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posted: Sun, Mar 31st, 2019

Pinning down a record: 104 career wrestling wins for Davidson

Jayvon Davidson may have only been wrestling since his freshman year of high school, but he has been on the varsity wrestling team at MOHS all four years, culminating in a record-breaking senior year.

Davidson said, "I like that not only is wrestling a team sport, it's individual as well. You go out and every match, win or lose, you are in control of how that match plays out."

Concluding the wrestling season, Davidson ended his high school wrestling career with a record of 104 wins and only 29 losses. He won the Morris County wrestling tournament for the second year in a row, which he said was a huge accomplishment for him.

Davidson was a 3-time district champ, 2-time Morris County Champ, a Region Two runner-up, and placed 5th at the NJSIAA state competition, one of the best finishes in school history. Coach Smythe is proud of all of Davidson's accomplishments.

Davidson hopes to continue wrestling in college and has looked into multiple programs. He is hoping to find a school with a good wrestling program and his desired majors of Criminal Justice, Psychology, or Audio Engineering.

One day, Davidson hopes to come full circle, coaching wrestling for the next generation of student athletes.

He said that wrestling has taught him "willpower, determination, how to handle a loss, and how to handle stress. Wrestling shapes a person's character."

Congratulations to Davidson and the entire wrestling team on an outstanding season!

AP World History class gets a taste of Hindu culture and architecture

The AP World History students recently took a trip to the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir located in Robbinsville, NJ, where they were able to make connections to their curriculum, while studying the exquisite architecture of the temple.

Mr. Gray Taylor, AP World History teacher, said the class had previously studied Hinduism, so this excursion "was a real-life exploration of what we studied in class."

More than just a field trip, the experience was a cultural immersion in the Swaminarayan sect of the Hindu religion and culture. The students were welcomed by hosts and guides and were then able to watch the arti and abhishek rituals.

As described by the Mandir, "One of the highlights of a visit to the Mandir is to witness the midday arti ceremony performed daily at 11:30 AM. It is an ancient Hindu offering made by waving lighted wicks before the sacred images to the accompaniment of a musical prayer. Many visitors have described the experience as awe-inspiring."

The Mandir also described the abhishek ritual (pictured below) as a separate ceremony "performed by gently pouring water over the murti, as an offering; it is an expression of reverence and a prayer for spiritual progress, peace, and fulfillment of wishes."

Throughout the visit, the students attended a lecture, participated in a Q&A session, watched a film about the building of the temple, toured the building, observed the rituals, and ate some Indian food on site which they had prepared for the group.

The construction of the center is a massive project engineered to last 1000 years. One of the buildings is finished, and two more are under construction in the complex. This Mandir temple is one of the largest in the world. The entire structure is made out of Italian marble that was shipped to India where the blocks were hand-carved by trained artisans. The marble pieces were then shipped to Robbinsville where they were assembled.

The temple is inside a bigger building to protect from the harsh nature of the NJ climate so it will protect the marble and allow the building to last.

Daniel Folenta, an MOHS student who attended the trip, was in awe of the opulence of the temple. He said, "The inner temple, known as mandir, is just about the most impressive thing I have ever seen. This building was entirely made of marble with geothermal heating in the marble floors. The walls of the temple had ornate carvings of symbolic figures in Hinduism on every square foot of wall and ceiling."

Folenta was able to make many comparisons and contrasts between Hinduism and Western religion, solidifying much of what he learned in AP World History.
Jillian DiMonda, another student who attended the trip, echoed similar sentiments. In addition to marveling at the architecture, she said, "The best way to describe this trip was that it was not what I expected. When you walked into the building, the Mandir was a beautiful structure made out of only marble. I was able to gain a newfound appreciation for the religion by touring the place of worship."

Mr. Taylor explained that the AP World History class usually takes a field trip each year, but it's often to a museum. This is the first time the students have visited the Mandir. He went on to say, "In general it's valuable in education any time you can experience something you're learning about. You go and see the actual thing and people involved in it and it makes it real to you. We have a lot of people who are practicing Hindus in MOHS, NJ, and the US, so it's great to experience their culture."

Mount Olive High School
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