All students in grades eight through twelve participate in a series of class retreats that explore the themes of the curriculum. As an integral part of our religious studies courses, the Retreat Program brings classes together in non-academic settings to engage in personal and common spiritual reflection and prayer.
Eighth grade girls participate in day-long retreats and overnight retreats begin in Grade 9. Overnight retreat activities enable students and faculty to come together as fellow members of a community dedicated to spiritual and intellectual development. Planned by teachers, the retreats are led by Campus Ministers and faculty who teach and know the girls well. The retreats also provide interested older students the opportunity to grow as retreat leaders, guiding younger students in a reflective, informal environment.
At the end of 8th Grade, students join to celebrate their time together and their personal and communal growth in Middle School as well as to acknowledge the transition to high school. Midway through 9th grade, each class explores issues of identity and community as well as opportunities to grow personally and spiritually. Having studied some of the gospels and explored some of the history and theology central to Christian faith, the 10th grade retreat provides an opportunity to contemplate the person and meaning of Jesus. Each year, the 11th grade participates in the Kairos Retreat, a four-day experience rooted in the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. Students are invited to explore and come to love themselves, others, and God. This retreat is designed to shape the character and personality of the class.
The NCDS experience culminates in the Senior Retreat. Held just a few days before Graduation, students are invited to explore how and how far they have grown as individuals and as a class, and to anticipate how they might take what they have learned with them throughout their lives. The insights gained during each of these rites of passage become part of the students' lives and part of the life of the school community.