Excerpts from "What Schools Teach Us About Religious Life"

Dan Heischmann, the Executive Director of the National Association of Episcopal Schools and author of Good Influence:Teaching the Wisdom of Adulthood, visited New Horizon for his research on his new book, What Schools Teach Us About Religious Life.  The chapter featuring NHS, “A Bold American Experiment,” serves to enlighten the reader on the goals and challenges of New Horizon and other Islamic schools. The following are a couple of excerpts from the book:

 “To be sure, there was a clear sense of youthful liveliness and energy to be found at New Horizon.  The bold experiment it has embarked upon requires such youthful vibrancy in order to forge new trails in American Islam.  It will not be long, I am confident in saying, until the path it has sought to travel will also provide future paths, future role models, of wisdom for its own community and perhaps beyond.”

“In a meeting with the student council of the school, I was taken not only by the affection these students held for the school – a very common experience when speaking with students in private schools – but also in the deep understanding students displayed over what the school is seeking to do for them.  These were students who knew the mission of the school.  Along with a clear sense of community that the school instills in them – “We not only go to the same school, we are brothers and sisters,” as one of them observed – these students were able to speak of the religious identity the school fosters along with an obligation it emphasizes to the larger community.  That identity and obligation was most often described by them with the word “peace.”  “This school is all about peace,” one of the students observed.  That sense of peace was clearly seen by students as a necessary foundation for the challenging role each one of them faces in the larger world.  Students made reference to the need for kindness and patience with a world that often does not understand Islam.  As they remarked, “They [the school] give us the foundation that we need”; “They teach us tolerance that we can take with us.”     

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