How Did Freshmen Like the Peer Group Retreat?

(Photo/Carly Kunkle)

Hellen Jin, Online Staff Writer

From February 28 to 29, PDS’s six Peer Groups went on a two-day retreat to the fairview lake.  In the beginning of the year, every freshman was placed in one of the six Peer Groups, each of which is led by three senior Peer Group leaders. The groups meet twice per cycle, and the leaders help the freshmen with their transition into high school. Many current and past freshmen had noted the significant amount of help that Peer Groups had provided them with. Peer Group activities are sporadic throughout the year; the Battle Field Day earlier in the year and an ice skating party that happened more recently. However, all the freshmen and Peer Group leaders look forward to the overnight retreat, the longest and most exciting Peer Group event of the year.

Not only did the retreat allow students to take a break from their busy work schedule, but it also provided time for the students to bond and learn. The activities ranged from Capture the Flag on the field, to sentimental talks in each Peer Group’s cabins at night. 

Generally, the Peer Group retreat really helped us to get to know each other better. Many would agree that they’ve made new connections with people after having spent these days with them. Further, having the Peer Group leaders by our side really helps the freshmen to feel more comfortable with the problems we are going through. The Peer Group leaders shared their own experiences and struggles in high school and provided valuable tips for the freshmen. 

When the students were asked how they felt about the retreat, the positive feedback was unanimous from the freshmen. “Literally everything about the retreat was great,” said freshman Kyler Zhou. When asked if anything could be improved, many freshmen also gave positive feedback: “The only bad thing was it ended too quickly,” said freshman Tasnim Anam. 

In spite of this positivity, though, something that I wish to see changed is the date of the retreat. Everyone agreed that the retreat had brought them closer as a grade and, as such, wished that the Peer Group retreat was earlier in the year. As spring break approaches, Peer Group sessions are also coming to an end; it would be nice to have more meetings after having made so many connections in our Peer Groups. 

As a freshman who is both new to high school and new to PDS, I feel very fortunate to have my Peer Group by my side. Because of it, I’ve had a comfortable transition into high school and also made long-lasting friendships. As a result, the Peer Group retreat was definitely one of the best memories of freshman year.