Students spend an amazing Shabbos of achdus, bonding, and connecting

The HANC High School Girls’ Retreat took place on Shabbos Parshas VaYeishev, December 20-22, at the Heritage Hotel in Southbury, Connecticut, and once again proved to be a highlight of the year so far. Students bonded with peers and teachers and felt an enhanced sense of closeness and connection that the Shabbos experience often brings. The achdus and spirit that the girls exuded was palpable throughout Shabbos and has definitely carried over into school for the week of Chanukah. Retreat 2019, which was attended by almost every single girl in the high school, is certainly a memorable experience that will have a long-lasting impact on all who joined.

The theme of the retreat was “All In: Mi LaShem Eilai,” and was brilliantly woven through the entire weekend. From Friday’s adventure of See-Run-Build, the grade onegs, to the unifying Motza’ei Shabbos kumsitz, the girls took part in inspiring activities and workshops.

We were joined for Shabbos by renowned guest speaker Mrs. Jackie Bitton. Her personal story and message captivated and inspired each and every student, through her engaging talks on Friday night and following s’udah sh’lishis, as well as in an interactive session for the seniors.

The beautiful singing of z’miros led by the heads of chorus, the student-delivered divrei Torah, the workshops conducted by their own HANC faculty and their spouses, and the participation of many teachers’ families, all came together to create an uplifting Shabbos atmosphere.

On Motza’ei Shabbos, the girls participated in HANC’s Talent Show, in which many of the students displayed their unique talents on stage, featuring a dynamic performance by the girls’ dance team, individual acts in song and dance, and an entertaining senior video. The entire show was skillfully coordinated by seniors Sarah Ziegler and Sarah Rafael.

Following a delicious melaveh malkah, the students geared up for a spirited chagigah. Led by energetic and dynamic HANC alumna (’98) Naz Aziz of “iMove with Naz,” the girls danced and sang with incredible excitement and enthusiasm, resulting in a truly spectacular chagigah, followed by an uplifting kumsitz. The connections that were created over Shabbat were evident in the way the students danced in unison.

The girls boarded the buses with newfound friends and reinvigorated appreciation for their school, Shabbos, and their teachers. A huge thank you goes to faculty members Mrs. Leigh Henoch and Mrs. Nomi Zanjirian for spearheading the entire Shabbaton. Kudos to Mrs. Jackie Raofim and Mrs. Rebecca Gordon for all their expertise in organizing the event. A shout-out goes to Senior Retreat Heads Ali Lenefsky, Stephanie Hoch, and Avital Mahgerefteh for making this event a huge success.