By Christina van Waasbergen
Yesterday’s opening ceremony began with a invocation in which Noelle Mitchell, the Youth Chief Justice, asked God to watch over the conference and make sure everyone has an enjoyable time. The convocation did not mention a specific religion and simply referenced “God,” but it was explicitly religious.
Many people found it to be an appropriate way to open the ceremony. “[The invocation] was inspiring,” said Aaron Harris, a plaintiff and defendant. “Since this is my first time here, it gave me a boost of confidence.”
Ana Nunez, an attorney, said that she has non-religious friends who seemed to feel “awkward” during the invocation, but that she personally enjoyed it. “You don’t have participate in it – you’re not forced to,” Nunez said. “I think you just have to respect everyone else’s differences.”
Roxanne Lapointe, an advisor for Cedar Creek High School, thinks the invocation was inclusive to all. “Sometimes I know that people feel it’s unnecessary, but sometimes it also gives you the opportunity to think about your own beliefs and where you situate how you feel,” Lapointe said.
However, she believes it could have been done better.
“I would say they could probably add more things where students, advisors and everyone here have an opportunity where they can think about what they want to accomplish in reference to the higher powers that they maybe believe in.”
CORRECTION: This story was originally printed with the word convocation. We’ve changed all instances of convocation with invocation.