Marymount of Santa Barbara celebrated fifth grader Andrew Giller as he received the first Debbi David Kaleidoscope Award. The award honors departing Head of School Deborah David, who spearheaded the school’s nationally and internationally recognized world religions curriculum known as the Kaleidoscope Program.
Originally founded in 1938 as a Catholic girls’ school, today Marymount is an independent coeducational school for students in Junior Kindergarten through eighth grade. Marymount upholds its founders’ commitment to character, community service, and religious literacy, but now that mission is largely accomplished through the innovative Kaleidoscope Program.
During her five-year tenure as Head of School, Mrs. David worked in conjunction with University of California at Santa Barbara’s Religious Studies Department to mold a curriculum that focuses on ethical development and cultural tolerance. “Kaleidoscope has evolved and flourished more than I could imagined,” said Mrs. David, “nurturing the spiritual lives of our children and teens through the comparative study of the ten major world religions.”
Kaleidoscope draws on the diverse faith traditions of Marymount families and faculty and reaches out to the larger Santa Barbara community. We welcome dynamic speakers to our classrooms as well as visit area synagogues, temples, churches, and faith-based community centers. Imam Yama Niazi of the Islamic Society of Santa Barbara appreciated the opportunity for interfaith collaboration, “The need to understand and engage one another is more needed now than ever, and this is a wonderful thing that Marymount is doing!”
Andrew was presented the Debbi David Kaleidoscope Award because he embodies the seven qualities of character common to all religions and explored in the Kaleidoscope curriculum: courage, justice, loyalty, respect, hope, honesty, and love. An excellent student and talented athlete, Andrew brings enthusiasm and a caring spirit to the classroom and to the playing field every day. Each spring the award will be given to an elementary school student who consistently demonstrates these universal values.
“When I read the criteria faculty developed for this award, I could think of no higher honor for a student and no better way to continue to honor Debbi David and her incredible service to Marymount,” noted Board President Kristin Linehan.