Sophomore RetrEEEt provides relaxation and tools for success


Sophomores hike through Rock Bridge Memorial Park Thursday Sept. 20 despite heat.

Saly Seye

Dead leaves crunched beneath mud-caked tennis shoes, buried by the noise of chattering friends. Complaints and conversations of people teeming with excitement drowned out the soft buzzing of abundant insects. Under fierce, relentless heat, ice loudly rustled in a thin plastic bag as kids walked up one by one to fill their once-again-empty water bottles.
Thursday Sept. 20 , sophomores in either Advanced Placement (AP) World History or Honors Biology received the opportunity to take part in an all-day field trip to Rock Bridge State Park. Dubbed the “RetrEEEt,” this trip is organized through the RBHS (Extended Educational Experiences (EEE) program and takes place yearly.
EEE teacher Gwen Struchtemeyer said the purpose of the RetrEEEt is to provide sophomores with methods to cope with the rising challenges of high school. She said the EEE program strives to support them.
“For many students, sophomore year is the first year they feel truly challenged,” Struchtemeyer said. “And we want to acknowledge this and support [them]. Honors Biology and AP World require regular reading and keeping up with assignments. These are challenging classes that require extra work and determination no matter how smart you are.”
On the trip, students took a short hike through Rock Bridge State Park. After a short lunch break, they separated into small groups to explore different activities all geared towards providing students with helpful information. They stretched and tried yoga with counselor Leslie Kersha, explored memory with AP Psychology teacher Shawna Matteson, learned about architecture with Latin teacher James Meyer, created art with art teacher Carrie Stephenson and learned how to navigate using a compass with science teacher Kory Kaufman.
For sophomore Sandro Pereverzev, it was an opportunity to relax from a busy school year, and spend time with friends.
“[I went because] it seemed like fun,” Pereverzev said. “And it was a break from school.”
Other students, like sophomore Jacque Drown, viewed the RetrEEEt as not just a break from school, but as a learning opportunity like Struchtemeyer intended.
“I wanted to learn yoga, and the [psychology] thing sounded cool,” Drown said. “I was already planning on taking AP Psych.”
Struchtemeyer said, in past years, students utilize the EEE room more after enjoying the RetrEEEt. She said this significantly aids sophomores, particularly ones taking more difficult courses.
“Every year after the RetrEEEt, I immediately see more sophomores coming to visit out 229 resource room,” she said. “This is good as it creates awareness [of the EEE resource room]. It is especially good for ‘strivers’ as it provides added support as these students go above and beyond, academically, what the majority of their peers choose.”
At the end, students gathered in the PAC to hear Struchtemeyer give a final speech, where she compares the challenges of learning to The Wizard of Oz.
“For Dorothy, her goal is home. Our students’ goal may not be the place where their family lives,” she said. “But it is where their heart and mind are most happy. This is home.”