The ISB gymnasium was set-up for the commencement of the first high school graduating class of Al-Rahmah School. Diplomas were presented by ISB President Maqbool Patel to the four graduates dressed in traditional cap and gown. Photos by Salman Sheikh.
On the morning of Saturday June 2, 2012, the Islamic Society of Baltimore presented the first Annual Commencement of Al Rahmah Girls High School at ISB. The venue was filled with students, family, friends and distinguished community members. The commencement was the culmination of 20 years of work by many Muslims from diverse backgrounds.
A project of the Islamic Society of Baltimore, Al-Rahmah School opened in 1987 as an elementary school. The school began adding high school grades a few years ago for girls. The school received accreditation from the Middle States Association Commission on Elementary Schools in 2010.
The keynote speech was given by Master in Chancery Zakia Mahasa from the Circuit Court for Baltimore City. While she addressed the audience, many times during her speech, she would turn to the graduates on stage, giving them very good nasiha (advice) to what lies ahead for many of them.
She compared their graduation to a butterfly leaving the safe sheltered cocoon of an Islamic School and now they were getting their wings and entering the world of trials and temptations in the universities and colleges that lie ahead. She said she has seen over many years, more and more Muslim youth slipping. The one thing she advised was to pause for 10 seconds before making any new decision that could have a lasting effect on their lives. She then stopped her speech and counted in a hushed-tone to 10. The room of 100 plus parents and children was so quiet that you could have heard a pin drop. Then she said make the decision based on the values and upbringing you were raised with by your family and the extension of you family outside your home for 8 hours a day -- your Islamic school.
The valedictorian, Quratulain Asad, maintained a 4.0 GPA in her 3 years at Al-Rahmah Girls High School. All the graduates completed their high school requirements in three years. When she gave her speech, she said at first she was had doubt about whether to attend the newly added high school with such small class sizes. But then as the years progressed, she and the other graduates reflected on how they bonded strongly in the smaller classes. They spoke of how they learned each other’s personalities, strengths and weaknesses, and how they would encourage and push one another in their pursuit of graduating together. The average GPA of the graduates was a 3.7. The valedictorian also received a $500 scholarship from the Al-Rahmah Education Trust (ASET). One of the other graduates had been in Al-Rahmah school from 1st grade, mashaAllah.
The program concluded with a special duaa made by Br. Ahmed El-Manyari, one of the teachers at Al-Rahmah school followed by a delicious buffet lunch and desert. Al-Rahmah School is currently accepting applications for the Girls High School for grades 9th through 11th.
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