Bridges built in Face to Faith
Quinn Rollins writing for the Utah Council for the Social Studies who observed a special Face to Faith videoconference on September 12th at Brighton High School in Utah said of the event, "you could see the bridge being built before our eyes" between the two partner schools. Students from Xavier School in Manila, Philippines shared stories with Brighton students about helping out in the recent flood crisis in Manila, students both classrooms discussed the religious observances common in their communities, and some students shared the challenges of being a minority in a place where one faith dominates.
Through all of the discussion, the students were engaged, courageous and beyond respectful: they seemed to truly empathize with one another across the many miles that separated them. Once when the mic was off, Dan, a student at Brighton, said of one male student at Xavier, "Jaime and I are friends!" Clearly, a special connection had been forged between the two young men.
Also important was the realization that there were big differences and, therefore, a need for understanding and respect among students in the same school.
The videoconference occurred on a day when the news was full of reports of violence breaking out in the name of religion. It was a heartening and inspiring experience to see these students exemplify the aims at the center of the Face to Faith program in the wake of that violence.
They confirmed that if we take time to get to know one another, to see both our differences and our similarities, and to consider the many ways that our faiths, cultures and/or beliefs shape our worldview and provide us with opportunities to improve life for the less fortunate among us, it becomes abundantly clear that religion is also a force for good in our world.
I am grateful to the students at both schools for showing all of us who were lucky to observe this event that the future is in good hands when such young people stand to inherit the reins of power in our world.
Thanks also the the U.S. Department of Education for inviting Face to Faith to showcase an educational innovation that is making an enormous contribution to shaping a more peaceful future for us all. And thanks most especially to Canyons School District: Superintendent Dave Doty, Principal Charisse Hilton, and lead Face to Faith teacher Jodi Ide for their dedication to their students and to education as a force for peace.
Dr. Marcia Beauchamp, US Education Manager