At Bishop Guertin, we educate the whole-person. That means we don’t just address the educational needs, but the social and emotional well-being of our students. Formation Day, our annual day of service, is a perfect example of our commitment to this mission.
On a cool fall day, close to 190 freshmen loaded buses to head to Kittery, Maine for Formation Day. Divided into two groups, each would have the opportunity to take part on the high ropes challenge or the low ropes course. The high ropes challenge tested their skills and built trust among students. The low ropes course encouraged them to focus on team building, leadership skills, growth, and unity. Students retreated indoors for a pizza lunch before the day concluded. Many students commented how fun the day was and it gave them an opportunity to bond with their classmates. One student said, “I had the opportunity to get to know more kids in my advisory and now we are closer than ever”!
The sophomores traveled to Boda Borg in Malden, MA where they spent the day questing in small teams of 3-4. Boda Borg is a facility that boasts about 18 different quests with varying levels of mental, physical and ninja warrior type challenges and makes it imperative that the teams work together to succeed in each quest and that is exactly what our students had to do. Mrs. Mullin, teacher and student activities coordinator, noted that this was a continuation from the class’s Formation Day last year. “We really wanted the sophomores to put to use what they learned from the Freshman Formation Day at the ropes course,” she said. [So they could] continue to develop their problem solving and teamwork skills.” Students were able to experience success with their quests but mainly they experienced failure over and over and over again since the quests completely shut down when the team did something wrong once they were inside the room. While many students (and teachers) were frustrated by their repeated failures, they had to decide as a team whether they would keep trying or move onto another quest. The students seemed to really enjoy their time at Boda Borg and were able to pinpoint their groups strengths and weaknesses, which will be useful to them as they continue to put their problem solving and teamwork skills to the test in their daily lives.
The junior class spent the day at Alpine Grove for a device-free reflection day led by life coach Jeff Levin. Students were asked to identify their gremlins, things that cause them to question their abilities and dreams, and to confront them head on. They worked in small groups to address sources of anxiety, did a partner walk through the beautiful grounds, and participated in mindfulness exercises. One of the greatest gifts BG gives its students is the gift of focus and this Formation Day program did just that.
Seniors spend their Formation Day embarking on service to their surrounding community. Embracing the values instilled unto them by the Brothers of the Sacred Heart as well as faculty and staff; seniors could be seen throughout the Nashua area providing services for local businesses. From raking leaves, washing walls, and painting to picking up litter along trails and roadways, students were entrenched in activities, which offered them an opportunity to “give back” to the community, which supports them. Seniors enjoyed spending the day out of school, immersed in the community, giving back to those around us. Students commented, “It’’s a day that reminds us about the important values such as charity, compassion, and teamwork.”