‘This I believe’ essays for Founder’s Day now accepted

By Elizabeth Krupka
February 4, 2010

“This I believe” is a national project compiled of 70,000 different stories based on beliefs. During the Founder’s Day celebrations the Cabrini College community will share their own variations of the “This I believe” project.

The “I believe” essay introduced Cabrini faculty and students to Sister Ursula’s mission by asking students to record their personal beliefs in a narrative. “What is it that you really believe in? We want you to tell your own story, but not in a preachy way,” Amy Persichetti, professor of English, said.

The “I believe” contest is tied very closely with the new Justice Matters curriculum, which was just instituted this fall for all incoming students at the school.

The workshop, which took place on Wednesday, Jan. 27, got participants writing the first drafts of the stories.

This was also a contest that Cabrini extended to people in the neighborhood. Last year Dr. Mary Laver introduced this contest in the Norristown community.

“Sister Ursula had the idea that every action is stemmed from a belief. We start because of beliefs and then we learn to act upon them. That is how it intertwines with the social justice curriculum,” Persichetti said.

The essay was set to have contestants try to analyze what they truly believe in and where the belief came from.

“Last year ECG’s class was intertwined with social justice and they had to complete this essay. It shows the students how to tell stories and how to include more than one voice to make multiple beliefs,” Nancy Watterson, assitant professor of social justice, said.

“This contest is meant for students, faculty and the community to hear a variety of beliefs. It is about what a community believes. Isn’t that what college is about? Students figuring out other people’s beliefs while also learning to work with them, in a classroom, dorm room, or in other on or off-campus activities,” Persichetti said.

“I think that it is a good thing to be a part of this contest. I think it is good for students to see someone around campus getting up and speaking about what they believe. The contest has forced me to really look inside myself and realize things that I haven’t ever before. I guess this contest is making me pay attention to things that I have always looked past,” Genicka Voltaire, senior education major, said.

People who write the essays will then read them during the Founder’s Day ceremony. Not only will the essays be read, but students from other classes will contribute by making radio projects, film slideshows and other forms of media stating their beliefs.

“Our Founder’s Day ‘This I believe’ project is not a contest with ‘winners or losers.’ It’s an open-ended program that invites as many people on campus as possible to participate. Although the program on Tuesday, Feb. 23 can only feature about 12 presenters, we plan to collect and share all of the essays that are submitted for this project by students, faculty, staff and administrators,” Laver said.

Anyone who is willing to write an essay for the 2010 Founder’s Day “This I believe” project, needs to submit a 300- word essay to Dr. Laver in the Wolfington Center by Friday, Feb. 5.

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Elizabeth Krupka

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