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Spirituality at SJHHS

With a wide variety of religions present on campus, students should be made aware of them to create a better understanding and admiration for their classmates.

Coexist+is+a+popular+word+to+connect+religions+in+unity+and+communicate+that+different+beliefs+can+live+side+by+side+in+peace.
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Spirituality at SJHHS

Coexist is a popular word to connect religions in unity and communicate that different beliefs can live side by side in peace.

Coexist is a popular word to connect religions in unity and communicate that different beliefs can live side by side in peace.

Art by Isabella Colby

Coexist is a popular word to connect religions in unity and communicate that different beliefs can live side by side in peace.

Art by Isabella Colby

Art by Isabella Colby

Coexist is a popular word to connect religions in unity and communicate that different beliefs can live side by side in peace.

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Diversity at SJHHS goes beyond just ethnicity. Many different religions occupy the beliefs of these students. Religion is defined as “a particular system of faith and worship.” With a wide variety of religions present on campus, students should be made aware of them to create a better understanding and admiration for their classmates.

Caroline McClaskey (12) follows non-denominational Christianity and incorporates her beliefs into her daily life. She describes Christianity as, “a relationship where I am loved and valued by my Creator.” She emphasizes that, “being a Christian has taught me to love other people unconditionally, see good in all things, and to do everything I do wholeheartedly.” Spreading kindness is McClaskey’s way of showing others her faith. Christianity was followed in her household, but, she explains that, “believing in God was never forced on me. I made the decision on my own to grow in my relationship with God.”

Keila Astono (12) addresses the confusion between Christianity, and the religion she follows: Catholicism. “One of the misconceptions of Catholics is that we are not Christian. We believe in the teachings of and salvation through Jesus Christ, but differ on many aspects from non-denominationals as we place heavy emphasis on sacraments and tradition, and our Church’s founding traces back directly to Jesus,” Astono said. She participates in Sunday mass, and explains that out of the many churches she has visited in other countries, the message of Catholicism does not change.

She has found that she has, “become more patient, understanding, and peaceful,” as she puts her trust into a higher power. She continues to emphasize that, “the Church has been dealing with internal corruption, but there has been rising criticism from within for reform.” Astono feels that the people of the church will find a way to do the right thing. She explains, “The unfortunate mistakes of others should not and does not change my personal relationship with God.”

Isabelle Bolotin (12) follows Judaism. She was raised Jewish, and she says, “We have family traditions and I go to temple and we connect with God through readings and prayers. I love being Jewish and all of the traditions that come with it.” Following Judaism has made Bolotin her “best self” by putting others’ needs before her own.

Michelle Thomas (12) and Christian Huynh (12) both follow the teachings of Buddha. Thomas describes her religion as, “The Soka Gakkai International (SGI) and it is a community-based Buddhist organization that promotes peace, culture and education centered on respect for the dignity of life. We, as members, uphold the humanistic philosophy of Nichiren Buddhism.” She participates in chants and recitings of the excerpts of the Lotus Sutra, one of the most important texts in Mahayana Buddhism.

Huynh practices his faith by, “praying every holiday for great health, safety and wealth in our lives and those precious around us.” He has sworn never to hurt animals because he believes they are gifts. Huynh had a unique experience with Buddhism when he was in eighth grade. He traveled to Thailand to visit extended family where he met his great grandmother for the first time in his life. Overnight, she passed away peacefully in her sleep.

For her funeral, Huynh became a part-time monk. This task involved shaving his hair and eyebrows off, and wearing a robe to abide by tradition. Huynh explains that he couldn’t buy food for himself, and had annual walks with nature as part of the process. He says, “It was an enlightening experience even though I did it because of a sad death in the family, but it was an experience I didn’t regret doing.”

Ruby Hladek (10) is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, also known as Mormon, believing that Jesus Christ, God, and the Holy Spirit are three separate beings. Hladek believes in keeping the Word of Wisdom, which includes, “that we do not drink, smoke, vape, wear immodest clothes, drink coffee or tea, or do anything that is harmful or addicting to our body.” Hladek explains, “I was raised in my religion which I am so grateful for, and even though I was raised in it, I am always growing my faith stronger.”

Haris believes her religion has inspired her to be a more selfless person, considering her family believes to give to those who are less fortunate by donating to charity.”

Ausna Haris (12), a Muslim, is a follower of the religion of Islam. Haris refers back to the book of Quran, which she describes, “teaches about morality and learning how to have good character and faith.” Haris believes her religion has inspired her to be a more selfless person, considering her family believes to give to those who are less fortunate by donating to charity. Zakat, “obligatory payment made annually under Islamic law on certain kinds of property and used for charitable and religious purposes,” (dictionary.com) is something her family actively participates in.

Haris has experienced hardships with her religion due to the misconceptions that some forms of terrorism derive from Muslim teachings. Haris explains that, “They don’t practice the religion at all, and don’t adhere to our values and ethics. Many of the quotes people read to me to justify in saying our religion is dangerous and violent (even though I’ve read the Quran in full many times) are taken out of context.” She emphasizes that she is unhappy that women of her religion who wear hijabs are looked down upon, considering it is an honorable choice these women make. Haris utilizes her religion to help her on bad days, and found her true identity within Islam.

In high school, our differences make us who we are. Religious beliefs differ greatly at SJHHS, and the uniqueness of each individual’s beliefs should be emphasized, appreciated and respected.

In high school, our differences make us who we are. Religious beliefs differ greatly at SJHHS, and the uniqueness of each individual’s beliefs should be emphasized, appreciated and respected.”

Shruti Marada (9) follows Hinduism. She believes in one God that takes on three forms: Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. She describes that, “Brahma is the creator, Shiva is the destroyer, and Vishnu is the preserver. Altogether they maintain the world.” Marada conveys the belief that her religion is unique, since it teaches a great deal of spirituality. She says that the teachings of her religion model how one should act. She practices mindfulness, patience, and pacifism.

Ava Bachelder (12) does not follow a religion, but believes in atheism. She considers herself to have a strong moral code without teachings from a religion, one including valuing the life of all living things. She has experienced conflicts with her beliefs since she was raised in a Christian household, and her beliefs did not align with her parents’. “I began focusing on self reflection and learning about different belief systems, and gradually developed my individual beliefs,” Bachelder said.

 

 

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About the Writer
Claire Cone, Staff Writer

Claire is a senior and stoked to be a part of The Express for a second year. She enjoys studying environmental science, spending time at the beach, eating...

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