Students celebrate at school
A deep respect for difference is a way of life at Woodward Academy. Our students and faculty bring a variety of races, cultures, ethnicities, and learning styles as well as the beautiful differences of their various religious faiths.
Woodward offers many avenues for students to honor their traditions and share them with classmates from other faiths. Every step of the way, from pre-K to 12th grade, students can grow together spiritually.
In pre-K to sixth grade, students learn from Upper School interfaith student leaders who mentor them and teach them about holidays and culture. Our younger students can join interfaith clubs where they can share their faith and learn about others. In Middle School, we support students as they prepare for their Bat and Bar Mitzvahs and other landmark faith celebrations, and as they further discover their own relationship to religion. Seventh and eighth graders can join a variety of faith-based clubs and activities.
In Upper School, Woodward offers a Comparative Religions course as well as a Multicultural, Ethnic, and Diversity Studies course, both of which expand our students’ academic understanding of different faith traditions, their cultures, and their histories. Additionally, many students choose to explore religion through our different clubs. Our Chaplain’s Council is the religious leadership group on campus and plans and executes religious celebrations and opportunities for interfaith learning and prayer across campus. The Fellowship of Christian Athletes builds community learning and action at the intersection of the Christian faith and athletics. The Muslim Awareness Club brings Muslim traditions, cultures, and faith to Woodward and creates a space for Muslim students and those interested to gather and celebrate. Yad B’Yad offers an opportunity to learn about or deepen connections to Judaism; share in Jewish culture, faith, and issues; and bring Jewish traditions and celebrations to life on Woodward’s campus. The Catholic Identity Club is for all those who wish to share, learn, and discuss Catholicism and related issues, and our Hindu Cultural Association offers a space for Hindu students and those interested in Hinduism to learn, build community, and bring Hindu culture and traditions to life on campus.
As a school, we also make time to come together for interfaith field trips, discussion, education, and celebration. When events happen in our community or the broader world that are worthy of deep communal contemplation, we come together for interfaith prayer and reflection.
Throughout the month of December, students in our community celebrate all different traditions, including:
Advent and Christmas
The first Sunday of Advent begins the period of preparation for Christmas, as one candle is lit each week to represent hope, joy, peace, and love.
The Festival of Lights commemorates the rededication of the Temple of Jerusalem and the Miracle of the Oil in the Jewish tradition. Our students
Celebrated by many North Americans of West African descent, this holiday recognizes African heritage. The candles of a seven-branched candelabrum, representing attributes such as unity, self-determination, responsibility, and cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith, are successively lit over the seven days of the festival.
We bring these traditions and others including, Islamic and Hindu traditions and celebrations, together through interfaith prayer services, school-wide announcements, history and cultural learning projects, and our annual holiday concert.