Middle School Hosts Interfaith Panels

Jenna Pel, Middle School Teacher, Humanities, Community Liaison

In conjunction with Middle School students’ studies of world religions for our Human Constructs unit in Humanities, our community hosted a series of Interfaith panels.

High School faculty member Greg Han, parent of ’18 and 20’, who previously served as Director of Interfaith Relations & Education at Interfaith Ministries, set this opportunity in motion. The Middle School community sends a tremendous bid of gratitude to Mr. Han for coordinating and moderating the panels and securing the incredible panelists.

We invited nine panelists who practice a diverse range of world religions. Panelists represented Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, the Ba’hai Faith, Sikhism, Jainism, Hinduism, the Black Church, and Zoroastrianism. The discussions also focused on the importance of building bridges across different faiths. Students posed a wide sweep of questions and engaged in a dynamic discussion with each panelist. Students asked questions related to how faith impacts daily life, mitigating harmful stereotypes, gender roles in faith, and many other topics.

Two eighth-grade students, Alexandra W. and Sara Leoni C.-E., volunteered to moderate and lead the discussion for the final panel discussion with the Black Church and Zoroastrianism.

Prior to the panels, students chose two world religions to research and deliver presentations to peers. The opportunity to ask questions and listen to the panelists certainly deepened students’ understanding of world religions. And as one panelist remarked, “A good heart is the best religion.”

Student Reflections

Haashir Q. ’27: Some of the points the panelists gave were fascinating and made us students feel engaged in what they were saying.

Raya J. ’27: I really admired how all of the panelists were so open to other religions and did not listen to the stereotypes that were so often associated with it. I was really inspired by that, and I believe that all of us should follow their example.

Anthony H.’26: Listening to each of these unique representatives of their religious communities gave me a piece of their ideals, and felt like I was taking a trip around the world and learning about the different cultures. These religions all connect to me in unique ways.

Sara Leoni C.-E. ’26: All of these panels have been very insightful and heartwarming. It has been amazing to see people talk about their religion with so much pride, while still listening to others point of views with respect.

Federico S. ’26: The panelists taught me so many life lessons and informed me about their respective faiths, many of which I did not know about. I learned about religions which I had never heard of before learning about Humanities.

Max F. ’26: I would also like to add that these panels were really the conclusion of our world religions unit. It was interesting to learn about religions and do presentations on them, but it also made sense, in my opinion, to learn from real people who practice the religion that we met in person because it helps put what we were learning about into the proper context.

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