Rapid changes in technology, and our society as a whole, have made the currents students’ attitudes sometimes seem very foreign to those of us of previous generations, even for such relatively young teachers at ourselves! We remember the tantalising promise of ‘We will watch a filmstrip in class if you are good…’ being met with barely suppressed yelps of intense excitement, and glared silent warnings at the messers that might derail this rare break from the routine… even if the filmstrip was akin to the one memorably mocked on the Simpsons: Meat and You: Partners in Freedom. Nowadays, the visually sated kids react with a bored shrug if you promise a YouTube video. Whatever.
Retreats, the same. Yes, we did think the Kumbaya sing-along sessions were a bit cringy, but we got to go somewhere and do something different! And maybe, just maybe learn something about ourselves. Nowadays: groans. Well, the young men and women at An Tobar Nua may have just changed that. Our First Years will soon be enjoying a day of faith and fun with this dynamic group, just as Second and Third Years did in recent weeks, and the reviews have been rave. Our Religion Department, namely Mr. Gallagher and Mr. Lonergan, have found the perfect antidote to students with low energy levels and, perhaps, a lack of a faith-filled background: a retreat that is large parts fun and ‘generally’ applicable, yet also true to our Christian ethos and mission. And only one verse of ‘Kumbaya’!