Students reflect on their religious upbringings


Blot graphic by Ravenna Gemignani

Based on a survey of 51 students from Mar. 23 to Apr. 6, 2020.

Nina Kolodchak

For freshman Anna Siciliano of Ocean Township, the religious upbringing from her early childhood still sticks with her. Siciliano attended Saint Jerome, a Catholic school, from preschool to eighth grade, and says that even though she doesn’t attend a religious school now, the knowledge that she received from her classes remains relevant in her daily life. 

“I still try to hold the ideals that I was taught at my school,” Siciliano said. “I still go to church, I still follow the ten commandments, etc. I think that my experience at a Catholic school was a good foundation and isn’t something that I’m going to forget anytime soon.”

 Like Siciliano, many people around the world hold their own religious values. Others, though, follow more unconventional beliefs. As of April 2019, approximately 23.1% of Americans did not identify themselves with a religion, according to the Washington Post. Fewer people seem to be practicing traditional religions, such as Judaism and Catholicism, to adapt to the modern world, which focuses more on technological and political values. Freshman Mindy Preston of Howell believes that though our generation is more subtle about our beliefs, religion is still something people practice regularly. 

“I don’t think that we’re less religious, I feel like it’s more that we think about religion differently,” Preston said. “My grandma is really religious and I’m not like that. I still believe in a god, but I do it in a more relaxed way. I practice Catholicism, but I don’t need to go to church every week and read the bible to do this.”

This further applies to how younger generations plan to teach their children about their spiritual beliefs. According to a 2018 study from The Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, people who use the internet more frequently are less likely to follow one religion or believe that it is superior to others. This could explain why CHS students, prime users of the internet, plan to be more relaxed with religion when it comes to the next generation. Junior Hannah Arbeitel of Marlboro plans to teach her children about her religion in their early life, but let them make their own decisions as to what they want to believe in as they get older. 

“Even now, I’m definitely still Jewish, but I’m not very strict about religion,” Arbeitel said. “In terms of my kids, I think that I would start them off at a Hebrew school, but as they got older, I would let them make more of their own decisions when it comes to what they want to follow.”