Trust and Belonging: Building Bridges with BYU Visitors

June 3, 2024  •  Author: marketing

Essential Pillars: Trust and Belonging

Trust and belonging are fundamental human needs that shape our experiences in life.

Trust allows us to feel safe and secure, fostering open communication and collaboration. We can be vulnerable, knowing that others will act with our best interests in mind. 

Belonging provides a sense of connection and acceptance, giving us the confidence to explore, learn, and grow. In educational settings, trust and belonging are essential for student success and well-being. Students who feel trusted and valued are more likely to be engaged, motivated, and resilient.

BYU Visitors Share Insights on Trust and Belonging

A group of Brigham Young University (BYU) visitors, including Moises Aguirre, Pam Hallam, Sam Brown, Kendra Hall, Max Hall, Hannah Shumway, and Adelyn Brown, recently came to Cumorah Academy with a mission to learn and connect.

The BYU team aimed to understand the thoughts and experiences of Cumorah Academy students on trust and belonging. 

Through interviews with an average of 8 students each, they sought valuable insights for Moises’ dissertation research in Educational Leadership and Foundations.

A Shared Foundation in Gospel Principles

Cumorah Academy’s mission to educate students based on the gospel of Jesus Christ resonated with the BYU visitors. Hannah Shumway’s firsthand experience serving a mission in the Czech Republic and her knowledge

of Cumorah Academy sparked the group’s interest in interacting with the student body and administrators.

Learning and Inspiration Flowed Freely

The BYU visitors were deeply impressed by the students they met. They highlighted the:

  • Strong faith in Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father, as observed by Moises.
  • Sense of belonging within the Cumorah Academy community. “I felt a strong sense of belonging at Cumorah Academy and they want others to feel belonging with them,” Moises shared in his notes.
  • Confidence and self-trust foster a sense of belonging, regardless of location or circumstance.

In asking Moises what the BYU visitors learned in the study, he said:

“We learned that students at Cumorah Academy, first and foremost, trust their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We learned that they love their Heavenly Father and want to prepare themselves to serve His children; We learned that they feel a strong sense of belonging at Cumorah Academy and they want others to feel belonging with them.

We learned that they trust others when they feel embraced and loved. We learned that many feel that having personal trust and self-confidence influences our sense of belonging regardless of where we are and the circumstances. We learned that students at Cumorah Academy feel very grateful for the opportunity to be there and value every aspect of their experience.”

A Testimony Meeting Filled Hearts

The BYU visitors cherished the opportunity to participate in a Cumorah Academy testimony meeting during church, finding it spiritually strengthening and motivating.

Moises also said, “We had a lovely experience with everyone we interacted with at Cumorah Academy. The moment we walked in, we were welcomed by Geovanni, and we felt the beautiful spirit that exists at Cumorah Academy. Learning from the students was outstanding and learning about them and their stories was very moving and empowering to know the world has amazing leaders in the making. We loved the testimony meeting. It was so spiritually strengthening and motivating. We felt grateful we got to enjoy that moment with all of you.” 

A Lasting Impression

The visit left a lasting impression on both sides. The BYU visitors expressed a desire to stay longer and become more involved with Cumorah Academy. They were particularly impressed by the:

  • The caliber of the students.
  • Dedication and love displayed by the staff.

Cumorah’s Impact: Trust, Belonging, and Growth

The BYU visitors were particularly struck by the level of trust and belonging they witnessed at Cumorah Academy. They commended the students for their:

  • Dedication to becoming the best versions of themselves.
  • Tangible and inspiring trust in Heavenly Father.

Student Voices: Trust and Belonging Take Root

Following the interviews, Cumorah Academy students shared their insights on the themes of trust and belonging:

Finding Deeper Understanding: 

Krista from Finland described the interview as “a very nice conversation” that made her “think a little deeper” about her own relationships and how trust develops. “It was interesting because the questions were quite deep but at the same time simple,” she reflected. The conversation helped Krista explore her own understanding of trust and belonging.

“I learned more about myself and how I see trust and belonging. As well as what things help me to trust, and what breaks that trust. Moises was a great interviewer and made it a friendly experience. He cared about the answers and was able to have follow-up questions on the areas or thoughts he found interesting.”

The Power of Belonging:

Andre from Brazil highlighted the impact of belonging on personal success. “During the interview, they explained that they were making a study about how much the people know about trust and belonging. We talked about moments in life when I’ve felt a sense of belonging and trust, and how I can more strongly feel those emotions. We also talked about how can I develop them more.” Andre’s takeaway focused on how belonging can influence achievement in various aspects of life.

Trust Built on Shared Ground:

Amanda from Brazil learned about the connection between trust and shared values. “Pamela asked me questions about trust and a sense of belonging… Trust happens when I believe the other person has the same beliefs I do. Trust is most likely to happen when there is a sense of belonging, something that connects me with someone else, that makes me feel comfortable in trusting them.” Amanda’s conversation explored how shared beliefs can contribute to building trust with others.

Building Bridges, One Conversation at a Time

This visit served as a bridge between BYU and Cumorah Academy, fostering understanding, shared values, and inspiration. The focus on trust and belonging resonated deeply with both communities, leaving a lasting impact on all involved. The students at Cumorah Academy were happy to be involved.

Written by Mack Fontano

Photos by Camila Caraveo

Hi! I’m Mack, the content creator intern at Cumorah Academy for the Spring 2024 semester! I am from Utah in the United States and recently graduated from college in Communications and Digital Marketing. I love reading, writing – especially poetry, and drawing. I collect stickers!

Supervision by Kamila Uberto Fullmer