Fifth graders at MVPS enjoyed hosting their counterparts from The Davis Academy, which is recognized as the largest Reform Jewish Day School in the country. For a half day on Mount Vernon’s Founders Campus, students exchanged cultural differences, including the meaning of both Easter and Passover.
The day began in the Church Sanctuary with a special Chapel service, which included a recap of Ms. Struble’s and Mrs. Novoselsky’s experience in Zambia last summer. During their slideshow presentation, Davis students noticed a sign hung in the background of one of the slides — a Bible verse: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit alone, shall we live in peace’. (Zechariah 4:6). Rabbi Micah said the Davis students knew a song based on the verse. Fortunately, they accepted the offer to go to the front of the Chapel to sing it in front of the entire Middle School. Rev. Joe B. Martin concluded the service with a sermon on Easter. He used the fact that the stone block in front of Jesus’ tomb had been moved as a metaphor to discuss the obstacles that block us from other people and God. When he asked students about what these obstacle can be, students’ answers included race, economic status, and political and religious beliefs.
Later, Davis and Mount Vernon fifth graders learned about hunger in America and were paired up to create a healthy meal for 4 people, with a $6.00 budget. Students gained empathy when they saw how difficult it was to make a healthy meal with such a small amount of money. Both schools are holding food drives in April, and some students, including fifth and sixth grade student council members, are participating in other aspects of the Food ’n Fun Festival put on by the Community Action Center.
To conclude the day, all of the students returned to the Sanctuary to watch Mr. Townsend and a few select students portray “The Way of the Cross.” Our student performers put on a mature Tableau Vivant, or moving picture, illustrating Jesus’ journey to the cross, which afforded students and teachers from both schools to discuss the Christian faith along with Jesus’ message and purpose.
The day exemplified exactly what Rev. Martin spoke to in Chapel, as children from different faiths removed the barrier of religious differences. From Mount Vernon’s visit to Davis in the fall to Davis’ visit to Mount Vernon this Spring, children learned about each others’ beliefs, finding similarities –specifically that both Judaism and Christianity teach the importance of helping those in need.