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International Day All DAY MDoski 2017

O’Town, the most diverse high school in the state, embraces its many cultures with 2nd Annual Interfaith panel

Today at John Overton High School is International Day. This day is the day the Overton community chooses to embrace and recognize all of the different nationalities and cultures that exist within the school.

There were many different activities held, from traditional dances and foods to cultural music and customs. These are common at most multi-cultural events.

Organizer of the Interfaith Panel, Mr. David Oldham, Latin teacher, John Overton High School. (photo by Meadya Doski International Day 2017)

Overton holds one event throughout the day that is exceptionally different from other school’s similar days.

Because we are blessed to have several teachers who hold degrees in philosophy and religion as well as staff members who are very involved in their own faiths, Overton is able to offer a unique day of panels and seminars where students can listen to a lead discussion and can ask questions about the varieties of faiths that coexist in the Nashville community.

The Faith and Philosophy Panel was held in the auditorium.  The panel consisted of six different faiths and religions. Mr. Oldham was tasked to put the event together. “Last year everything was thrown together last minute, this year will be more organized”.

When asked about their objectives for this panel he stated, “The panel isn’t necessarily six different countries, but it’s different cultures. Our objective is to inform and teach students about different faiths and their perspective on life.”

The Bobcat Beat attended the International Day panel. We enjoyed how each individual expressed their views and made the audience really understand their religion.

In order to prepare for the multi-culturalPanel teachers were given a set of questions to discuss with their classes prior to students attending the panel as well as given articles to share with students to expose students to the differences between the cultures.

There was no “teaching” of any culture, only  exposure to the basic tenets of each culture. Below, presented in alpha order, are the cultures represented at Overton that students learned more about during the panel.


Buddhism  – Arising out of Hinduism, this path was begun by Siddhartha Gautama, a young prince born in 624 in Nepal, who took the title Buddha, meaning “awakened one.” It offers a path to enlightenment attained by meditation and following the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path.

Bahn’í – Founded by Bahá’u’lláh in 19th-century Persia, it has no clergy, but gathers together in democratically-led communities, with more than 5 million practitioners in over 200 countries and territories.

Christianity – Around 2 billion followers trace their faith to Jesus Christ (a Jew who died 2,000 years ago) and hold the belief that He was the son of God who came to earth to die for their sins, as is told in their religious text, the Bible.

Hinduism – The oldest of the world’s religions, this multifaceted faith originated in the Indus River Valley of India holding the belief that one’s good or bad actions (Karma) affect their reincarnation in an eternal cycle called Samsara.

Islam  – Meaning “surrender” or “submission,” this Abrahamic faith has accrued about 1.2 billion followers across the globe, mainly divided into two secs (Sunni & Shi’ite), since Muhammed led its first converts in 620 CE, following the teaching laid out in the Quran.

Judaism– Practitioners of the oldest Abrahamic faith, Jews, follow the teachings laid out with the Torah which they believe was given to Moses after their exodus from Egypt almost three and a half millennia ago.


Basic Questions that opened up the discussions were centered around the below starter questions:


  • What is considered the world’s oldest religion? Where did it begin?
  • Abraham was the founder of which faiths? How might those faiths be similar?
  • What was the order of the three Abrahamic faiths?
  • Which faith believes life is a search for Enlightenment? What do you think that is?
  • Which faith practices in democratically led communities? Why might that be?


Baha’i Faith – Beliefs, Teachings & History
Lapidus, Ira. A History of Islamic Societies (2010). University Press, Cambridge.

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