The Culture Quilt, with its different flags, colors, and pictures, hangs in the Social Studies Center for students to see just how different and alike each and every one of them are. There are students from all parts of the world, many different countries, and many more cities. With that, there are also all types of cultures, backgrounds and even religions.
You do not need both “however” and “despite” despite the fact that Kerr is a school that recognizes diversity, not all of its events and activities will coincide with the religious and personal beliefs of each and every student.
“I cannot play the Christmas songs for orchestra,” Freshman Amy Bravo, a Jehovah’s Witness, said. “This is because our beliefs are solely from the Bible.”
Bravo will not get to fully experience the Orchestra Winter Concert due to these religious restrictions. But other than not being able to play certain songs, Bravo does not feel all that different from other students.
“It kind of does feel lonely,” Bravo said, “But it doesn’t affect my Kerr life at all, except…for certain songs I cannot play.”
Concerts are not the only school activities affected by religious restrictions. In certain cases the restrictions can extend into school formals and dietary guidelines. Senior Noah McMurray, a Mormon, has experienced the former of these firsthand.
“When I was a freshman, I was asked to a dance,” McMurray said. “I couldn’t go because we can’t date if you are under 16 years old, but now I am able to go.”
Khalil Mishref, a Muslim senior, finds his options limited in the cafeteria.
“I don’t eat any of the meat at the school lunch, not even chicken nuggets, because it is not halal,” Mishref said. “Halal is meat that has been cleansed of all blood, and before the butcher kills the meat it has been blessed by saying ‘In the name of God, the most gracious and most merciful.’”
Even though Mishref misses a major portion of the school lunch, he can still compensate.
“They got salads, fruits, and vegetables, and half the people here are vegetarians,” Mishref said.
However, Mishref sometimes cannot eat at all during the day due to Ramadan, a Muslim holy month.
“I have fasted a lot of times during the winter at school. It is a bit hard because everyone else is eating and you can’t,” Mishref said. “But it doesn’t matter too much though. I just go to the library while everyone else goes to lunch.”
No matter how difficult trying to follow the restrictions of their religious beliefs may be, the most important thing that each of these students remember is why they have chosen to put their religion before personal comforts and social norms.
“I take my religion into consideration before other things,” sophomore Mohammad Taha said. “For example, I go to [Muslim Students Association], and after it is done then I got to [Student Council]. I do this because my religion has good teachings that can help lead me to success.”
In the same way, Mishref also understands and acknowledges the importance of his own religion.
“I can’t go with a date to homecoming or prom,” Mishref said. “[But] it doesn’t matter, my religion is way more important than stuff like homecoming and prom.”
McMurray lives by a similar philosophy.
“When my religion does affect me, it can be hard sometimes, because I see people doing something and I’m not able to do the same thing,” McMurray said. “But my religion is more important, if I can’t go to a dance or something, it doesn’t matter.”