A sanctuary at school: Chargers embrace their faith in religious clubs

Aditya Potharlanka, Staff Writer

With Chantilly hosting a diverse variety of students, there are a number of clubs that promote both social and religious activities. The Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Jewish Student Association (JSA) and Muslim Student Association (MSA) welcome students of all faiths by offering a variety of events and meetings to help students find a community within the school and learn about new aspects of their peers.


Fellowship of Christian Athletes:

FCA members sophomore Sara Jung and juniors Isiah Rodriguez, Katrina Amos and Damien Anderson solve the human knot game at a club meeting.

FCA meets on the first Charger Time every week in physical education teacher Carmen Wise’s room.

“FCA is about teaching the beginnings of Christianity to help our club members understand it,” senior Patrick Mountcastle said. “It’s the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, but you don’t have to be a Christian or an athlete to join.”

FCA provides an environment for students to meet new people who share not only beliefs, butalso extracurricular interests. These commonalities allow meetings to offer guidance to athletes in their daily lives.

“We play games and get a message from one of our leaders to help us get through the week,” sophomore Ames Kweon said. “I really like the people in it; they are nice and we just have a good time.”

This club involves team building activities like the human knot game to help people bond, and members encourage each other while sharing stories.

“You get a lot of friend groups coming in who are open for other people to talk,” Mountcastle said. “It’s a very friendly environment where you can get to know a lot of people from different grades. You get to know a lot of people personally, you share your thoughts, and it’s really helpful to have a group of people there to be able to talk to them not only about your problems, but also be able to listen to theirs.”


Jewish Student Association:

JSA members senior Molly Marsh, sophomore Nitish Kommoju, seniors Madeleine LeBeau and Alex Yee and sponsor Stacey Kenkeremeth partisipate in activities.

JSA, led by senior Madeleine LeBeau, usually meets in Latin teacher Stacey Kenkeremeth’s room, Mod 25, on either Monday or Wednesday after school, depending on the week. They also have several meetings at leaders’ houses centered around traditional Jewish holidays.

“Every Hanukkah season, we have a Hanukkah party where we roll candles for lighting the menorah or the hanukkiah,” LeBeau said.

JSA gives students of all faiths opportunities to learn about Jewish culture by providing experiences celebrating Jewish holidays at regular club meetings.

“The club is an organization that helps educate people who are not Jewish, myself, on what the religion is about,” senior Alex Yee said. “It helps provide a community to meet, share their culture, beliefs and have an atmosphere to express that.”

The members encourage anyone who is interested in learning about Judaism to join.

“People of all faiths come to our meetings and we discuss Judaism, holidays, food and other traditions,” LeBeau said. “Everyone is welcoming, kind and eager to learn.”


Muslim Student Association:

MSA members listen to guest speaker Sheikh Khan during a meeting. Gatherings deal with topics related to the community.

MSA, led by senior Abdelrahman Osman, meets after school every Friday in English teacher Mike Murphy’s room.

“MSA usually consists of a small prayer in the beginning, then we have discussions and we bring in guest speakers,” Osman said.

The events involving other schools hosted by the club give members opportunities to learn new concepts that they can integrate into meetings.

“The clubs in the D.C. area get together every spring,” Osman said. “Around April, we do Scholastic Competitions, where students from all chapters in the metropolitan area come together and compete in different things like digital input technology.”

MSA encourages members to have discussions about ethical and moral problems in our country and what we can do as a community.

“We talk about how we can get better as a community,” Osman said. “Most people don’t know what being Muslim in America might look like. I might see MSA as a place where I can hang out every Friday, but someone else may see it as a haven.”