Students in graduation

Leadership Experiences

Believe Gray Bees when they tell you: St. Benedict’s instills leadership like no other school in the country.

Kids have tremendous opportunities to grow as leaders at The Hive. Our program of leadership training encompasses mandatory experiences, like The Overnight and Trail, as well as expanded training for students who want to rise to leadership positions within the Group System. All leadership training involves the common goal of getting students comfortable with the uncomfortable.

The Overnight & Trail

The Freshman Overnight is a five day and night, intensive experience required of all first-year students. Held during Summer Phase, the Overnight is run by student-leaders with the assistance of midshipmen from the U.S. Naval Academy. First-year students acclimate to the Benedict’s ethos and spirit, complete challenges and work to be successful as a group, and begin to earn their membership in the St. Benedict’s community.

The bookend to freshman year is The Backpacking Project, the 55-mile, five-day hike on the Appalachian Trail in May. Students spend Spring Phase training for The Trail and hike in teams of seven or eight. The project is designed to create horizontal dependence whereby every team member (captain, navigator, medic) has to rely on each other to work through difficulty, persist and be successful. Once students complete The Backpacking Project, they’ve officially earned their place in the community as well as the right to wear the iconic Black hoodie.

WAC (Water Adversity Challenge)

Introduced in Summer Phase 2022, WAC is designed to build upon the confidence, motivation and teamwork freshmen developed as first years at The Hive. All UDIIs (sophomores) are expected to complete a series of next-level challenges (physical and mental) in an aquatic environment. After successful completion of the Aquatic Proficiency Exam, students will move on to simulated “man overboard,” evolutions, rescue and recovery operations, and other trainings to develop greater resilience and leadership. WAC also incorporates a corresponding academic and classroom component.

WILD (Wilderness Inspired Leadership Development) Capstone Expedition

Rising juniors (UDIIs) are required to participate in WILD, a five-week, fully immersive training experience that prepares students to lead the community effectively and make their footprint in life. Held during Summer Phase, WILD involves four weeks of intensive training at St. Benedict’s and corresponding courses in non-fiction English literature as the classroom component. WILD culminates with a 30-hour capstone expedition in Sandyston, N.J.

Building Bridges

Developed to build bonds of understanding and trust between communities of color and law enforcement, Building Bridges is an initiative that brings students from St. Benedict's Prep together with members of law enforcement for a shared experience involving physical, mental, and emotional challenges, as well as team building and reflection. Facilitated by Victory Road Leadership Development Group, the program launched in 2021 with a group of Benedict's students and New Jersey State Troopers. Its aim is to become a national model that can be replicated locally, regionally and nationally.

“Very few adults are willing to walk five miles in the wrong direction to teach kids a lesson. St. Benedict's Prep values growth more than anyone else and it’s such a privilege to work with a school that’s helping to inspire and develop leaders.” 

— Chris Howe, former U.S. Navy SEAL, Victory Road Leadership Development Group