A walk in someone else’s sperrys

No one knows how another person lives until they walk a day in their shoes. I had the opportunity to do this, literally. My wardrobe was one of the many adjustments I had to make for shadowing at Bishop Carroll (BC).
First and foremost, school uniforms aren’t as bad as they seem. It is nice to know what you are putting on each day without a single thought. They are also strangely comfortable. Almost everyone at BC wears Sperrys, as they fit into the strict dress code. At BC, there are no tattoos, piercings, long hair cuts (for guys), or any personalization allowed outside of designated spirit days. On game days, the boys are allowed to choose whatever tie or bowtie they want, as long as it is school appropriate.
Carroll was also very undiverse. The number of non-white people was drastically less than at Northwest. It was shocking to be in a school where most of the classes I attended held only white people. Everyone I encountered was very nice, although several Carroll students commented that I may have mistaken fakeness for niceness. Even the teachers were very open and friendly towards me.
The students seem much more connected as a student body there. Everyone seemed to know everyone, and even if someone didn’t like another person, they were still kind to each other. Although our student body doesn’t seem as connected as theirs, we seem to have closer relationships to our teachers. We get to know our teachers and build a mutual understanding of each others’ quirks and form an bond. Most of the students and teachers at Carroll did not seem to interact in the way we interact with our teachers. They are viewed more as strictly a teacher rather than an adult we not only respect and listen to, but can confide in and joke with.
The main difference, as expected, was the religion everywhere you looked. I am a firm believer that religion and school should be separate, so this alone was a culture shock to me. There was praying in every other class, each unique in their own way. They have a religions class that is about the beliefs of the Catholic church. This class was especially hard for me, because my views are inherently different than any religion they affiliate with. I had to bite my tongue and remind myself to always be respectful when presented with views that contradicted my own.
We visited during a Eucharistic Festival, an event where the Eucharist is placed in the middle of the gym and students kneeled and worshiped on carpet mats. There were a few prayers, a few songs, and a lot of time spent self-reflecting in silence. I have never witnessed a gym full of an entire school be completely silent, and that shows the respect these kids have for their religion. Many spent the entire hour of the festival on their knees, and some shed tears from being so touched.
I walked a day in someone else’s Sperrys, and I have learned the everyday life of Catholic school, and as much as I respect the religion and values of the school, I prefer to spend my days at Northwest in my own checkered Vans.