Asalaamu alaikum wa Rahmatu Lahi wa Barakatu
When I was an elementary student in the fifth grade my family moved to a new house in another town. This meant changing school in the middle of the year in a place where I didn’t know anyone not even the neighbors. Thanks to my fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Webber the change was not hard. As a matter of fact, Mrs. Webber made her fifth grade class so welcoming that after a few days I fit right in and barely missed my old school. Mrs. Webber later became the assistant principal in our small-town high school and those four years became an engaging, project-based learning experience for our entire school. School felt like family with Mrs. Webber.
WIA strives to have that same family atmosphere. Our teachers are caring, loving and attentive to WIA students. It is heartwarming to walk the halls and visit classrooms and hear and see the sounds and sights of learning in action. Whether it is kindergarten deciding on their favorite season, second graders bartering for goods at their “market”, fifth graders exploring the oceans with multi-level projects, seventh and eighth grade girls preparing healthy snacks, older students planning the 5K or a Peace Club meeting- the buzz of learning and engaging can be felt throughout WIA.
The 2016-17 school year at WIA has seen an active SGA and more field trips for some grades than past years. It is so wonderful that WIA teachers look for learning beyond our school walls and take our students to places that offer authentic learning. Prekindergarten and kindergarten children visited a petting zoo where some of our children were brave enough to go into the pens and feed the animals by hand. Fourth, fifth and sixth grade students experienced American history up close and personal with a trip to Jamestown. Third, fourth and fifth grade students had an awesome experience at the Maryland Science Center and it was great hearing from third graders what astronauts feel like in space after their visit. Sixth and seventh grade students saw an inspiring full feature film about the struggles of three African American women mathematicians and first graders had first hand experiences with building materials and how things work at the building museum. These experiences and others will have a meaningful and lasting effect on our students long after the busses rolled back to WIA’s front door.
WIA is a place for caring not just about ourselves, but about what’s going on in the world around us. Once again WIA students have championed causes for the down-trodden in communities near and far. They have rallied to raise funds for Syrian refugees, helped native American Navajos in Arizona gain access to running water, contributed to Dar Al Hijrah’s food pantries with boxes and boxes of collected canned and dried foods, donated new pajamas for local kids in need and helped children in our area enjoy Eid with new toys and clothes. Twenty-four WIA students took part in a celebration of Muslim cultures from the seven banned nations and shared their performances in front of a large audience of over 500 along with one hundred Muslim children from other schools in our area. WIA students returned the kindness of our neighbors who came out on several occasions to show support to Muslims by sharing lunch with them, going outside to greet them and writing thank you cards.
Our hard-working and dedicated teachers deserve much praise and many thanks for making this year a great one for our students. Partnering with WIA parents, the WIA staff endeavors to make each and every student feel welcome and to grow academically, socially and emotionally in the best way during the many hours students spend with us.
WIA parents must be appreciated as well for the support they give our staff and WIA students as they show us each day how important their children’s education and well-being is to them. We heartily thank WIA parents for being equal partners in the WIA experience.
Most of all, WIA students need to take a bow and give themselves a big pat on the back. Students come in everyday willing and ready to learn (for the most part) and this makes our job easier. We really do feel like family here. Mrs. Webber would approve, and if she were here she would also learn that WIA has taken compassionate living and learning one step further. Because embedded in our family atmosphere is a deep commitment to stay true to our religion and follow the example of our Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings of Allah Be Upon Him) in our deeds and actions. Allah (SWT) tells us in the Qur’an “And as for those who strive in Our path — We will surely guide them in Our ways. And Indeed, Allah is with those who are of service to others”. (Al Quran 29:70).
I’ve enjoyed sharing the 2016-17 school year with my WIA family and I look forward to continuing our journey together next year. To our graduating eighth graders- you will be missed. But I know you are well-prepared for the challenges of high school and beyond. Come back and let us know how you’re doing. To all our other students and their families and to our fantastic staff and teachers- see you in August! To everyone- relax and have a great summer!
Jazak Allahu Khair from your sister in Islam,
Rahima Abdullah, Principal