Perspectives – A New Series Penned by the Students of St. Augustine Prep
In an effort to celebrate the diversity of the St. Augustine Prep Community, the PrepTalk Blog will feature Perspectives – an ongoing series of blog entries celebrating diversity at St. Augustine. This segment will feature aspects of our students, faculty, and greater community which makes us truly unique and special. In these posts, we hope you find a greater understanding of the diversity that exists in the St. Augustine Prep Community, and the far-reaching effect it has on all of us.
Last Wednesday, our celebration of Black History Month began with a powerful speech by Pastor Jones. Pastor Jones reminded us of the importance of diversity in making us who we are and the impact minorities have had on shaping our country. In regards to our celebration, Pastor reminded us that we must keep an open mind regarding the differences we all share and that we must strive to understand one another, to form a better connection.
As a practicing Hindu, this statement of cultural and religious understanding is one that is familiar to me and epitomizes my time at St. Augustine Prep. Every Wednesday, along with all the other students at The Prep, I sit in the gymnasium for mass. The priest lights incense and reads scripture. He rings bells, whose peals have become familiar and comforting to me, and yet, I respectfully refrain from receiving the Eucharist and wine. Instead, I participate in Hindu pujas at our local temple. As the eldest grandchild, I lead my grandmother’s annual memorial prayer. I anoint mounds of rice with milk, vermillion, and ghee as a symbolic way to offer her soul peace. On Diwali this year, the holiest holiday of the Hindu calendar, I sat through a typical school day and had a late meeting with my guidance counselor.
For me, It is interesting to inhabit two worlds, and occasionally, as I took notes in class that day on Diwali, or as I discussed college applications with my counselor, it felt strange to be there when I knew that my relatives, far away, were observing a holy day. But it made me feel unique, too. As one of the only Hindu Indian-Americans at St. Augustine Prep, I sometimes wonder how I became class president. Though I occasionally lead Catholic prayer at school, I do not fit the mold for a
“typical” St. Augustine Prep student. But as I began to think of what a “typical Prep student” entailed, I realized there was no such thing. We all had unique perspectives of our community—culturally, religiously, socioeconomically—and that was what made our community so special. These differences add vibrancy and perspective to our community, challenging us to understand each other’s viewpoints and reformulate our own opinions. However, along with these differences, we all still share an important commonality: the Augustinian values of truth, unity, and love. It is the ability of these values to transcend any barrier or difference we may have that truly allows us to take part in such a strong and thought-provoking community.