From Tuesday 3 May – Thursday 5 May, our Year 12 cohort was lucky enough to experience their final camp, The Year 12 Retreat together, and needless to say, it was utterly fantastic! The team at Rutherford Park in Blampied were nothing short of the best when it came to their hospitality and generosity (especially with their food portions!)

Our first day began with a liturgy that reflected on our time at Clonard and set the tone for what was to be a memorable retreat. We were also lucky enough to listen to the story of Michelle Newland, who suffered a severe brain injury when she was 19. Her story of faith, love, rehabilitation and hope touched the hearts of all those present and provided us with perspective on how blessed we are in our own lives.

We also had the opportunity to partake in a craft activity, where we put together a beautiful collage of the things that define us and what we love. We concluded our first day with a liturgy of hope and healing, in which we used each other’s lit candle to light our own to unite as one, in which everyone participated with poise and respect, allowing us to look with optimism to our exciting futures beyond Clonard.

Before we embarked on our next day, we were treated to an amazing Talent Quest by the students, bringing smiles and laughter to every single person! Although 12 White did take top place, the real winners of the night were the teachers with a surprise performance, performing under the name “No Direction”! to say their parody, I’m On My Way, was inspired by the life of a Year 12 student would be an understatement, and we hope to see them reunite for another performance this year!

The second day of retreat was one of honesty, being vulnerable and letting our guard down around our peers. During the activities, many shared photos that described their personal stories of how they became the person they are. We also got the opportunity to read our Year 7 letters, cringing at all the embarrassing things we used to say and reflect on how much we have grown and changed throughout the years. We were also given the chance to write a letter to our future selves, writing our hopes and dreams, hopefully we won’t cringe this time around.

Finally, our last day held at Clonard, gave us the chance to gather once more and reflect on the past few days. We read letters sent to us from our parents/caregivers, and finished our day in the Chapel, where we expressed gratitude for all the opportunities we have been fortunate enough to have and hear a delightful story about women empowerment from Mr McInerney!

On behalf of our peers, we would like to extend a heartful thank you to everyone who made this retreat an unforgettable experience for us. From the Rutherford Park team, to all the teachers who attended our retreat, we are truly thankful for all your work. To Ms Kiernan, we thank you for always doing an extraordinary job with planning the retreat and liturgies. To Ms Fish and Ms Driessen, for going above and beyond as our coordinators. And finally, thank you to our fellow peers for embracing this retreat with open arms, we are beyond proud of how you all were present and respectful during this time and we can’t wait to watch you continue to grow and be the people we know you’re destined to be!

Isabella Napoli and Kaitlyn De Bono, 2022 College Captains