By Sahar Jahani, Class of 2005
(from a speech given at our Ramadan Benefit Dinner on Oct. 15, 2005)
Albert Camus, a twentieth century playwright, once said, “Life is a sum of all your choices.” I see life as a big banquet with many different types and assortments of dishes. People can choose to eat from any of those dishes but how do they decide which one is the most beneficial? Every day of our lives consist of numerous choices and decision making situations, especially for young adults quite like myself. We confront many issues during the day, such as, “Should I pray?” or “Should I keep watching this television program?” In life, you can choose to live the wrong way, or you can choose the right path. In my opinion, the wisest decision my family has ever made, for the future of their children, was enrolling my sister and me at New Horizon School.
Dr. Wayne Dyer, a psychologist, once mentioned that in order for people to be happy and content with their lives, one main thing they need is the feeling of belonging. When I attended New Horizon and even after I graduated, it seemed like whenever I was here the world revolved around me. Just as the pieces that perfectly fit in a puzzle, this is where I fit in the most. I feel like this school was and always will be my second home. Everyone here knows everyone else, everyone knows my name and they all seem to care about my personal needs. This environment is a perfect place for a child to grow up and learn Islamic values without being forced and pushed to do so. New Horizon has set the stage for my future and taught me morals and values that no amount of attendance at the mosque every weekend could have taught me. I utilized these values in my every day life at public school, either for myself or to teach to my peers.
When I first entered public school, I was frightened by the large number of students and the big campus but was quickly comforted by the great number of Muslim students who attended the school. Yet even though we are all from the same religion and the same background, we do not share the same values. Some of my Muslim friends do everything that my non-Muslim friends do, and worst of all; they put down their own religion. In my school, it’s considered bad to be Muslim and no one is really proud or enthusiastic about Islam. Of course there are a few exceptions; because there are some students who share the same values and ideas that I do. Obviously not all Muslims who didn’t attend a private Muslim school are lax about their faith but still I was distressed about the fact that so few Muslims acknowledge their religion. New Horizon educated me to be proud of who I was regardless of what other people said and what the media portrayed.
New Horizon isn’t just an average Muslim school, it’s better than most schools. Academically, what can I say? A “Blue Ribbon School”? Achieving this award obviously speaks for itself. But this school doesn’t just prepare you for high school academically, but socially as well. Students can experience things like Big Rock Creek camp, or Channel Islands, things that students, in most public schools, aren’t fortunate enough to have and yet it prepares us for the future school environments. Events such as the eighth grade Washington D.C. trip allow us to associate and interact with non-Muslims and help us view different aspects of cultures and religions. Although many people would think that a small community such as this school will isolate kids from other students, personally it hasn’t prevented me from interacting in clubs and sports at my current school. New Horizon is a combination of academic excellence, Islamic morals, and always a whole bunch of fun!
Honestly, before I left New Horizon, I didn’t think I would miss it a lot but after I graduated I realized and appreciated everyone and everything I learned. There are a few students who say that they dislike the school and would rather go to a public school but they don’t know how much they’ll miss it and wish to come back once they’re gone. I know this because I feel the same way. I have made so many friends and memories at this school that I would never be able to replace them. The staff, the faculty and the students are all like family to me. They are so committed in helping us achieve our goals and be successful people. I hope and pray that in the future I can give back to this school that has done so much for me.
In my opinion, New Horizon is the best investment a parent can make for the future of their children and also for the future of Islam. Not only do the students at this school learn Islamic principles and values but they also have the opportunity to grow and have fun in a safe and welcoming environment. I would like to thank all the teachers and staff who spent time with my peers and me to ensure that we could be the best that we can be. New Horizon has made me into the person that I am today and made me enjoy being who I am. My time at New Horizon School, like all good things, had to come to an end. And as I begin a new chapter in my life, I look back and say, “Thank you!”