In recent years, the number of non-Catholic students at McNick has increased. While it is a different experience for each person, these students agree that they feel included and feel that even though they are not Catholic, they still have a voice in their school.
Required theology classes are one of the main areas where non-Catholic students can struggle. Being able to talk and have a voice about what they believe in is important. Students must be able to talk about and voice what they believe in but keeping in mind Catholic teaching since McNick is a Catholic school. There has to be respect for the teachings of the Catholic church.
“I think that all people should be able to share their journey and what they believe in,” Theology teacher Teresa Davis said. “Catholic schools are to educate all people; the more you learn the better off you are, and that all goes back to empathy.”
Educating others about different religions can lead to important discussions and understandings of one another. With the increase of non-Catholic students, inclusion is important to make people feel as they are able to voice their opinions regardless of differences in faith.
Davis added “Condemning the Catholic Church is not allowed; it all has to be done respectfully.” Knowing what others believe and how it is different from others is how it leads to conversations that are formal and valid.
Junior Kylee Freeman said, “I think the school does an exceptional job of making all students feel included. They don’t care about race or religion; they treat us the same which is how it’s supposed to be.” She added that even though she had gone to a Catholic school all her life that she is a practicing Christian. “I was actually baptized into the Catholic religion but before I hit kindergarten my parents switched religions, which means I did to. At my grade school I still was included in [preparation for] first reconciliation and communion I just didn’t end up taking communion.”
Freshman Avery Elliott is still adjusting to McNick as well as what it’s like to be a non-Catholic student. She said the reasons for coming to McNick include “the extracurriculars, my friends, and the location.” She added that it was mostly her parents’ decision to send her to McNick but she said, “I definitely wanted to go”. She added, “Neither of my parents are Catholic but my mom was in the Catholic school system growing up and had a good experience.” Elliott said that hearing about her parents’ experiences at a Catholic school made this transition from going to both a public school to private a little easier.