Powell hosts religious diversity summit
June 27, 2013 1:26PM
Colin Powell Middle School sixth-grade social studies students hosted the Understanding World Religions Summit in Matteson. | Supplied photo
Updated: August 1, 2013 6:02AM
Matteson School District 159’s Colin Powell Middle School sixth grade social studies program hosted a summit entitled “Understanding World Religions.”
This was the final activity in the study of five major world religions — Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism.
During the study, students were introduced to the origins, geography, prophets, core beliefs and traditions of the religions.
Religious leaders were invited to speak about how they define their respective religions and discuss and answer questions posed by the students.
Members of the guest panel included Rabbi Leonard Zukrow from Temple Beth El in Munster, Ind.; the Rev. John Smith, pastor of Olivet Baptist Church in Chicago; Karen Danielson from the Muslim American Society in Chicago; Subramanian Veerabuhu from the Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago in Lemont and Eric Lindo, a practicing Buddihist who teaches meditation in LaGrange.
The study of world religions is a part of the sixth grade social studies curriculum that focuses on world history.
Tausha Frison, a sixth grade teacher at the school and summit organizer, spoke about the goals for the summit.
“Religion is a powerful tool that has been used since the beginning of civilization to shape cultures and define morals. Our goal was to give students an opportunity to partake in a rich and structured conversation about the history and basic beliefs of some of the world’s oldest religions,” Frison said. “We wanted them to be able to compare and contrast the various philosophies. Finally, our goal was to have students make real world connections with what is being discussed in the classroom.”
Students prepared questions for each of the panelists.
Dominque Franklin, one of the student facilitators, spoke of her experience, saying, “I had a lot of questions that were answered. The summit was very informative.”