There are many religions at Leesville and several clubs where these students can fellowship with others who share their religious beliefs.
Christians are one group of students who show their faith at school. Clubs such as the Christian Student Association (CSA) and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) continue to draw in people year after year.
“[Religion] gives me something to live for. I am an example through my actions and schoolwork,” said Kyle McKinley, vice president of CSA. “It is very important to me.”
Though religion has grown through music and events, it has also been restricted. Many laws have been enacted to restrict religion in schools, thereby limiting the ways students and teachers can show their faith.
Teachers are not allowed to partake in any religious activities at school or even pray on campus. Students are—so long as they are not disruptive—allowed to participate in these activities. Student-initiated prayers at graduation are also being widely debated.
Many clubs and religious groups participate in events at in and out of school. See You at the Pole is an event in which students gather around the flagpole at their school to pray before classes in the morning or after school. Even though some are mocked and jeered at for their beliefs, they continue to pray and stand up for what they believe in.
Religious students also are starting to show their faith in more ways than just attending religious club meetings. Shirts, bumper stickers, and jewelry also help believers get their message across.
“I invite friends to my youth group and hand out tracks (religious pamphlets) [to show my faith],” said McKinley.
Many religious bands sell bumper stickers and shirts that have a spiritual message tucked away in a quote or line from one of their songs. For instance: Hawk Nelson’s bumper sticker “I gotta friend like that” is not only a quote from their song, but also proclaims that they have the greatest friend, Jesus.
Jews are another group of religious students at Leesville. Even though they are a minority religion, they still stand strong in their beliefs.
“It is difficult [to show my faith in school]…we are a minority religion. People sometimes ask me ignorant questions [about my religion],” said Jessie Halpern, president of the Jewish Student Association, a club in which Jewish students can gather with those who share their beliefs.
This group of religious students also shows their faith by wearing symbols such as the Jewish Star and voicing their opinions in class debates concerning their religion.
“I’m happy to answer questions [about my faith] as long as they’re not offensive,” said Halpern. “I think religion creates a community with a shared bond, even if [the people] are completely different.”