May 18, 2023
Dan Dougherty, President, Cristo Rey New York High School
Cristo Rey New York High School is a co-sponsored ministry of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus.
On April 17, 2023, Cristo Rey New York High School’s sophomores went on the final student retreat of the year. The theme of this retreat was “What’s Your Story,” a prompt asking students to consider who they are outside of the superficial connections they have within technology. The theme was predicated on God’s unconditional love for each person and the knowledge of their individual stories, which has made them into who they are today.
Our scholars opened with a prayer stating, “There are days when we feel like nobody can understand us… We hide our faces behind masks that show the world we are confident and carefree — but underneath, we have doubts, fears, and struggles. Give us the courage to remove our masks during this retreat.” The lesson of vulnerability, where students break down walls created throughout their journeys, requires trust in each other and an environment where they can learn about their true selves and faith.
They worked together in small groups to build towers using items in the room, hoping to create the largest tower possible. In this exercise, the need to communicate and trust prompted them to listen and accept suggestions that were different from their own and outside their comfort zones. In the end, we saw our sophomores strengthen their community and knowledge of each other.