Visit from Regis HS
Five students from Regis High School in New York City with two of their staff members were welcomed to St. Al’s for two weeks in June. The students were Chris, Giorgio, Matthew, Michal, and Tyler, and the staff were Ms. Christine and Dr. Bill. The visit was a high moment in an ongoing relationship between the two Jesuit high schools. This relationship dates back to 2007 in the early days of St. Al’s. The visit creates an opportunity for exchange between students of the two schools for the sake of mutual understanding and appreciation of the common humanity uniting us despite the diversity of our cultures. In addition, groups of students, parents, teachers and staff from Regis have sponsored several students and provided other financial support for St. Al’s.
The Regis visit this year is the third time that students and staff have visited us. The first visit occurred in June 2011. In addition to interactions with St. Al’s students, there was a desire for the visitors from Regis to provide a service component as part of their program. Fr. Terry mentioned that since St. Al’s earliest days, he had a desire that a Jesuit high school from the USA would come to St. Al’s to introduce the Kairos Retreat, since he thought it would greatly benefit our students. It was agreed that central to the Regis visit would be to lead two of these retreats, which are called Quest, one for our Form 3 Boys and another for our Form 3 Girls. These retreats, which are largely student-led, were a great success and began the tradition of yearly Quest Retreats for Form 3 (Junior) St. Al’s students. St. Al’s students, who made the retreat the previous year, would be selected as Form 4 (Senior) students to lead the retreats the next year.
Regis wanted to return in 2013, but they noted that St. Al’s now has its own students to lead the retreats. Fr. Terry recognized that these Quest retreats provide a unique opportunity to open up, to bond, and to share one’s experience at a fairly deep level. He suggested that in 2013 and on any future occasion when Regis would send a group, they would be part of the retreats and there would be two sets of leaders, one from St. Al’s and one from Regis. This has greatly enriched the Quest experience.
Once again this year the Quest retreats proved a highlight of the Regis visit although there were plenty more opportunities for the students to interact. The Regis students attended St. Al’s classes, and joined in playing sports. They spent some time hanging out at the school and were also able to participate in our celebration of St. Al’s Day. Additionally, they were able to visit many of the cultural highlights of Nairobi and visit several Jesuit projects. They walked through Kibera and visited students’ homes as well as the site of the original St. Al’s. Of course, a visit to Kenya could not be complete without a safari to Maasai Mara.