What a year has been 2019 2020! One that is the mark, the turning point, laden with memories we will carry with us forever. With the tragic episode of loss of dearest Ms. Pam to triumphant moments of celebration as our students represent us at State level competitions. And who could have imagined such a sudden shut down of our familiar, comfortable world as we knew it, as the rug was jerked from underneath us? If anything, these events force us to face all that we take for granted, and yet, through this we also witness our students' remarkable resilience and grit in these unfathomable times of hardship. Over again, driven home is the message of solace and hope, Indeed, with hardship does come ease!
11th Grade Fundraiser for Ms. Pam:
Alhumdullilah, much came out of the funds raised by our 11th Grade boys in pursuit of Sadaqah Jaariyah for Ms. Pam: they raised $2,811 with which Five Water Fountains were purchased. The fountains were shipped to the following Masajid: Windsor Locks Masjid (2 fountains), Masjid Muhammaed Islamic Center of Greater Hartford, Masjid Esa Bin Maryam, Stratford, Masjid Samia, Ansonia. May Allah reward the boys for their determination and effort and grant them the best of both worlds. We ask Allah that Ms. Pam be rewarded infinitely through this Sadaqah Jaariyah! Ameen!
State Competition Wins:
We also have much to celebrate. This year our students did very well in both the State Science Fair and History Day. Here are our winners: Connecticut Science and Engineering Fair: Ismail Shelbaya, Second Honors (Middle School Life Sciences); Tasneem Zoghol, Second Place Middle School Physical Life Sciences; Ahmad Zoghol/Amer Kabatilo/Zain Kabatilo, Third Honors High School Physical Sciences Team.
History Day winners: Ghita Elemrani, 3rd Place; Haneen Abuteen and Madina Saleh, First place; Abdul Hafidh Shelbaya and Amir Hasan, Third prize; Salma Mahmoud, Jannah Sallam and Tasneem Zoghol, Second prize.
Huge shout out to Mr. Tim Coleman and Ms. Salwa for their coaching and mentorship through these competitions. Without them, I am sure, we would not achieve this much success.
Lastly, please make haste in filling out and submitting the re-enrollment forms sent to you via email. As a reminder, the deadline for re-enrollment is Wednesday, June 17th, 2020.
We have almost reached our sixth week with learning from a distance, and though it did not come without its struggles and challenges, we persevered and will continue to do so, inshAllah.
Take a few moments to enjoy this newsletter as it encapsulates the thoughts, worries and work of our dearest and beloved students.
Wishing you all health and peace,
The Orange Cat by Habiba Abdelrehim 4th Grade
One summer day, I was swinging on my swing set in my backyard and my mom
was grilling chicken. An orange cat appeared! I was scared but I felt sorry for the
Cat at the same time. It was helpless and homeless. All the cat wanted was my
mom’s delicious grilled chicken. It will not leave and it kept going toward my mom.
It would not leave my mom alone. So, my mom had to shoo it away with a stick. Ever
Since that moment, I could not stop thinking about that orange cat. I want all stray
cats and animals to be picked up by animal control and to be sent to the shelters.
To get the care they need and then be placed in loving homes.
All pets should be picked up by animal control and placed in shelters, and to be
given shots and medicine to take care of their wounds. If they should be checked
for fleas and be showered with shampoo. Then, they should be displayed so they
can be adopted into loving homes. “There is no exact count of the stray cats
present in the US. However it is estimated to be around 13 million – 87 million. “
The National Council on Pet Population Study & Policy (NCPPSP)
Also, if animal control comes across wild animals,
they should be sent to shelters to receive care and then taken back to their
People should adopt pets unless they are allergic or don’t have the money to
care for a pet. When someone adopts a ped and the cat gets badly hurt and it’s not
the owner's fault, the cat should get free recovery. But if it is the owner’s fault,
then the owner pays. Every animal should go into the shelter to make sure the
the animal is taken care of and loved.
