The Monterey Peninsula is dotted with places of worship. There is plenty of religious diversity in the local community, and many of those churchgoers attend Carmel High School.
Though CHS has only one religion-affiliated organization on campus, the Federation of Christian Athletes, starting up similar clubs remains a flexible option. According to the Federal Equal Access Act, religious clubs may hold meetings on a public high school’s grounds as long as other relevant non-curriculum-related student groups are allowed to meet during non-instructional time.
In addition, the club cannot interfere with regular educational activities and the school cannot initiate, direct, sponsor, participate in or promote the religion during instructional time.
Though some may not notice, there is a diverse array of followers walking about CHS.
Senior Cassidy Satow attends the Monterey Peninsula Buddhist Temple in Seaside most Sundays. Her favorite memories involving the temple include hosting the summer Obon Festival which includes food, dancing, arts and crafts and martial arts.
“I like how my religion is open-minded, and you’re free to do whatever you want, legally you know,” Satow says. “I like how it’s very simple and all about helping others.”
Senior Sara Abdalla is a practicing Muslim. She attends a Mosque in Seaside, but notes that there is little unity among Muslims at CHS. Going to Mosque also proves difficult due to timing.
“I don’t go all the time because the usual time to go is Friday but we have school,” Abdalla says, “so I guess we go when we don’t have school.”
Kaden Coombs is a senior and active Mormon in the community. He attends the Church of Latter Day Saints in Monterey. Coombs claims that there are about 10 to 15 fellow Mormons at CHS.
“The best part about our religion is that it’s one of the most forgiving religions in the world,” Coombs says. “We don’t really have any punishment besides your own guilt. No matter what happens you will never be shunned away.”
Sophomore Terak Hornik is a devout Jew who prays at the Congregation Beth Israel in Carmel Valley. Hornik says going on youth group trips is his favorite activity with the temple.
Evan Patel, a sophomore, is a Hindu who occasionally attends a temple in the Bay Area where his grandparents live. Patel notes that an aspect of the religion he enjoys is that he can easily relate to those who practice alongside.
“There are not that many Hindu people here, but when I go up there I can connect with people a lot more,” Patel says.
Carmel High is a public school without classes on religion; however, if one asks around, there is plenty to learn about the local significance of a wide variety of religions that span across the globe.