|Al-Qalam Celebrates HS Graduation|
|Community News - Community News|
|Written by Administrator|
|Monday, 02 July 2007 14:54|
Al-Qalam Celebrates HS Graduation
By Farkhunda Ali
The valedictorian is making last minute edits to her speech. Behind the stage is a line of anxious girls waiting for this moment for four years. Everyone is well-groomed in their elegant dresses underneath their gowns. All graduates are wearing their traditional head covering under their caps.
While the girls giggle and whisper to each other, they anxiously wait for their name to be called. They go to the stage, accept their degree, and shed some tears of happiness.
Approximately 300 people attended the 4th Annual graduation of the Al-Qalam Academy at the Comfort Inn Hotel in Springfield, Virginia on June 14th, 2007 from 6PM-8PM.
According to the director of Al-Qalam, this is their largest high school graduating class, comprising of nine students.
Al-Qalam is an all girl Islamic school from grades 5th-12th based on Fairfax County standards. The school started in 1997 by some community members of Al-Huda Masjid in Springfield, VA.
The objective of the school was to provide an alternate education to Muslim children based on Islamic principles. Al-Qalam’s curriculum includes secular subjects such as math, science, history, English as well as Islamic and Quranic studies.
The keynote address was given by Sulaiman Jalloh, a well known member of the DC Metro Muslim community. Jalloh reminded the graduating class to utilize the skills and knowledge acquired in the Islamic environment to implement in the college environment.
Jalloh emphasized that Muslims must be shinning examples of the message of Islam and stand firmly as productive members of society wherever they choose to make their future. He said Muslim leaders need to start thinking about initiating the ground works for an “Al-Qalam” university and expand Islamic higher education.
“Not only are our Muslim children getting worldly knowledge, but they are also getting the knowledge that will take them to Jannah in Islamic institutions,” said Jalloh.
Al-Qalam graduates shared positive comments about their experiences at the school. Although each student had her individual struggle, all said the school staff was very supportive and understanding
“I’m a little sad to see them go. However, I’m excited for them to start a new beginning in their life. I hope they will utilize the Islamic values that have been instilled in them through our curriculum in their future,” said Reshma Shaikh, Al-Qalam’s Islamic studies teacher for grades 8th-10th.
It was hard to tell whether it was a farewell or a re-union. All graduates stood closely with their teachers not wanting to let go of one another. The teachers and graduates hugged and shed tears remembering some of their most difficult times. The crowd was happy. At the same, time, they were sad to have to say “good-bye.”
“I feel so good. I’m going to miss the school and my teachers,” said Sehrish Ayubi, a high school graduate. Ayubi’s future plans are still undecided.
“I loved this school. The teachers are great. I think I’ve learned well, especially about Islam. I believe Al-Qalam has prepared me for the future,” said Ikhlas Ashkar, a high school graduate. Ashkar plans to travel overseas for a few months this summer before planning for her future.
The valedictorian was honored for her excellence in secular and Islamic education. Mira Iqbal, this year’s valedictorian, was recognized for her ability to tackle challenges in the most difficult times. Iqbal will be attending George Mason University (GMU) in Fairfax, Virginia in the fall.
In her valedictorian speech, Iqbal thanked her teachers and parents for instilling the Islamic values that will help her make righteous decisions in her future. Also, she invited other Muslim girls to attend the school and experience the Islamic excellence she believes the school offers.
“We are very proud of Iqbal and her eloquent speech. In general, I’m excited for the entire graduating class,” said Zarmina Hotaki, principal of Al-Qalam.
Parents and graduates met after the graduation ceremony and enjoyed refreshments together. Some immediately received their gifts while others were glad to get a peck on the cheek.
“I’ve seen a tremendous change in my daughter’s character since she started Al-Qalam. I’m proud to say my daughter graduated from an Islamic high school,” said Mariam Yousif, a mother of one of the high school graduates. “The difference between an Islamic school and public school is like from the sky to the ground.”
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