BY MAIJA SHEA
The annual Faces of Faith event returned to MDHS on Tuesday, November 14th for the grade 11 students. The aim is to educate everyone on a variety of faiths and religions that make up their diverse Canadian community. Eleven guest speakers, each of a different belief, visited the school to share how they live their daily life and the foundations of their faiths. It was made very clear that the intention was not to convert anyone to their religion, but rather to aim for awareness and to reach beyond the boundaries of tolerance.
The event kicked off at 9:00am in the theatre with a few words from the principal, Mrs. Baksys, and a brief introduction of each of the speakers in a panel style session. Here, the students met the representatives from the Jewish, Anglican, Hindu, Buddhist, Baha’i, Sikh, Mormon, Wiccan, Zoroastrian, Canadian Indigenous, and Muslim faiths. The speakers were each asked a question to start off, however the students were too nervous to inquire further from there which cut the Q&A session shorter than anticipated. When that was wrapped up, the students broke off into groups based on the classes they would have during second period, and were placed in various classrooms around the school.
A rotation schedule was in place for the speakers to visit rooms individually for a session of educating and answering questions from the students. The problem? There were only four rotations scheduled, which meant that the students could only see less than half of the speakers visiting! That was a disappointment for many who wanted to learn as much as they could in this once in a lifetime opportunity. Regardless of that, each of the sessions went smoothly and were often quite inspirational to the young audience who will soon enter adulthood independently. The grade 12 leaders helped a tremendous amount and things wouldn’t have gone so nicely if it hadn’t been for their assistance with the guests.
When all of the rotations were done, free food was provided for the students and participants of the event. After a long day of learning, the teenagers were hungry and enthusiastic about the lunch. It was a delicious dish of samosas, chick peas, rice, and also a cookie. Nearly everyone made sure to give it a try, after all, who could turn down free food?
The lunch period was not only a time to eat, but a time that the students used to discuss what they had learned or missed with their friends. They were heard talking about what they liked or didn’t like about the course of the day. “It was a great opportunity to learn about others’ faiths,” said a grade 11 student. Many others agreed, and many individuals who were not involved with a religion found themselves wondering if they had been missing out all this time. They didn’t fully realize that the religion isn’t about the god, but rather the mindfulness.
Faces of Faith is an educational event which allows staff and students with open minds to learn about faiths that they were unsure about before. It created awareness of the diversity of the religions in their community and provided a safe space where converting the students to these beliefs did not seem like the objective. It is an event that is often remembered and should continue to educate for years to come at MDHS.