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Trips to helps students learn about different faiths

In a time when many stereotypes are being formulated about religious groups, one class of students is attempting to break barriers and understand different cultures at Glenbard North High School in Carol Stream.

The high school's humanities honors class is taking a religious field trip Oct. 17 with a goal of learning about different cultures and customs. Accompanying the students are humanities teachers Meggan Forbes and Jim Roberts.

Seniors are invited to take the humanities honors class that focuses on civilizations, art, cultures, religions and their connections. This field trip is an extension of what they have already studied in the classroom.

"The students have been studying religions and cultures for the past few weeks," Roberts said. "Now they will be able to bring the classroom alive through this experience."

During the trip, the students will spend the day traveling to three different religious buildings, touring the structures and the grounds as well as taking time to meet some leaders of the religion. They will also learn how different religions practice their faith.

The first stop on the trip is to the Congregation Beth Shalom, a Jewish synagogue located in Northbrook, where the students will meet with Rabbi Adam Wohlberg to have their questions answered.

"I'm looking forward to getting the opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the Jewish faith and the Torah, (the Jewish bible)," said senior Ankita Sheth of Glendale Heights.

From there, the students will travel to the Islamic Cultural Center, also in Northbrook, and meet with Imam Senad Agic. For many students, this will be their first experience learning about the Islamic faith.

"I'm most looking forward to seeing the mosque because that's the religion I know the least about," said senior Meaghan Bychowski of Carol Stream. "I hope it expands what I learned about the faith in class."

The final stop on the students' journey is the Baha'I Temple in Wilmette. This building is well known for its magnificent architecture and gardens. There is only one temple of this type on each continent, which makes the experience even more unique.

"I have heard that the Baha'I Temple was fascinating. I'm really looking forward to seeing that," said senior Ross Donovan of Carol Stream.

The main purpose of this field trip is to expand the students' understanding of other cultures and their religious beliefs. Roberts and Forbes hope that the experience will show the students different aspects of other cultures. Through this, the students will be able to understand and appreciate the diversities of religions.

"We are trying to send a message to the different traditions," Roberts said. "We are willing to come and learn as much as we can about them."

The students mirror Roberts' belief. Many of them consider learning about other religions extremely important, especially in times like these.

"The more people learn about other religions, the less ignorance and intolerance there will be in the world," Bychowski said.

©Copyright 2001, Chicago Daily Herald

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