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Class of 2025 Embarks on Via Dei Retreat

On Friday, May 20, the Class of 2025 embarked on the Via Dei Retreat—allowing them to engage in team-building activities and to discover what it means to be a Son of Xavier, loved by God.

Via Dei serves as the first retreat freshmen venture on at Xavier.

The annual retreat takes the freshman class on an overnight trip to the Poconos and brings students together for a full day of prayer, reflection, and fun. The focus of this first retreat is to introduce Xavier’s newest students to St. Ignatius and the Portrait of a Jesuit High School Graduate at Graduation.

“It was an awesome retreat,” said Luca Blankenbuehler ’25. “It was great to make memories outside of school. I was happy to have an experience like this with my friends outside of the classroom.”

Last year saw the retreat take place on two separate days to ensure the safety of students and the faculty and staff leaders.

This year was a welcome return to form—bringing the entire freshman class together for a full day of prayer, reflection, and fun.

“It was such a fun experience,” said Ducan Le ’25. “I enjoyed playing sports with the entire class and getting to meet new people and make new relationships with more guys in my homeroom and beyond.”

The retreat uses its outdoor location to enhance the feeling of community. Students have the option to partake in zip-lining, canoeing, paddle boarding, and team sports.

Throughout the retreat, students had a variety of ways to build bonds with one another. Students broke off into small groups to reflect on their collective Xavier experience, as well as the diverse backgrounds they all stem from

“We had so much fun,” said D’Angelo Brown ’25. “There were so many experiences that I loved to be able to share with my friends, like zip-lining, tennis, and soccer. It was a great opportunity to bond with everyone that I wouldn’t get a chance to in the classroom.”