I ask you to think about that orange cat and many other pets. Animal control
needs to save the animals from the danger of the streets and place them in
shelters to be adopted. What happened to our hearts? Give all animals a loving and
caring home now. No pet should be left behind.
The National Council on Pet Population Study & Policy (NCPPSP)
The Orange Cat By Habibah Abdelrehim
Badriyah Aljuaily First Grade Work
Badriyah Aljuaily First Grade Work
Eshal Kashif 3rd Grade
Breaking Down, Isn't a Choice : by Tasneem Zoghol 7th Grade
Breaking Down, Isn’t a Choice:
“Treat everyone you meet like it could be their last day on Earth” - Bret Phillips.
You never know what the future holds. Sometimes it’s something good, but seldom, it’s a test. No one but our Lord knew that on that sorrowful February 15, 2020 evening, the life of our dear Mrs. Pam would be claimed. She loved each and every one of us, and she was loved sincerely by each and every one of us. Such a loss was inconceivable to us all. As many would wish it hadn’t occurred, it couldn’t be reversed. It was what was written. Though it is hard to overcome, we must all believe that whatever is written by God is what will happen. On our part, we should strive to overcome these sorrowful things, and end our conversations with people, by leaving a good impact. Crave every moment. Use it wisely, as you may never know if it could be your last chance to see that person. Loss is hard. But you shouldn’t break down crying and being upset forever. Instead, take the good that the person left behind and nurture it, so it can continue to grow, and provide others with fruitful benefits. Mrs. Pam left an endless impact and legacy. She left us infinite keys of kindness, love, respect, and courage that we could use to unlock a passionate, loving and caring society, as she did. We could spread them like a bee collects and spreads seeds, that grow endless gardens of love. But breaking down and crying forever, shouldn’t be a choice. Stand up and make a change, as I’m sure Mrs.Pam would’ve wanted us to do. Don’t let an act of sorrow change you into a different, sad person. Use it as a chance to stitch yourself together, to be a better person, who can spark courage in the hearts of many people. “In each loss, there is a gain, as in every gain, there is a loss, and with each ending, comes a new beginning.”
The stakes are high during this pandemic. We are a time in which it is dangerous to
leave your house, deadly to do simple errands. However, education must continue. We cannot
foresee the end of this pandemic, so the obvious and most suitable option is online education.
Virtual learning is the most efficient way for students to resume their schooling. It is
definitely more productive than just having packets that we would finish in three days and come
back to school not having learned anything. With online learning, students can get to class
quickly, and interact with the teacher(s) and fellow students. If students only received packets to
complete, no learning would be done. Online learning lets teachers teach their students the way
they normally would in an ordinary classroom setting.
Per contra, there are still some slight downfalls to this online experience. While learning
is still efficient with Webex, students are still missing some crucial components. In normal
classroom environments, students receive the opportunities to socialize with classmates, as well
as do partner work, which improves the classes’ relationships and strengthens the individual’s
teamwork. These peripherals are something students miss out on when learning through the
During these times, online schooling is the most obvious way to teach students.
However, we can see that this has both pros and cons.
Imagine By Ghita 7th Grade
Imagine. Imagine a world where you are afraid of going outside, and not for the reasons you are used to. If every waking minute of your life, you are afraid of something you can’t see with the naked eye. Imagine the only way to see your family in person is if they drive up, sit in their car, and you talk from the porch. Imagine not going to school for months on end, no contact with anyone outside the virtual world. The internet is both our savior and our greatest enemy, where we can relish in the outside world we’ve been forbidden to see, and where we see our greatest fears come to life, watching and hearing of all the numbers, the deaths, another ‘cure’ that didn’t work. Imagine the bittersweetness of turning on your camera every day to see your friends, teachers, and peers, but still having the feeling that something about all this isn’t right. That in this hypothetical universe, everything is wrong. People can’t find food, water, toilet paper, baby formula, and so much more. Imagine health professionals who are doing the very best they can, but they only have so long before they get sick like their patients are. The most vulnerable are dying by the thousands, and we can’t do anything about it. We are weak. We are scared. We try and try, worry day and night, but we get nowhere. Sometimes, all we can do is laugh it off. Our hypothetical, imaginary, presumptive world would be a mess. But you don’t have to imagine. It’s not hypothetical. It’s not imaginary, or presumptive. We live with these fears. This is our now.
