Freshman Retreat: A Weekend of Possibilities, Growth and Friendships

September 29, 2016

6Frisch’s annual freshman retreat is a perfect opportunity to show the synergy between the individual and community, a chance for individuals to learn how they and their unique talents can enhance community, and how being part of a greater community can, in turn, enhance their individual traits.

As per its annual tradition, Frisch sent its freshmen to the Catskill mountains for a four-day weekend retreat where new students got to break the ice with their teachers and each other, learn the ins and outs of being a student at Frisch from their senior advisers, and revel in the trademark Frisch ruach for which the school is well-known. The weekend also offers students an opportunity to give over divrei Torah to their peers and grapple with questions of identity and perspective on the bigger picture, pressing issues for any teenager in the world today. A special Shabbat shiur given by Rav Jonathan Schachter, Rosh Beit Midrash at Frisch, impressed upon students the meaning behind Selichot, which Jews around the world began reciting on motzei Shabbat.

“Freshmen Retreat is a really special weekend and it’s heartwarming to see the excitement on students’ faces as they get to know other a little bit better and away from the classroom,” said Mrs. Sarit Anstandig, a member of the Tanach faculty and Freshman Grade Dean and one of the many teachers who attended the retreat. “Students are bright-eyed with anticipation for the opportunities that lie ahead of them at Frisch, and the retreat is a wonderful entry into their high school career.”2b6a9028

“The retreat was an amazing opportunity to meet peers I didn’t know before and learn how to be a Cougar,” said Caroline Waxman ’20. “I especially enjoyed the bonfire on Motzei Shabbat because at that point, we had all become very comfortable with another and it made it such a moving experience.”

While the weekend itself has merit on its own as a fun way for students to relax and to assume leadership roles through speaking opportunities and being proactive during icebreaker sessions, the retreat also positively impacts students for years to come. By spending four days together and becoming closely aligned with the mission and values of Frisch in an informal but still-structured environment with carefully-planned programming, Frisch’s caring and supportive school culture is solidified and helps students realize their potential in academics and co-curricular activities for the rest of their high school experiences.2b6a9013

“This was my sixth Freshman Retreat because I had often gone with my mother,” said Eitan Bernath ’20, whose mother, Mrs. Sabrina Bernath, is the Director of the Math Department. “This retreat was obviously the most special one yet because it was my first one as a student. While I’d always seen what went on during these retreats, being able to directly participate in the student ice breakers and sessions with senior advisers and Frisch teachers made it a much more meaningful and personal experience.”