Celebrating Walks of Life Through World Religions


Photo by Sophia Menard

The outside of the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, were the World Religions class recently took a field trip.

Inspired by her love of teaching the religions unit in her World History and Honors World History classes, Mrs. Cora Stout has started a semester-long class completely dedicated to the topic. She hopes to help students gain a better understanding of each other, and the world around them through learning about religion.

“I feel like the more that people learn about others, that often is good for community building, and understanding each other, and just leads to positive things.” Stout explains. “Students, I think, feel more like they understand how religious beliefs impact their lives more than they understand how history impacts their lives.” 

Over the course of teaching this class, Mrs. Stout has found that her hope of creating community is coming to fruition.

“It was a striking experience for me to have two different parent conferences, one in which I had the parent of a Christan student of mine, and then later that night I had a parent of a Muslim student of mine say the same thing to me, that their student was really interested in that class, and was so surprised about some of the similarities of Christianity and Islam that they didn’t know about.” 

The World Religions class is available once a year during first semester. Students who choose this elective can look forward to in depth lessons that go beyond what Stout has time to teach in her regular classes. Not only that, but students can go on a one day field trip to two places of worship. This semester, Stout is taking her class to the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, and the Hindu Temple of Saint Louis. 

“Most sophomores will at some point take the World History or Honors World History class, so the difference between the religions unit in that class, versus this semester long religions class, is we go into more depth of course, and then I have a guest speaker series. And the last part of the semester is research based, so students get to do projects about topics that they choose.” Stout elaborates.

“I do encourage students to sign up for it on scheduling in February if they’re interested in the class, because it will only run if enough people sign up for it. My goal is, I would love to be able to have two sections of the class, so I can have first semester and second semester classes.”

If you’re interested in learning more about the religious perspectives of other students, and those outside of Mehlville, World Religions is a wonderful start, with one or more guest speakers from each religion in the curriculum, and a field trip to admire the monuments of other walks of life.