From the perspective of  “The New Guy”

Attending a new school for my senior year initially seemed a little ominous, but I was up for the adventure. As I began to see the dynamic of the senior class, I knew that assimilating myself within the grade would not be challenging.

“Talk about some of the friendliest people you will ever meet.” This was my response to the chaperones on the senior retreat, when they asked me about my first couple weeks of school.

The highlight of my brief AIS tenure was, of course, the senior retreat. Although I am new and did not have an “ immediate friend group,” the retreat allowed me to socialize with everyone and to really pick the brains of my fellow classmates.

Through simple conversations during a meal or at an activity I started to get the big picture: the retreat is an opportunity to create or solidify relationships with my classmates-which will last until graduation and hopefully beyond.

For instance, the roughly three-hour bus ride gave me the chance to communicate with people I may not have otherwise, and I am very glad I did.

Maria and I just being kids

Maria and I just being kids.

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Maria Dudenhoeffer and I saw each other every day on the commute to school but never said a word to each other. On the bus ride to the retreat we sat three rows apart. After over hearing some of the conversation she was having with Jack Ulses about their passion for literature, I decided to chime in. The conversation went from our love for books and movies to the differences in our background. Who would ever suspect that a girl from Idaho and a guy from New York would have much in common, but we do. Thanks to the retreat – I was able to meet such a jovial, understanding, and insightful person, who I now consider a friend.

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It gave me the chance I needed, through activities, meals, and bus rides to really become part of the community.

One of my favorite moments of the trip was the formal dinner on the last night. Before the meal, the seniors gathered together to take the senior photo, a picture that we will be able to look back on nostalgically- somewhere down the road.

 As we started to get into position for the photo, I looked around, and no longer considered myself new. I realized that I was now part of the AIS community.

The much anticipated senior retreat photo

The much anticipated senior retreat photo.

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