King's Fall Retreat refreshes community, students say


Tears streamed down the face of junior Serenity Richardson as she watched TKC staff and faculty perform their own original skit during the drama competition at this year’s Fall Retreat. Lucinda Sweazey ('15) and Caley Goins ('14) represent the feelings of fall retreat. Photo by Elise Inman.

“I was bawling,” Richardson said. “I love that the staff did a skit and lovingly made fun of themselves and King’s. That was the biggest way the staff could tell us ‘we love you.’”

King's revived the school-wide tradition of Fall Retreat Sept. 6-8, spearheaded by Student Body President Peter Flemming ('14) and the House helmsmen. After foregoing the trip last year due to financial constraints, students were eager to pile into the several school buses bound for Iroquois Springs.

Like most students, Richardson expressed gratitude for the getaway. “[King's has] done a phenomenal job this year setting the tone for what community means for this school,” she said.

Richardson said that with the absence of Fall Retreat, the chaos of Hurricane Sandy, the loss of the school’s president and the campus's relocation from the Empire State Building to 52 Broadway, “there was such a sense of 'let’s survive'” at King’s.

But the weekend suggested the college's mentality has shifted from one of surviving to one of thriving.

“I’m so looking forward to seeing that excitement and that pride and that Kingsian identity flesh out as we go on to other competitions and events throughout the school year," Richardson said.

President Flemming also believes Fall Retreat is crucial in creating school-wide pride. “It instilled a pride in the King’s students that we’re part of the school and this community,” he said.

Flemming said the retreat's absence last year negatively impacted the freshmen's (now sophomores) sense of community. "We felt the repercussions of not having it," he said.

The athletic ability of King's students was a refreshing surprise. Photo by Elise Inman.

The movement to bring back Fall Retreat was initiated by the House helmsmen, who, backed by Flemming's leadership, created a petition. The fundraising and financial support of parents and alumni enabled the King's community to take the trip.

Vice President for Student Development Eric Bennett  jumped on board to facilitate the event.“My role was simply to say, 'YES, we’re going to do the Fall Retreat,' and to secure the funding to carry it off," he said in an email, adding, "Students like Peter Flemming made it happen."

Bennett commented on the impressive turnout--350 students and 35 faculty. Specifically, he mentioned that Dr. and Dr. Thornbury's presence contributed to the success.

"[The Thornburys] being there – rocking out with students, speaking their language, and being in the faculty/staff skit - also was a big influence," Bennett said.

“There’s a sense that that students and staff [are] proud to be at King’s,” Richardson said. “I felt I got my school back."