Religion at Gig Harbor High School

Religion at Gig Harbor High School

According to, 35.8% of people living in Gig Harbor, Washington are religious. Our town is scattered with many different types of churches, and a large portion of students at our school attend a religious service. So what impact does it have on Gig Harbor High School? What does religion do to change the world around those who practice it?

A study at Harvard claimed that “…Faith has in reality provided many people with a compelling sense of purpose and belonging throughout history, and continues to do so today. Particularly in light of the rising centrality of mental health on college campuses, the intersection of faith and meaning is particularly important to examine.” While the study was done on a college campus, the results also apply to our school. Jordan Milovac (10), a Christian who attends New Life and Believers Fellowship churches explained, “My whole family and I are really big Christians, and that’s a big thing in our lives. It makes me feel a lot better about myself when I let Jesus into my life, like I’m not fighting my battles alone.” David Rogers (11) said, “It impacts overall how I live, what I value, and what I spend my time doing. When I’m not doing school stuff, a lot of it is religion-based, like praying and attending church and that kind of thing. It also gives me a purpose in life, something to strive for.” Both these students agree that life is more enjoyable when they incorporate their religion into their daily lives, but what exactly does it do to impact how they live?

A New York Times article about religion and its effects on adolescent education cited, “Among those raised in the working class, 21 percent of religious teenagers brought home report cards filled with A’s, compared with 9 percent of their less-religious peers.” Benton Huish (9), a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints explained that in terms of academics, “It helps me to keep going, and to not give up, and just to try and do my best.” Another student, Sofia Simmonds (11), is a Christian who goes to Believers Fellowship. She said, “It motivates me to work at everything with all of my heart as if I’m working for the Lord and not just for me, because that’s ultimately what the Lord wants me to do. He’s given me so much so I’m going to work at this quite hard, which is just a good mindset to have.”

Rogers, who attends St. Nicholas Catholic Parish stated, “I think it gives me different views than a lot of people at the school, which creates diversity. It creates a lot of open discussion, especially in high school when not a lot of people know who they are, it creates options for people to learn about other things.” Religion has assisted students in fostering friendships throughout Gig Harbor. Huish expressed, “It makes me want to help others and I try to look for people who need help and how I can serve them. I think it adds a diverse community, because there’s different religions, and it can help people connect with other people.”

However, despite the wonderful things that all these students mentioned about religion, there were several comments about how it caused them to be judged by other people in their school community. Milovac stated, “Sometimes people don’t really accept me and my brother because of the religion that we’re in, because some people don’t agree with that and that can make it hard to make friends sometimes.” Additionally, Rogers agreed, “It creates grounds for a lot of people to be judgemental. but as a Christian, and especially as a Catholic, I’m called to be non-judgemental and be open to other people.”

At Gig Harbor High School, the student body comes from different religious backgrounds. Giving them strength and hope in their lives, religion fosters a community of love and support for everyone as they live according to the beliefs that they hold, helping them to connect with other people. In a world that is chaotic and confusing, attending church services and living religiously gives many students help and purpose, providing them with navigation throughout their lives.