On Monday, April 13, AP English Language students were treated to a diverse panel of representatives across faith traditions coordinated in partnership with The Guibord Center - Religion Inside Out, an organization dedicated to promoting and facilitating interfaith dialogue, fostering pluralism, and affirming the values held in common by many faiths. The panel, which focused on deepening students’ study of Religion, Spirituality, and Philosophy, was brought to life as part of Windward’s Humanities Learning Series, introduced in Fall 2019 as a way to further diversify and enhance the voices and perspectives our students encounter. Focusing specifically on three disciplines—English, History, and World Languages—the series plays host to an array of dynamic, informed guest speakers working alongside Windward faculty members to supplement and advance curriculum.
The event was student-moderated and featured four panelists:
- Samia Bano, Operations Manager, Women's Mosque of America; Guibord Center Advisor
- Rabbi Neil Comess-Daniels, Temple Beth Shir Shalom; Guibord Center Advisor
- Dr. Lisa Patriquin, Program Director for Youth and Young Adults, The Guibord Center
- Tahil Sharma, Regional Director for North America, United Religion Initiative; Guibord Center Advisor
“We are grateful for the richness of the live session and the wondrous engagement of our students. The virtual panel proved to be a dynamic part of our study of religion, spirituality, and philosophy,” said Associate Prep Director Meghan Tally.
The student moderators, Juniors Cayla Kallman, Sarah Peykar, and Griffin Wolff, asked engaging and thoughtful questions during the hour-long Zoom session. “The panel was genuinely so fascinating. I wish that it could have been triple the length honestly—feels like there’s so much more to be asked/learned,” said Cayla.
The speakers discussed how their beliefs and practices have grown throughout their lifetimes and how their faith has evolved over time. Some shared eternal truths from their faith traditions that they found relevant in their lives right now during the COVID-19 pandemic. “I found the discussion to help me further understand different faith traditions other than my own and connect what I learned from the panel to the book we are reading as a class as well,” said Sarah.
The panel concluded with a live Q&A from the audience, using the Chat feature in Zoom. “I was so glad to be a part of the panel. Hopefully the Junior class gained some important information about religion as it will be very useful in this unit. Awesome discussion!” said Griffin.