The three students all smiled when asked what their favorite part of the junior-senior retreat was.
“My favorite was the scenery, especially at night,” said Alia Merritt. “Mainly the bonfire. One person was playing guitar and everyone was singing. You could actually see the stars out there. It’s not like Dallas.”
Merritt, an 11th grade IB student, was describing Lake View Camp and Retreat Center in Waxahachie, Texas, about an hour south of Dallas International School. All students in 11th and 12th grade participated in the retreat, which consisted of games, team-building activities, swimming and generally getting to know their classmates better.
Bilal Salih, an 11th grade FB student, loved the outdoor activities that everyone participated in together.
“Playing soccer at night on the lake,” Salih said. “That was definitely the best.”
“I liked the independence that we had,” said Diego De Orta, also an 11th grade IB student. “We were able to hang out all as a group. We are constantly separated by IB and FB, so it was fun to be with people that I didn’t know as well.”
High school students at DIS choose one of two baccalaureate tracks to pursue: French Baccalaureate (FB) or International Baccalaureate (IB). The two degrees necessitate different class schedules, and often, different social groups.
“Since we were all together the first day doing our own thing, it kind of brought us together,” Merritt said. “We would all see each other. We usually don’t get to do that in school.”
Caroline Wolfe, an 11th grade FB student, agreed.
“During class, we are super separated,” Wolfe said. “Just having those two days where we all came together was cool. We didn’t talk about school. We just came together and bonded.”
Sonja Greil, a 12th grade IB student, was attending her second retreat at DIS.
“This time the place was way bigger and the group was bigger,” Greil said. “I liked that we spent time together, especially on Tuesday at the pool. That was really fun. That was the time we actually got closer to other people.”
All in all, the students enjoyed the opportunity to socialize and get a short break from their hectic schedules, as they weren’t allowed to bring any homework along on the trip.
“We have a huge workload,” De Orta said. “There’s so much to do constantly, so it was good to just hang out.”
And as for the new juniors who will participate in their first retreat next year?
“Take advantage of the relaxation,” said Merritt.