EDISON, NJ-- The Wardlaw+Hartridge School in Edison hosted an on-campus retreat as part of its Peer Leadership Program in mid-November. Traditionally, this retreat takes place on the two days leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday with the senior peer leaders and the entire freshman class traveling up to northwest New Jersey for an overnight trip at Fairview Lakes YMCA Camp.  As with many of our plans this year, we had to reimagine what the retreat experience would look like with some of our ninth graders and peer leaders attending via Zoom. 

“While we can’t discuss what was said (because what happens at PL stays at PL) I can share that I saw lots of smiles throughout the day!  The peer leaders put a lot of thoughtful planning into making our reimagined retreat just as special as the one they experienced as ninth graders,” said Miss Tanda Tucker, faculty advisor to the Peer Leadership program.  

“The retreat went really well,” peer leader Zane Lee-Briggs of Avenel said. “Our group really seemed to thrive during the discussions. Everyone was open and bold. It was great to see them share. I think everyone got a lot out of it. I really enjoyed the experience.”

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“Despite the retreat looking different this year, being shortened and on-campus, our peer group, including all those on Zoom, was still able to bond and form the deeper connections that the retreat intended us to,” peer leader Olivia Brown of South Plainfield added. 

Miss Tucker and Mr. Tim Head have made sure the program hasn’t missed a beat in this unprecedented time. They also expressed thanks to Dina Congregane and Ryan Oliveira for their wonderful assistance and support during the retreat. 

“This year’s freshman Peer Leadership retreat took an entirely different form than any of us could have imagined. Unfortunately, I had to attend the retreat from home,” said peer leader Taliyah Williams of Rahway, who overcame some technical difficulties to enjoy a meaningful experience. “Despite this, I can still call the retreat a success because of my group’s understanding and cooperation. We truly bonded as a group as everyone shared parts of themselves they hadn’t revealed previously. I cannot wait to build upon our progress during our regularly scheduled Peer Leadership meetings.”

Going into the retreat I was a bit nervous as to how exactly we’d keep it interesting while stuck in the same room for practically four hours,” peer leader Noah Apter of Springfield said. “Thankfully, that wasn’t an issue as Mikayla (Cole) and I kept our peer kids engaged for the entire time. Overall the retreat went a lot smoother and better than I initially expected, especially considering the circumstances. The peer leaders were able to come together and create a good experience for the freshmen.”

The Wardlaw+Hartridge School (1295 Inman Ave., N. Edison) is Central Jersey’s premier PreK-12 independent school. The campus is located near the Scotch Plains border and just five miles from downtown Westfield. It is a private, nonsectarian, coeducational day school that prepares students to lead and succeed in a world of global interconnection. Wardlaw+Hartridge provides an educational atmosphere characterized by academic challenge, support for individual excellence, diversity, and a familial sense of community. To take a virtual tour of the school, visit www.whschool.org/admission/take-a-virtual-tour.