Pizza, midnight ice cream runs, and hushed whispers in the dark; the Middle School retreat was the definition of a classic sleepover, only relocated to Booth Field on Marlborough’s campus.
On Thursday, Sept. 2, Marlborough’s Middle School students came to school in free dress and were invited to partake in an afternoon of swimming, tie-dying and socializing with their peers, followed by a food truck dinner and a frozen fruit dessert (courtesy of 9th Grade Dean Maxime Salzburg). The evening culminated with an outdoor overnight experience with a late night ice cream surprise for the 9th grade.
Many felt that the retreat was the right balance of structure and downtime to allow them to bond with the other students from both their grade and with students from different grades.
“It was a great way to get to know those who I was already close with, as well as some people I was a bit more unfamiliar with,” Mattie ‘25 said.
Isabel ‘25, recounted a similar experience.
“The atmosphere at the sleepover felt very relaxed as we had many options for activities and could even bond with people from different grades,” Isabel said.
This sense of community was exactly what the Middle School administration was looking to achieve after a year of online learning, which had made it hard to connect with others. However, planning an event that was compliant with COVID-19 guidelines in a controlled and safe environment was a challenge. The eventual outcome was a compromise between caution and fun, according to Director of Middle School Sean Fitts.
“We thought it would be better to have an on-campus experience that would feel safer and be in a place where [students] felt comfortable enough to be here overnight,” Fitts said.
The administration felt that this retreat was especially important for the seventh graders, who are experiencing their first year at Marlborough. The 7th Grade Dean Kendall Beeman said that building the students comfort level and confidence while on campus was a crucial aspect of the retreat.
“A lot of times, the seventh graders are nervous, so this was an event to help them make friends and to take ownership of the campus,” Beeman said.
Given the success of the Middle School sleepover, Fitts believes that the event has the potential to become an annual Marlborough tradition for the Middle School.
“Now that Caswell Hall is working as well and we have access to the whole facility, I think we could really come up with some clever, fun things to do, even more than this year,” Fitts said.