Freshman Retreat 2018

We’re a few weeks into school, but we would be remiss not to remember all the fun had at our Freshman Retreat at the start of the year.

All of our freshmen load up on buses with their Link Crew Leaders and Advisors and travel three hours north to Camp Mac in Munford, Alabama for three days of team building, fun, and adventure!


Senior Rachel McQuinn and junior Nicholas Shadburn, Link Crew Leaders, with the freshmen in Mrs. Stephanie East’s advisory.

With so many new freshmen entering high school, the Freshman Retreat serves an important purpose, integrating new students into the class, and it does so incredibly well!

From an “old” Brookstone student perspective, freshman Ellie Tommey said, “It is so fun to get to know new people and have new friends!!!”

Ruthie Wade agreed, “I loved the Freshman Retreat because it gave me a chance to get to know all of the new people who came to Brookstone!”


Upper School Principal Garry Sullivan “jousting” with freshmen Tripp Duncan.

But almost more important is the perspective of a new student! And from what we hear, they agree, too!

Evan Smallwood said, “The Freshman Retreat is an experience I won’t soon forget! Everyone was so incredibly welcoming to me, a student new to Brookstone, and within those few days, made me feel like a part of their school family. The encouragement from everyone and the general feel that everyone cared about me, the sense of community, these things allowed me to face fears I thought I may never face, and do things I never even dreamed I would do in my lifetime! I truly believe this will be one of my fondest memories of high school, and I will forever be grateful for the lessons it taught me!”

He’s not alone. Ella Crowley, another new freshman said, “Coming from a different school, I was personally shocked at how easy it was to connect to others at Brookstone. I knew a few people coming to Brookstone, but not very many, so Freshman Retreat to me was such an amazing way to connect the Class of 2022. I learned so much about my class Brookstone in general. Brookstone will always be a family.”


A little team bonding!


Dr. Harkey’s Advisory with Link Crew Leaders Hannah Matson, senior, Hap Perkins, junior, and Wills Cottrell, senior.

So what did they do while there? Some pretty fun stuff.

Ella continues, “From group water balloon fights and zip climbing to meaningful activities that you’ll remember in times to come: the Freshman Retreat has it all. This trip was designed well enough to have enough activities, but also free-time so you can make friends, go to the lake, go to an arcade, or play sports but also connect to your advisory.”

Jackie Boyancheck, who was at Brookstone for Middle School said, “I have done lots of cool things in my life, but the Freshman Retreat was by far one of the best experiences that I have ever had. Some of my favorite activities that we did were the sky bucket, the rock wall, and human foosball, but the best activity for me would definitely have to be the zip line. At first,  I thought, there was no way I was going to do that, but then, my link crew leaders convinced me to do it and it was probably my favorite activity.”


Waterfront fun!


Small Group Discussion with Kevin Ozar from Link Crew National.

And that’s just one of the many reasons Link Crew leaders are so important. Their whole job is to encourage these freshmen, mentor them, and serve as role models. And it means just as much to the Link Crew leaders as it does to the freshmen.

Ryan Drew, senior Link Crew Leader, said, “I’m so grateful for the opportunity to meet the new freshmen and offer them the same support, laughs, kindness, and advice that my link crew leaders gave me.”

Because it matters. These relationships matter. With peers, mentors, and faculty – these relationships will last.


Brookstone Class of 2022

I can’t imagine a better way to start high school than with something as fun and memorable as the Freshman Retreat. The friendships cultivated, both new and old, the memories made, and the lessons learned give these ninth graders a solid foundation on which to build.

Here’s to the greatest school year ever! We love the Class of 2022! Go Cougars!

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