The Year 11 Retreat Day could not have come at a better time: after a challenging period of mocks and intense revision, a day to fully focus on God, their spirituality and overall well-being was very much needed and beneficial to them all.
On Monday 6 February, the Year Group started took a lovely walk to St Peter's Church and then settled themselves while they had a talk from a Farnborough Hill Old Girl and sister of fellow Year 11, Ms Jaithra Manoj. She spoke to the girls about her challenging experience when moving to England from India in Year 9 and how the power and love of God helped her progress and excel through this challenging time. She spoke about how her faith in God gave her hope and determination to continue her learning journey in a completely new and unknown environment. Her results of eight A*s, one A grade and one B grade were inspiring to the pupils. The girls then wrote 'thank you' cards to each of their teachers and acknowledged them for the time and effort they take into helping them learn and become the best versions of themselves. The Year Group also had the opportunity to colour in mandalas as a calming activity to help them to focus, pray or just relax. Later they heard a talk by St Peter's Church's Youth Minister, Beth Perkins, who spoke to them about her challenging times with her mental health. She talked about feeling God’s presence even during her darkest days.
The founder of Squat2Fit, Ms Kim Valente, spoke to the girls about her challenging experience as a teenager with losing her father months before her GCSEs. Following her examinations, in which she excelled despite this tragedy, she was encouraged to enter a competition which, if she won, would reward her with a scholarship to any university in the United States. Ms Valente saw this as a sign from God as she later won the competition and indeed received the scholarship. After this inspiring and motivating speech, Ms Valente gave Year 11 a fitness session where they were able to get active and have fun. To finish off their time at the church, the pupils came together in Forms to remember all the positive experiences they have had as a Form. This was some of the girls' favourite part as they were able to see and appreciate how far they have all come.
After lunch at school, the girls gathered in the Chapel where they put together a Liturgy thanking and asking the Lord for strength during their examinations, as well as reflecting and praying for those less fortunate than them and who are going through difficult times. After a lovely Liturgy, they all took turns to write something positive about each and every person in their Year Group.
To finish the day, the Year Group all sat and enjoyed Kit-Kats and Capri-Suns and reflected. Tanishka (11A) said;
"I am so incredibly grateful for this day we all shared. It is the little things such as a Retreat Day, that make Farnborough Hill such an incredible place that not only supports our academic progress, but also our mental and spiritual progress. And speaking as a new believer in Jesus, I can strongly say that this day did strengthen my faith and relationship in God."