School Promotes Respect and Understanding Through Educational Initiatives

Ascension Episcopal School
Lafayette, Louisiana – Dec 20, 2023

In a world where the norm is disagreement, Ascension Episcopal School is taking bold steps to foster respect and understanding among its students. Visionary educators introduced initiatives to teach respect, not with a curriculum or textbook, but through experiences that encourage understanding and trust.

One such initiative involves an educational tour around Lafayette parish, allowing high school seniors to appreciate various religious traditions as a part of their Theology II class. This immersive experience not only enriches their understanding of different faiths but also promotes respect for the diverse beliefs of others. The school believes that fostering religious literacy is essential to building a respectful community.
Taylor Trotter, the Christian Studies Department Chair at Ascension Episcopal School, expressed enthusiasm about these initiatives, stating, "Our goal is not just to educate students academically, but to grow informed and empathetic persons who can acknowledge and even appreciate a diverse range of perspectives while also learning how to hold to their own religious convictions in a loving way towards their neighbors. This comparative religions tour was about learning about our neighbors directly from them and growing as people in the process."

Additionally, at the middle school division, Ascension Episcopal School educator Kaedron Hall fosters these same values in his innovative Performing and Artistic Creative Expression (PACE) class. By pairing middle school students up for interviews, Mr. Hall encourages meaningful conversations where students learn about each other's backgrounds, hobbies, and beliefs, promoting empathy and breaking down trust barriers.

“You don’t have to like or even agree with someone, but you can still show respect,” said PACE teacher Kaedron Hall.  “At the beginning of the assignment, the students were not happy with the pairings. I purposefully partnered them with someone they didn’t always see eye to eye with. They struggled, but through consistent coaching and encouragement, they learned to truly listen, think of others’ perspectives, and appreciate that there is more to a person than they initially see.” 

At the conclusion of the PACE class project, students showcase what they've learned about their peers to the entire class by reciting speeches they wrote about their partner. This not only builds public speaking skills but also reinforces the values of respect and understanding. 

“Though it started as a public speaking exercise, it became one of vulnerability, which in turn created trust and ultimately contributed to a more harmonious environment for collaboration. The kids want to work together now and realize that each of them has gifts to share,” said Mr. Hall.

Ascension Episcopal School is committed to providing a holistic education beyond textbooks, preparing students for a globalized world where diversity is valued. Students grow into mature citizens with a mutual understanding and respect for one another so that their lives impact the world. 
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    The Episcopal Church of the Ascension School (Ascension Episcopal School) admits qualified students without regard to race, religion, sexual orientation, or national origin. We are a welcoming community.