Stay Home by Ameer Hasan 7th Grade
Mid-December 2019, the first case of COVID-19(Coronavirus disease of 2019) was reported in Wuhan, China. No one knew it was Coronavirus. It just appeared as a mysterious number of people suddenly started getting “Pneumonia”. When this number elevated too high, they tested one patient. This was when they discovered a coronavirus. Not a normal one though. This virus was “Novel” which means (in adjective form) new and unusual. Whenever a disease as infectious as this suddenly breaks out, it's bad news in the first place. But this is a novel. This means they haven't even heard of this ever. This also means they didn't even start on a vaccine. When this happens, well, let's just say everyone on this earth is in for a wild ride.
In the early days of the virus, it wasn't even taken seriously. People suspected it of being gone in a few days or weeks. Nothing too long. This was not the case. Around the end of february, the numbers of infected, and even dead, suddenly spiked. The wide panic over this virus caused people to react irrationally. This was led further by websites and articles just hungering for a few clicks. This led to people buying things in masses, such as toilet paper, napkins, food, and hand sanitizer. Honestly, now, you can't go half a day without someone talking about COVID-19. This all happened in a domino effect. The virus getting introduced, people ignoring it, sudden panic, mass loss of heavy demand products, and there is still, most likely, a long way to go.
The only way COVID-19 is going to go is up. The number of infected and dead will keep going up, until it reaches its peak. There's no telling when that's going to be. Even with this information, there is no need to panic. Fighting a disease has little difference to war. In a war, you lose people, people get injured, People get scarred for life. There are only two things we can do. Fight, and win. All you have to do is follow what trusted sources, like the CDC is telling you to do. When something like this happens, the best motto to follow is this. Alert, not anxious. An example of being anxious is buying items in bulk. An example of being alert is always washing your hands,and staying home..
There is no way of telling when this disease is going to come to an end. It could never end. It could end tomorrow. It could end next week, or the week after. You never know. It all depends on how the events play out. It could die in a certain climate, we might not even need a vaccine. Again, you never know! This is why this disease needs to be taken seriously. With the possibilities and factors that play into the evolution of the disease, the possibilities are 99.99% totally random! That is because WE play into the evolution of this disease. It is almost 100% our choice to choose where this virus is going to go. We can keep doing this where we stay in our houses and constantly wash our hands, this will most likely play into a positive outcome. It's up to us! You want to make this disease blow over? Well so do I. The only way we can do this is by being cooperative with people around us. Follow the example of people around you. People who dedicate their time into fighting this disease in the right way. Staying clean. All you have to do is follow and understand these things, and this is the best thing you can do at the moment, considering the situation. One day Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) noticed a Bedouin leaving his camel without tying it and he asked the Bedouin, “Why don’t you tie down your camel?” The Bedouin answered, “I put my trust in Allah.” The Prophet then said, “Tie your camel first, then put your trust in Allah” (At-Tirmidhi).
So, I pray for everyone on your journey to beat COVID-19.
Stay safe. Stay home.
The Blinding By Ghita 7th Grade
I could feel the air rush by me as people raced around me in the commotion and panic, hands sticking out, calling out to loved ones and trying to figure out who’s been affected. “MOM, Mom where are you,” you could hear a little child yelling in the crowd. A voice I recognized as my neighbor’s, Tori, was shouting “Praise the Lord, he will save us! The Blinding has come upon us!” And that’s what the day became known as. The Blinding.
