepidation and anticipation—since the actual details of the bonfire is something usually kept under wraps, I had no clue what to expect. Was someone going to roast someone else? Were deep secrets going to be divulged?

After reading our freshman year/Mo Ranch letter to self (which was as embarrassing as you’d expect), we gathered in front of the main gathering area to commence the night. Spoiler alert: there isn’t actually a bonfire at your senior retreat—there’s usually a burn ban in place at the time—but that doesn’t reduce the magic of the night.

So, under the night sky, I listened to my classmates reveal their stories, memories, and feelings. Treasured friendships from Lower School were brought up, memories from Middle School were fondly remembered and even sweet stories from Upper School were reminisced upon. And more often than not, a common theme emerged: for us, the Class of 2016, we had found a home not only at Hockaday, but also with each other.

It’s easy for us to feel disconnected from each other in the grade—I swear I only see 40 different girls in my all classes—and not only that, but Lower and Middle School were seemingly ages ago, enough time to forget treasured friendships and memories.

But the senior retreat puts all of that into time and perspective, cultivating new friendships and tending to the old. And even better: it connected all of us, no matter how far we might have grown apart.

I consider our grade to be especially close, but after Allaso, where our grade voluntarily chose to hang out together more often than not, it’s obvious that our grade has a special kind of bond. One that makes me proud to be Hockaday student, and more importantly, a member of the Class of 2016.

Sunila Steephen – Business Manager –