Students peel off layers

By  Danica Kindrachuk, Youth Speak News
  • February 23, 2007
MOOSE JAW, Sask. - Grade 9 students at Vanier Collegiate in Moose Jaw took part in the Catholic high school’s annual four-day retreat from the end of January to the beginning of February.

School chaplain Joan Stumborg and 10 students in Grades 10 through 12 organized the spiritual retreat at St. Joseph’s parish, entitled, “Truth, Lies and Onions,” based on the hit movie Shrek.

Stumborg said the “truth” layer is meant to represent what is truly meaningful and truthful in our lives. The “lies” piece is meant to represent the times when we are not truthful, to others and ourselves. The “onion” is meant to represent how all people have layers.

The day began with icebreakers for the 30 Grade 9 students who attended so they  could feel more comfortable with one another. 

“After a few games and prayers, the kids begin to feel more at ease and are more open to sharing feelings and experiences,” said Stumborg.

Afterward a member of the retreat team gave a talk about a personal life experience, trying to further explain how people have layers.

The first layer of a person is the mask that we all wear, said Beth Wozniak, a Grade 10 student. It includes our insecurities and pressure to be a certain way. The second layer consists of family, friends and other people who influence us. The third is our sense of self and our beliefs,  the final layer being God at our core.

Throughout the day, the students were encouraged to share their life experiences, be aware that God is all around them, get to know their peers better and perhaps befriend someone new.

Rachel Waldner, a Grade 9 student, was excited to go to the retreat. 

“I’ve never been on one before,” she said. “It’s been really fun so far and I hope it helps our class get to know each other more.”

For Grade 9 student Dainan Fraser, while the best part of the retreat was missing a day of school, he was excited to get to know people he hadn’t yet had a chance to meet.

“It gives us something else to talk about other than school,” he said.

“I was asked to help out and the more I thought about it, the more I thought it would be a good opportunity to help other Grade 9 students get to know each other more,” said Wozniak.

“I like how at the beginning, everyone is really quiet and doesn’t say much. Then at the end of the day, they are all laughing together and having a good time.”

(Kindrachuk, 15, is a Grade 10 student at Vanier Collegiate.)

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