It had started out as a normal day, I remember, everyone waking up at the neighborhood’s normal Call Time. I took my allotted twenty minutes of time to get ready to take a quick, eight-minute shower, as everyone else did when they took a shower and used the remainder to brush my teeth, comb my hair, and stand in front of my Smart Mirror to pick an outfit for the day. During the two minutes it took for the nanotech to produce the outfit, grey cutoff jeans and a plain white teeshirt with a grey jean jacket to match, I scrolled through the local feed, trying to kill time. Soon, an alert popped up for my clothes and I opened the pod, dressed, and threw my messily rumpled pajamas into the pod for them returned to my closet. With a whoosh, they disappeared, and I turned on my heel and marched out to face the day. Pulling up the time, I saw that I was done with forty-eight seconds to spare. I decided to go back and tweak my outfit, but my twin sister, Callie, opened her door and called out. “Hey, Caleb, the bus leaves in ten. Are you ready?,” and I suddenly felt guilty, as if I were caught in the act of doing something wrong. We don’t necessarily have a rule against using any extra time for ourselves since we had already gotten on top of our carefully curated priorities, but we are encouraged to use this time for beneficial things that could possibly help others. I was going to go find something better to do with my time when I received the ping that meant I had ten seconds until the next part of our perfectly-timed schedule started: Breakfast. Of course, I come downstairs to find our parents already sitting with their breakfast of a lightly buttered English muffin and a cup of coffee, french vanilla hazelnut for my Dad and strongly brewed plain with a hint of skim milk for my Mom. They greeted me and continued with whatever doing whatever they had pulled up on their HEIS, or holographic entertainment and information system. I walked over to the Home Board and chose a quick breakfast to be packed with my lunch. I opened the pod to grab my satchel and found that Callie, as usual, had prepared her selections, including her breakfast, the night before and would not have to wait like I just had. Just as I was grabbing my case, my twin bounded down the stairs with all her things, ready to leave. We had enough time to walk the few blocks to the stop where the bus would whisk us away to our school.
As we were heading home for the day, I felt a strange… presence, almost, or maybe the pressure of the wind, which is weird, since with climate control we shouldn’t feel the wind at this time of the year. We both ignored it and kept going until we heard the first scream. We both looked at each other, and I pulled up the panic button on my HEIS, ready to click, and we dropped our bags and ran toward the screams. A woman who looked to be in her mid-thirties was sobbing in the middle of the floor of the quaint house we had entered where she had been taking groceries in, screaming incoherently. “Maam, Maam are you ok?” Callie was obviously unsure of what to do. “I-I-I can’t-” the lady stammered. She looked around as if she couldn’t see where we were and was obviously confused. “It’s alright, breathe,” I told her, and she finally told us what was wrong. “I can’t see. I think I’m blind,” and she erupted into sobs again. As Callie tried to figure out if the lady had put something in her eyes, I opened HEIS and clicked the panic button. Immediately I noticed the dozens of notifications that popped up at me, people taking videos of other people sobbing not unlike the lady in front of me, and others sending voice messages with panicked voices about how they couldn’t see. More and more people posted similar things. I turned to Callie, but she had a look of shock on her face. “Caleb?”. She said my name like a question. “Caleb, I can’t see. Caleb, I CAN’T SEE!” She started to cry. “Callie it’s going to be ok. I can still see, but a lot of people can’t. I’m going to go out, and try to get home to figure out what’s happening.” She sniffled and nodded in my general direction. “Ok, Callie, just don’t move and don’t panic. Use HEIS’s audio setting if you need to open it.” I went out into a crowd. Our house is at the end of the street. I just need to get there, I thought and started to struggle through the crowd. I could feel the air rush by me as people raced around me in the commotion and panic, hands sticking out, calling out to loved ones and trying to figure out who’s been affected. “MOM, Mom where are you,” you could hear a little child yelling in the crowd. A voice I recognized as my neighbor’s, Tori, was shouting “Praise the Lord, he will save us! The Blinding has come upon us!” And that’s the last thing I remembered before everything went black.
Two years later, our world is doing a little bit better. We’ve developed technology to make our lives a little easier to maneuver through. No one has regained their sight, even those born after 2138. One day, as I walked home alone, I thought of how I would call my sister later today, who had skipped a grade last year and went straight to College instead of senior year, despite the events that had occurred. Suddenly, I felt a blow to my head, two, three, and then I felt my body crumple.
