Freshmen bond at summer retreat

A look into the 2019 Odyssey retreat.


Connor Pohl

Freshman Joe Clever holds the ball to take his turn during a team-building exercise during Odyssey.

Being the only one from his grade school in his homeroom, not knowing a single name walking into room 216 made the first day hard. He was riddled with nervous fears of meeting new people and making new friends. As the retreat started freshmen Joe Clever slowly began to step out of his comfort zone and by the end of the day he knew every kids name in homeroom. He felt confident going into the school year with these new found friends and he started to think he had found his new home.

The opportunity that made this possible, Odyssey 1. This retreat not only introduces the new freshmen to De Smet, but also helps them make bonds with their classmates and compañeros, the seniors in the homerooms.

“This retreat is really about leadership and teamwork,” senior Compañero Alex Stratmann said. “It brings a bunch of random kids, strangers to another, in a way that benefits them by helping each other, bonding, making friendships, and learning more about each other.”

Compañeros are the senior leaders in each of the new freshman homerooms. These leaders helped the freshmen throughout the retreat get out of their comfort zones and bond with one another.

“I felt all the freshmen could see me as a role model and were connected to this school right from the beginning,” senior compañero Will Ryan said. “I was moved, I felt like they repeated what I did. It felt like I was inspiring them just like how my compañeros inspired me.”

In the morning the freshmen engaged in team bonding ropes course where they all teamed up to problem solve and in the after-noon they held the “Spartan Olympics,” a competition with other homerooms.

“The key thing for making the freshmen feel welcome is not stopping after Odyssey 1,” freshman homeroom and history teacher Anthony Plein said. “So Odyssey 1 and 2 get the ball rolling, but the important part is the relationships you start building one of those two events you have to keep at it each day and each week so it’s not something that just tails off.”

This whole event revolves around the welcoming of the freshmen and making sure they feel comfortable at the brotherhood of De Smet. On top of this the teachers and seniors hope to get closer to the freshmen so they can be there to help them throughout their first year at De Smet.

“I felt introduced to De Smet in a very positive way,” freshman Joe Clever said. “I felt that it was one of the best weekends of the whole summer and it gives me hope for the new school year.”