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Today (Wednesday, February 23)I am writing this as I prepare to leave for Camp Hess Kramer and our grade 6 retreat. I am excited to spend the evening and day tomorrow with our students as we continue to develop our sense of community and start preparing for their culmination. The process of planning this retreat is indicative of what an integrated day school experience truly is. We are working with the Fulcrum Company to provide rigorous team building activities and ropes course challenges, with our students in groups on cooperation, friendship, communication, support, community and respect. Tonight our kids will share their talents in “Wise got Talent” and their fun talent show and campfire. Tomorrow we start our day with a beautiful Shacharit service, where the students will pray, discuss the weekly Parsha, and sing both modern and Judaic songs. This service will frame the work for Thursday as we reflect on how we want to “celebrate what’s right” at our culmination. The students will discuss what they want to celebrate about their K-6th grade experience at Stephen S. Wise Elementary as well as what they want to celebrate about themselves. We then take a long hike from Hilltop to the beach where we will have a moment to breathe, talk about our unique characteristics and marvel at the beauty of nature. We end with a BBQ lunch, a few more sports and art activities, and the ride back to campus. The retreat promises to be both fun and educational and I can’t wait to get there and join our students and staff. I know we will come back a bit tired, a bit dirty, and hopefully a bit more connected than when we started, and I look forward to sharing pictures and stories with the rest of our school community.