I woke up and tried to move my hands to the lumps that I knew for a fact would swell and get worse later, but found that I was bound with rope to something that was probably a chair. I didn’t even bother to open my eyes since I didn’t expect anything different, but my eyes felt grimy, and it sometimes helped to blink it away. I opened my eyes to colors, all across the room, so many it was overwhelming since I hadn’t seen any for years. So many thoughts raced through my head, I didn’t know what to make of all this. But the only thing I could focus on was the bright red words scrawled everywhere on the walls, on top of all the beautiful artwork and colors beneath. It read Don’t let them know you can see...
STUDENT OF THE MONTH: Omar Khan 8th Grade
This is a new platform of learning for all of us, and, MashAllah, he is excelling at it. I have seen Webex classes with college students, and I’m proud to say Omar exhibits the same kind of thinking and behavior as those students.
This channel of learning requires students to be self-disciplined, motivated and responsible. That’s exactly what Omar is and more. From his class participation to his work submission on Schoology, Omar has proven that he can learn under any method of teaching.
Demonstrating the Gift of a Religious Upbringing in Ramadan By Br. AbdulMalik Islamic Studies Teacher
"The best gift to children from parents is their correct training" (At Tirmidhi)
There is a correlation in the mental well-being of young adults who had a religious upbringing as children, and that religious upbringing. This correlation is something that parents, teachers, leaders, and others who are Muslim know intuitively according to Qur'an and Prophetic tradition. It is also the conclusion of research done at Harvard University, as reported in an article that was shared by a Madina Academy parent. The parent shared the article so that our students may gain some insight. The article was shared with high school juniors and the senior, who were asked to provide their insights in a reflective essay. The students affirmed their understanding of how the religious upbringing, including education in a religious environment like at Madina Academy, is a gift from Allah (SWT) and their parents, and how the upbringing gives them a sense of purpose and meaning for the challenges of life. The juniors and senior, and other middle and high school students subsequently demonstrated a correlation that was unreported in the research article in their Ramadan projects. That is the correlation between that sense of purpose and meaning, and compassion, and selflessness.
The juniors and the senior shared how religious upbringing provided them with the lens through which they see and navigate the world, and how they make better decisions which boost mental well-being as a result. As teenagers on the verge of young adulthood, they are confronted with challenges of peer pressure, which, more often than not, leads to negative behavior and consequences in an increasingly secular society. They shared insight into how religious upbringing helps them to gain wisdom about the limits sets by Islam and to use religious teachings as a filter and religious practices to remain grateful and grounded. The also shared insights on how such upbringing provides them with a sense of community and makes them value good relationships. They expressed appreciation for the satisfaction and sense of mental well-being that applying the teachings of compassion, selflessness, and charity and service to others that the gift of such upbringing provides to them.
The students, as well as other middle and high school students, demonstrated these teachings in their Ramadan projects. It as a Madina Academy tradition that each middle and high school grade conceives, plans, and executes a charitable project during Ramadan each year. The Covid-19 pandemic dominated this year's projects. The pandemic, with its attendant shut down of the school and masajid, presents an unprecedented challenge in all our lives. Yet, our students understood the pandemic for what it is - a test from Allah (SWT).
This understanding was enabled by the students' ongoing religious education and upbringing that the students. As a result of this understanding, Covid-19 did not hinder the Ramadan projects. Rather, it enabled our students to employ wisdom and creativity for their projects and show compassion, selflessness, and charity to others. Although each grade's project was independent, there was a collective sense of helping those whose hunger, homelessness and suffering were exacerbated by COVID -19 not just in Connecticut but across the United States and world. There was also a sense of helping frontline workers who are putting their lives on the line to help others during the pandemic.
