The Harley School wrapped up 2017 with a celebration of religious diversity at its Candlelight ceremony.
Planning for the event starts at the beginning of the school year when students are polled to determine their religious diversity. Then, one student showcases that unique religious tradition during the event by singing a song, reading a poem or reciting a prayer.
Led by grades 5-12, this year’s event attracted more than 500 parents, alumni and faculty. The event traditionally takes place on the eve of the last day of school before winter break.
“Harley Candlelight provides an opportunity to highlight and observe cultural and religious observances that surround the winter solstice,” said Ivone Foisy, director of admission and advancement. “We embrace rather than shy away from learning about other religious traditions. We come together in this annual tradition before separating for the holidays to remind ourselves that the differences among us are beautiful, respected and appreciated as part of our community.”
Ben Burroughs, performing arts department chairman, said the school has celebrated Candlelight since the 1920s.
“It started out as a re-enactment of a Nativity scene, and it has turned into a celebration of all of the belief systems and religions,” Burroughs said. “The event is woven into the fabric of the school, and is one of the school’s most cherished traditions.”