Returning to Riverbend for 2021 Retreat

The Upper School students attend their annual retreat at Riverbend Retreat Center.


Photo by: Laura Smith

The seniors pose for a photo before leaving the retreat center.

Samantha Youngblood, Editor-In-Chief

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  • Freshman Cyrus Villa climbs the rock wall at Riverbend Retreat

  • Seniors Bekah Impiccini, Lizzie Smith, and Campbell Martin spend their free time playing UNO.

  • Seniors Landon Harrell and Bella Vaught along with sophomore Christian Norrell perform their small group skit.

  • Senior Jake Atherton hits the ball over the net while playing sand volleyball

  • Amy Jordan and Coach Stringer’s small group perform their skit.

  • Sophomore Austin George passionately sings during his small group performance.

  • Teacher Tara Ackmann hits the ball over the net while playing with the students

  • Senior Sam Youngblood and Junior Angelina Li perform their skit.

  • Senior Sebastian Claudio plays basketball during his free time at Riverbend Retreat.

  • Coach Stringers small group talking to each other about the sermon.

To kick off the beginning of the school year, the Upper School Students traveled to Riverbend Retreat Center for the annual Upper School Retreat. This year was the first time for MCA to host this retreat after the COVID-19 Pandemic. The purpose of the retreat is to provide an opportunity for all of the Upper School students to bond with their fellow classmates and teachers. The seniors left for the retreat center on Wednesday afternoon. Once they arrived, the seniors participated in several team building activities as well as had a time to pray and reconnect with one another. The seniors then ended the night around a campfire roasting smores and enjoying one another’s company. The next morning, the seniors welcomed the rest of the Upper School students as they arrived at the retreat center. After lunch, the students were given three hours of free time. Many students played basketball, nine-square, and soccer while others explored the campgrounds. Some students even watched MCA’s counselor, John Woodruff, fish in the pond. On Thursday students also had time with their small groups to practice their skit. Every year at retreat a male small group and a female small group pair up to perform a skit for all of the other students. For many, this is  the best part of retreat as many students step out of their comfort zone to put on a show. After skit practice, the Upper School students joined together again for dinner. After dinner, Upper School Bible teacher John McGinn gave a message regarding this year’s theme based off of Isaiah 43:18-19 which states, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!” The students also got the chance to engage in worship with former MCA teacher, Michael Keys. Following this time of worship was the skit performances. The winners of this year’s annual skit competition was Mackenzie Matthews and Dr. John McGinn’s small group. Senior, Adam Gerdes, the star of the winning skit said this about his performance, “I love performing skits because I love having attention on myself and making other people laugh.” On Friday morning before their departure, the Upper School students received an encouraging message from Upper School Principal, Laura Smith about the upcoming year. When asked about how she felt about her first retreat, Freshman, Havilah Mahadi said, “It was so much fun spending time with all of the high school at retreat and it made me closer with so many more people.” Once again, the tradition of retreat helped strengthen the bond of the Upper School students and staff before jumping into a new school year.