Students express religion through accessories

Students display beliefs through wearing religious items at school

Faith can be expressed through having or wearing something that represents a religion. For these three students, these items serve as a symbol of their values and a reminder of their beliefs.

Kaitlyn Fisher

Kaitlyn Fisher wears a ring with the bible verse “The Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9). A gift from her father, she has worn the ring every day since the sixth grade.

Riley Boehle
Given to her by her father, Kaitlyn Fisher wears a ring inscribed with a Bible verse: “The Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).

“It was around the time my parents were getting divorced,” said Fisher. “My father gave it to me on Valentine’s day, and it was basically to represent how we’re always going to be together even if we’re not physically together. It’s just a reminder that he’s always there.”

The ring acts as a reminder that her dad is there, even when she’s with her mom. The ring symbolizes her dad’s constant presence in spirit.

“It represents that God is with me wherever I go, and my Dad is with me wherever I go,” Fisher said.

Fisher is comfortable being open about and discussing her religion with others at school. By talking to her peers about their beliefs, she has a better perception as to why someone might believe something else.

“Most of my friends are pretty open about their religion,” Fisher said. “It’s cool hearing other people’s point of view, and I think it makes me a better person because of it. I have a broader understanding of things.”

Sara Pavlyak

Since she was a child, Sara Pavlyak has worn her rosary bead bracelet as a representation of her Christian values. It reminds her of Mary, Jesus’ mom, who is very inspirational to her.

“For me, Mary is a relatable person,” Pavlyak said. “It was really cool that she was here and so obedient. Thinking about that helps me realize that I’m not in control, and if Mary could do this than I can be a person similar to her.”

Riley Boehle
As an expression of her individual faith, Sara Pavlyak wears a rosary bracelet representing her Christian values.

She sometimes has a hard time displaying her beliefs at school, but has recently gotten more comfortable, realizing that her values are accepted among her community. Pavlyak enjoys making connections with people who have the same ideas as her.

“I’ve realized that it’s okay if not everybody agrees with me, but it’s really cool to make a connection with the people who do,” said Pavlyak. ”I think I’ve found it to be easier over time.”

Pavlyak was raised into her faith, sharing it with the majority of her family. She feels others accuse her of adopting her religion only because of her parents, however, she’s taken her religion into her own hands and has developed her own individual beliefs.

“I grew up believing and I think there’s a lot of stigma around [religion],” Pavlyak said. “But luckily I’ve been able to take it as my own and form an actual relationship with the Lord, which is really cool and is something that is very unearthly.”

Sivani Badrivenkata

A traditional symbol of her religion, Sivani Badrivenkata wears a bindi—a mark worn in the middle of the forehead by Hindu women.

“It’s traditionally worn by married women and symbolizes a three eye, intuition, and has become a custom,” Badrivenkata said.

Following a traditional custom, Sivani Badrivenkata wears a bindi to express her Hindu faith.

Growing up in a religious household, her faith in Hinduism comes from the practices of her parents. Having followed her faith from such a young age, Badrivenkata has come to feel that the bindi is a mark of her identity.

“My religion is just something that I grew up with because my family practices it,” Badrivenkata said. “I think for the most part I have a sense of belonging in my own family. I’m able to engage with them and at religious festivals or activities when they come around. It’s just a time to be with my family” 

She participates in religious festivals such as Diwali, Hindu independence day, and Holi as a celebration of her commitment to Hinduism.

“There’s a temple in Shawnee that organizes lots of community activities for people interested in Hinduism or want to know more about it,” Badrivenkata said.

She’s comfortable with expressing her religion around her peers and is open to engaging in conversations about Hinduism at school if someone wants to learn about it. 

“I’ve never had problems with [sharing my religion] before; if someone wants to know then I’m comfortable talking about it,” Badrivenkata said.