David Dumaine, director of the Mello’s Retreat Center in Vermont, leads Holy Family School children in song March 6. Dumaine led the two-day in-school retreat encouraging the children to reflect on the gifts they have been given by God and how their actions could help bring about a better world. Pilot photo/ Robea Patrowicz
ROCKLAND -- Building on the Catholic School’s Week theme, “Catholic Schools Light the Way,’ students at Rockland’s Holy Family School were recently helped to discover how they could “Go Light the World” with their faith.
During a March 6 and 7 in-school retreat using prayer, videos, songs, crafts and even a skit performed by two eighth graders, students were asked to reflect on the gifts they have been given by God and how their actions could help bring about a better world.
The entire student body -- kindergarten through grade eight -- took part in the retreat which was led by David Dumaine, director of the Mello’s Retreat Center in southern Vermont.
“It was a wonderful experience,” commented Ann Marie Manning, principal of Holy Family. “Dave really connected with all of them.”
Susan Allo, an eighth grader who participated in the skit, entitled “The Sitter and the Stander,” said she was moved by the entire retreat.
In the skit, Susan played the part of “the sitter,” which she described as “a person who wants to do something good but keeps waiting for the right opportunity.” In contrast, the character of the “the stander,” spends the entire skit doing small acts of kindness for others.
“The moral of the play is that you can’t just sit around. You have to light the world around you,” Susan said.
For Susan, the retreat’s message can be summed up in a few words: “Go out and light the world for others.”
“It changed me,” she declared. “It really made me think in a whole new way.”
David Quinn, the other eighth grader who participated in the skit, was equally impressed with the retreat.
“It made me look at myself and see what I can do to change the world around me,” he said.
David was amazed that Dumaine “got his message through to us and he basically did the same thing with the younger kids and they got it as well.”
“It was great -- we really had a fun time with [Dumaine], and yet he got his message across,” said David.
“Every student fully entered into the experience,” added Tammy Glass, a history teacher for grades seven and eight.
“He was able to reinforce the message that we have been giving to the students all year long, and yet he did it from another perspective, from another viewpoint,” she said. “I think it was wonderful.”
According to Glass, during the retreat each student made a paper candle on which Dumaine asked them to write what gift they could bring to the world. At the end of the two days, a mural was made out of the candles; it hangs in the school cafeteria to remind students of the experience.
“If you look at the wall, and you look at the gifts they can bring, it is a wonderful thing,” Glass said.
“Having Dave here was a really positive experience for all of us -- the students and the faculty,” she added.