Faith in Roswell: How our students worship

Looking into the multitude of religions that are worshiped within the halls of Roswell High School. |Credit: Bridget Frame

Looking into the multitude of religions that are worshiped within the halls of Roswell High School. |Credit: Bridget Frame

Bridget Frame, Director of Graphics

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Faith, while often at the forefront of the many adults’ identities, can fall into the background of what represents a high school student.  How do teenagers participate in their religion? Do they have their own ways they worship?

Zivan Brown is a Senior at RHS. He was raised Jewish by his parents and had the unique experience of attending a Jewish private school and being immersed in his religion with other students of the same faith. “We’ve all been pretty tightly closed in the Jewish faith,” says Brown. When asked about his time in a private school, Brown stated: “ It’s pretty similar to going to a normal elementary and middle school, the only difference is that you’ll take a Hebrew class or … Torah study class”. Going to a faith-based school created a foundation for Brown and a close community with other Jewish children.

   Brown also attends a Jewish sports camp in North Carolina every year. This has provided an environment for him to be around members of his community and bond over both activity and faith. “It brings a lot of Jewish kids together that you would not probably meet and it uses other interests like sports, to where it’s not just all about religion. But it’s about a bunch of Jewish athletes getting to enjoy each other, their faith and their sports”.

   Luke Zeches, a senior, moved to the United States from Ireland prior to attending Roswell High School. This surrounded him with the Catholicism he grew up with. He described attending a public school with Catholic influences and how that setting fostered his identity as a Catholic teenager. Zeches recalled the moment that he knew his religion would have to be a part of his identity.  “I think it would be around 6th grade, I realized that my faith would have to become part of my identity.” He described how taking Catholic values has made him change his actions.  “I definitely try to be nicer. I try to be a bit more compassionate. Just a bit of a better person.” Something Zeches admired about Roswell was its dedication to diversity. He commented on the abundance of religious diversity and coexistence within Roswell High School.

   Salma Repole, senior, also has the experience of living in a mostly religiously homogeneous country, As a child, she lived in Saudi Arabia.  She discussed how, even while being Muslim in Saudi Arabia, she was still questioned about her identity. “I didn’t really blend in well,” she says. She faced many comments about her being American and Muslim. Many didn’t understand the dichotomy of having a varied identity. Repole even faced some of these comments in the U.S. “I actually did get some of that here. People were like ‘How are you Black if you’re Muslim or how are you American if you’re Muslim.” Repole also described her experience in public school while being openly religious. She stated that the students here have all been “pretty chill”. She describes that most students are worried about themselves and not focused on her religious affiliation.