Pallotti has changed me in ways I can’t express. I’ve met people that I want to be in my life forever. The friendships I’ve made have shaped me into the person I am today.
I wasn’t very religious before I came to Pallotti, but when my parents were looking for a high school, they wanted me to step outside the public school circle and into a more religious one that would bring me closer to God and my faith. Personally, I believe Pallotti religious education hasn’t changed my religious formation in the way I thought or expected it to.
My father is Catholic and growing up, that is what my parents tried to teach me. However, my mother’s mother is Lutheran and she thought it was the best idea for me to grow up Lutheran. So growing up, church was more about which service was closest given the time we were ready. One Christmas, we would go to my dad’s Catholic mass and another year we would go to my grandmother’s Lutheran service. I didn’t notice the similarities until freshman year when I was being confirmed at the Lutheran Church of St. Andrew. The things I was learning in my religion class were the same things I was learning in confirmation class. I also realized that the services were very similar. Yes, I did disagree with some of the things that were taught, but that could be said about anything.
As a freshman, I was afraid to speak up about the things I disagreed with because I was afraid of being condemned or penalized for my disagreement. As I got older and went through my classes, I realized it was the complete opposite. The things my father would teach me about weren’t taught in the same way as my teachers. My father had a harsher and more forceful tone. Pallotti expressed a gentler tone and approach to the Catholic teachings. I think because I was jumping between Catholic and Lutheran, and that they were practically the same thing, it didn’t really seem like an eye-opening blissful experience. My Pallotti religion classes were just like additional confirmation classes except it was mandatory and it was every day.
Writing this piece, knowing it is the last one I’ll ever write as a Palotti student, actually hurts a little bit. After my junior year, I was skeptical about what senior year had in store for me. I won’t say I had a bad junior religion teacher, but I don’t think it was the best I could’ve had. There’re still some holes in my beliefs and blank spaces in my brain where I feel like there shouldn’t be.
Lastly, in my high school experience, I was discovering my true self and who I wanted to be and to be fair, junior year really made me step further and further away from Catholicism. I almost wanted nothing to do with it. It made me feel like freshman Cy all over again: afraid to be who I was, and afraid that God would hate me. That there was something mentally, physically, and emotionally wrong with me. I felt stuck because I felt like there was nothing I could do to change it. I really liked the fact that my senior ethics wasn’t all about church and praying. There was a combination of real-world problems and situations. There was also a free space for interpretation. It was okay to disagree and just because you did didn’t make you any different. I wouldn’t change anything about senior year. It was a relief and well worth the wait.