By Jessica Ferrer '21 and Julienne Cancio '21
Kairos is a three-day retreat that focuses on self-reflection, making discoveries about yourself and the world around you. It’s a time to build community and get to know one another. At ICA Cristo Rey, there has not been a Kairos retreat in 10 years; the last one was attended by members of Ms. Kirk’s class. Kairos XI was from November 6 to 8, 2019. The group spent three days and two nights at the Vallombrosa Retreat Center in Menlo Park. The group consisted of 35 participants, five student leaders, and six teachers. The student leaders were Pamela Cabotaje, Chaila Contreras, Eva Moody, Natalie Wennerstrom, and Annika Ponciano. The teachers were Mr. D, Mr. Wetzel, Ms. McKenney, Ms. Kirk, Ms. Aquino, and Mrs. Fiatarone. Every Kairos retreat is unique and special. But overall, it is a part of a large network of other Kairos retreats, both past, and future.
Here are some reflections from the retreat:
“As a leader, I was super scared and nervous. I really wanted to create an environment where everyone would feel welcome and feel compelled to participate, and I am so lucky to say that it was even more special than I could ever imagine. I never felt so much love and acceptance from everyone, even from people I didn't even know. We were able to create bonds and become closer with the people. Kairos reminded us that there are people in our lives that love us. For the people who are thinking about going next year, try to go! Kairos is an opportunity for you to grow and welcome other people into your life.” - Natalie Wennerstrom, student leader.
“ The leaders and I had so much fun creating this retreat. Before the retreat, we had moments where we laughed, cried, sang, ate, and painted late nights together. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to lead it with Natalie, Pammy, Annika, and Eva. We were able to form a stronger bond that wasn't there before.” - Chaila Contreras, student leader
“Kairos allowed me to escape reality for a moment. While I felt like I was sinking, Kairos gave me the fresh air I needed to breathe. It was a time of reflection and realization of myself and my relationships.” - Kimberly Magpantay, participant
“I felt refreshed in a way. It was definitely not at all what I expected. It was very eye-opening. My main takeaway was learning more about myself and taking it with me back home. I definitely would encourage others to go because it’s not something you’d expect. I loved every minute there, and I wish I was able to attend the trip again.” - Pele Amataga, participant
“Kairos served as a breather for my senior year. It gave me the time to reflect on myself physically, mentally and spiritually. Above all, it gave me an insight into a strong community that lies within ICA. I hope students next year take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” - Stacey Perez, participant
“Going on ICA's Kairos was an incredible experience. I loved Kairos so much when I attended as a junior in high school, so being able to go again as an adult was a truly beautiful experience. There are very few times in our lives when we have the opportunity and time to step back from all of the crazy things going on in our lives and really reflect and take care of ourselves spiritually. I consider myself lucky to have gotten to know so many students (and colleagues!) better through this retreat and encourage any students who are thinking about attending the next Kairos to go for it!” - Ms. McKenney, adult leader
“This is my eighth Kairos as an adult leader, and this was one of the best Kairoses that I have ever experienced. There wasn’t a single hiccup and just felt so organic and loving and one of the most beautiful experiences I’ve ever had... The preparation was a lot because every Kairos is different so we wrote everything from scratch from all these different ideas. Kairos speaks for itself. Hopefully, people will see the way anyone who’s gone has changed and not in an ‘Aaah Jesus!’ change, but that they are happier within their own lives.” - Mrs. Fiatarone, adult leader and co-director