Cubs Lead the Way at SLR
By Emily Kramer
Echoes Contributing Writer
On September 24, more than 200 Mount Carmel Academy students gathered in the Duplantis Gym to kick off the annual Student Leaders Retreat. The retreat, designed to promote leadership skills, entails an overnight stay complete with a keynote speaker, skits, trust exercises and cheers, all tied in to this year’s theme, “Leaders Make History.”
The girls were split into several different “family groups,” each with its own museum-themed name for the night’s main event: the school-wide scavenger hunt, won by the Children’s Museum group.
The spirit competition rewarded enthusiasm and original cheers. Picking a winner proved impossible for the judges, who declared a tie between the Mardi Gras and the Natural History museum groups. Karah Bergeron, a member of the latter group, was excited about their win, even if it was shared. “It was great to know that all of our dedication didn’t go unnoticed,” she said.
The students also celebrated mass with Father Michael O’Rourke presiding. His homily focused on the burdens and joys of leadership, and the mass featured a capella singing from the students.
The keynote speaker, Adam Griego, a Brother Martin graduate and Tulane University sophomore, spoke to the girls about how to be a successful and enthusiastic leader. Griego served as student body president while in high school and as president of his freshman class at Tulane.
After a series of team-building trust exercises, students gathered to enjoy the senior skit. The skit team incorporated themes of inclusiveness acceptance to show the girls that reaching out and meeting new people is never a bad thing. Student Activities Director Sue Buras commented on the inclusiveness that the retreat provides: “We have a very diverse group of girls; there is no “I” in team, and this experience teaches the girls how to work together. It is ultimately a bonding experience for them.”
After all the fun and excitement, the girls slept for a few hours before reconvening for a special prayer service on Sunday morning. That was followed by the retreat’s culminating event, an opportunity for each girl to write a letter to herself describing the goals that she wants to accomplish throughout the year.
When asked to describe her overall experience at SLR, Student Council Artist and retreat organizer Analie Switzer said, “I’ve been going ever since eighth grade and it is just a great chance for me to open up, let loose, and be a leader.”
Overall, Student Council leaders said they were “extremely pleased” with the way the retreat played out. “It went even better than I thought it would,” said Treasurer Katherine Latham. “I thought there would be times when no one would participate, but everyone was really enthusiastic about working together as a group.”
Student Council President Kathleen Eubanks agreed. “It overjoyed me to see everyone having fun, being creative, and taking the opportunity to become leaders,” she said.