BHA Purchases Three New Microscopes for Science Lab
by Ayah Abdel Rahman, BHA Post Reporter
Brighter Horizons Academy has recently purchased three very powerful digital microscopes for biology classes which will help students see cell structure and the details of animal and plant cells according to Saba Jilani, lab teacher. The new microscopes are called a part of the Edge Series Microscopes.
The modern microscopes that BHA has just purchased have an optical magnification power of 700x – 900x. It will allow students to annotate and draw on the image, and measure dimensions, and project images of the specimen to the projector.
Dr. Nahid Nikpour, head of the science department, said everybody will get to see live cells, and for the first time students will have the opportunity to have a hands-on experience over the microscope.
All three microscopes together cost about $5,000. Separately, each one costs about $1,500. They were funded through the Parent Teacher Organization.
These microscopes are a brand new learning experience at BHA. Faculty is hopeful that this addition will make biology classes more enjoyable to the students.
According to McGraw Hill, microscopes have always been important in the history of science. Scientists have discovered microorganisms, cells, and many other things by using microscopes. Over the years, microscopes’ technology has progressed dramatically.
BHA’s Expansion Plans for the Future
By Alizah Usmani, BHA Post Reporter
The students and teachers of Brighter Horizons Academy have even more to look forward to as the school is growing and new students are coming in. BHA has come up with plans regarding the school’s expansion that will benefit the students and teachers for the upcoming school year.
As the size of the students increase, logically, the facility housing the students will as well.
“Alhamdulillah, we have a lot more students and as we continue to grow, we have to make space,” Mrs. Shazia Goondall, director of operations, said.
Last year’s highlights were the construction of the additional 8 classrooms on the first floor and the much-needed gym including locker rooms for the students. BHA’s next plans for the school are the construction of 8 to 9 more classrooms on the second floor and an auditorium.
The upstairs area will allow more space for students and teachers. The auditorium will be able to hold a plentiful amount of students and will start behind the Fish Tank, ending right before the gym begins.
The construction and expansion of the school has been temporarily put on hold. “During the school year, we tend to not have any construction. We want to do it in the summer when there are no students here,” Goondall said. “Our goal is that at least by the next academic year, so our 16-17 school year, we have at least the upstairs expansion completed. Now the auditorium, we’re not sure that will happen also in this summer or if it will happen the year after that.”
The construction and expansion of BHA heavily depends on funding rates. So the more donations received, the faster the process will be. BHA has grown from 10 students in 1989 to over 800 in the 2014-2015 academic school year, ranging from PK to 12th grade.
The school has expanded and is continuing to expand to meet all of the needs in making Brighter Horizons Academy a more efficient and welcoming environment for Muslim leaders to be brought up and educated.
Winter Break Extension
By Alizah Usmani, BHA Post Reporter
Due to the inputs and opinions of parents, Brighter Horizons Academy announced that the winter break would be extended, which means that midterms would be scheduled earlier. This decision has spurred up several different view points from teachers and students.
BHA’s administration had received many requests regarding early examination and extending winter break. As a result, a survey was conducted asking parents if they wanted the break to be extended. Within a short amount of time, there were 280 respondents and among them, 74% voted yes to extending the winter break. The decision was made, so the school announced they would be closed on the 21st, 22nd, and 23rd of December, and the midterms would be scheduled for the 16th, 17th, and 18th of the month.
Students and teachers both have different views in regarding this extension. