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Third Form Retreat Offers Students Time for Reflection in Nature

Kelly Slonaker

The annual Third Form Retreat took place on Wednesday, October 14, on Canterbury’s campus. The beautiful fall day set the perfect tone for a morning of peaceful reflection for the Form.

The retreat, led by Sacristans, Interfaith Council members, and faculty, offers Third Formers an opportunity to reflect on their first few weeks of school and set goals for the year and the rest of their time at Canterbury. Students and faculty advisors discuss challenges they have met so far, and the people and resources at Canterbury that students can turn to for guidance.

The retreat typically takes place off campus at nearby Lover’s Leap State Park, but to avoid large groups in a public setting, this year’s retreat sought out various spots on campus where students could be outside, in nature. Locations included the cross country trails, the garden of the Chaplain’s residence, athletic fields, Sheehan lawn, Hickory Hearth lawn, and the pond adjacent to campus.

The Sacristans and Interfaith Council members, many of whom had been on the retreat during their first year at the School, asked questions and facilitated discussions amongst the Third Form class. Morgan Lau ’24 shared: “The Third Form Retreat was a really nice way to reflect on the time we have spent here together in the presence of the campus' beauty. We revealed to ourselves how scared some of us were starting the year, but it showed us how fast time has gone and how well we are all handling our first five weeks as freshmen. We created goals for the future and discussed how we think we can achieve them using Canterbury's resources.”

Third Former Kat McDonough also shared her reflections: “During the retreat, I realized that my experience at Canterbury would not simply be that of my high school years, but a path of self-discovery and a kickstart to a successful life. I also realized that unlike some larger schools, you are not simply a number at Canterbury. Every single student and their aspirations are very important.”  

All Forms at Canterbury partake in a Form Retreat each year, which serves to bring each class together for reflection, unity, and contemplation. Director of Campus Ministry Devon McCormick helps organize all of the School’s retreats and works with the Sacristans and interfaith Council to develop questions and discussion topics. “The Third Form Retreat is a wonderful opportunity for our new class to come together for community building and personal reflection,” she said. “This year was an especially unique opportunity for them to get to know campus, one another, and themselves more deeply in the midst of all of the changes of the past month. We realized that they all just needed a chance to take a step back, breathe, and reflect on their Canterbury experience thus far, so the day was 100 percent geared towards personal reflection and simply giving people a chance to catch their breath. At the end of the day, we all felt so much more rejuvenated and connected to one another and to campus!”