Project Help the Helpers
The 6th grade's project Help the Helpers consists of donating $100 and 150 masks to Hartford Healthcare Covid-19 Fund to support the frontline workers, their patients, and families; $471.75 to No Kids Hungry to help feed children from poor homes across the United States who mostly depend on public school meals for breakfast and lunch; and $470 to Islamic Relief USA to help families in refugee camps in Syria who were already suffering from hunger, disease, homelessness and the effects of war, and now have to deal with a global pandemic. The monies came from a meal sale fundraiser that the 6th grade had earlier in the school year, and subsequent donations of money and masks by a family.
Messages of Hope
The 7th grade did not have the opportunity to do a fundraiser before the school transitioned to remote learning. This did not dampen the enthusiasm of the 7th grade students enthusiasm to be of benefit to other. Their Messages of Hope project is a reaffirmation of the well known hadith that no good deed is wasted, and even a smile is charity. For their project, the 7th graders would provide do a good deed and make all of us smile by providing daily messages of hope and inspiration via Facebook to the Madina Academy community during Ramadan.
Project Food and Masks
The 8th grade's Project Food and Masks consists of donating $ 201 donation to Hartford Healthcare Covid-19 Fund to help fund the purchase of masks for hospital staff, patients and families, and $ 200 donation to the World Food Program to help feed the hungry around the world. The money was previously raised in a bake sale earlier in the school year.
The 9th and 10th graders were concerned about the plight of the hungry and homeless in the local area, and the poor, suffering and oppressed Muslims overseas. Their project consists of $54 donation to Mercy Housing and Shelter to help support the homeless and hungry in the Hartford area and $54 to An Noor International Foundation to help support the poor, suffering and oppressed Muslims in India. The money for the donation was from a fundraiser that the 9th grade had earlier in the school year of which the proceeds were split for the Ramadan project and their senior trip
Project Madina Academy Cares
The 11th and 12th grade did not have a Ramadan fundraiser before school closure. However, they had a number of fundraisers for their senior trip. In a demonstration of charitable selflessness and the belief that charity does not diminish wealth , they decided to make donations from their senior trip monies towards their Ramadan project – Madina Cares. The project consists of $200 donation to the World Food Program to help feed the hungry around the world and $200 to Foodshare in Bloomfield, CT towards feeding the hungry in the Greater Hartford area. May Allah (SWT) replenish their senior trip funds and increase it multiple folds for them for their generosity and selflessness.
Further, in emphasizing the value of the month of Ramadan and the sense of community, the 11th and 12th graders would be sending an email or making a Facebook posting to the Madina Academy community to remind them about those who don't have food to eat during this pandemic and particularly during this month of Ramadan, and to urge them to match their donations to these organizations.A Harvard University research shows the correlation between the mental well-being of young adults who had a religious upbringing as children, and that religious upbringing according to an article shared by a Madina Academy parent. As parents and teachers of children in a private, Islamic school, we know this intuitively. Our students also have insights about the correlation. The high juniors and senior shared insights about the sense of purpose and meaning that such upbringing provides them. The entire middle and high school also demonstrated the correlation between that sense of purpose and meaning, and compassion and selflessness in their Ramadan projects. This correlation was not reported in the research article. Another correlation that was not mentioned in the article is that between the religious upbringing, and the joy, satisfaction and benefits that such upbringing brings to the parents. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "Verily, Allah Almighty will raise the status of his righteous servants in Paradise, and they will say: O Lord, what is this? Allah will say: This is due to your child seeking forgiveness for you." (Musnad Ahmad). Ramadan Mubarak all Madina Academy students, parents, teachers
Thank you! By Bayan Abed
I would like to thank all teachers out there for putting hard work into making this happen. All teachers deserve a reward. Your hard work has helped Madina Academy so much. I am writing this to tell all of you that I am very grateful to have you. Even if I may not be your student you still are doing a superb job. Madina Academy won't be great without you. I love every single teacher in our school. Our community. We Madina Academy work as one team. Together all teachers made this online learning work out. The times may be hard. We may face challenges but we must keep going. You guys are vital to our community as a whole. without every single one of you, Madina Academy wouldn't be its best. So again I thank all of you for your hard work. So many things are going smoothly for me. I hope that's the same for you.