Community is a cornerstone of life at New Life Academy, so relationships are among the most important gifts each student leaves with.
Each year, the senior class enjoys fellowship one last time as a community before parting ways for graduation during its senior trip to Estes Park, Colorado. This year marks NLA’s thirty-first annual Senior Trip.
The students typically stay at a “rustic but comfortable” campsite away from the distractions of city living. Wetsel, NLA’s Athletic Director and one of the trip’s chaperones, noted the importance of the trip’s accommodations for student bonding: “Many of our students have never even experienced the mountains,” he said. “The thought behind the trip is to get the students away to experience the splendor of God’s creation. We want them to experience new things as they spend their last time together as a class.”
For good reason, most senior students spend the entire year anticipating their trip to the mountains. Senior Valerie Hohol looks forward to continue nurturing relationships from NLA. “I have become a lot closer with my classmates this year—I believe I’ve formed relationships here that will last my lifetime. I am looking forward to all the time we will spend together in Colorado. Also, we are going to such a wonderful and beautiful place. Who wouldn’t be excited?”
Wetsel, who has chaperoned the NLA Senior Trip for many years, said, “For almost all of the students, the trip is a highlight of their NLA experience. Each year is similar, but each year is different.”
Pictured: Senior Class of 2015
Though the trip’s activities certainly do not lack excitement, students and chaperones alike especially look forward to the vulnerability and depth of the last night of the trip: a special time sharing around the fire. “One highlight each year is the campfire on the last night. A staff member leads devotions, and the students have a chance to seek forgiveness and mend relationships as needed,” said Wetsel. “It’s a time to think about the meaning of the relationships developed at New Life.”
Senior Sam Horner said, “I think there will be a lot of fun activities, but I have heard the bonfire is a really special time where people become really honest with each other, and I am interested to hear what others have to say before we depart.”
According to Wetsel, every class is different, but this year’s class in particular has been a unique blessing. From their personalities to giftings, this class has made a lasting impression on the community of New Life Academy and has been especially close.
“The class of 2015 is special. There is great leadership and oneness among them,” Wetsel said. “I pray they will experience God and draw close to him.”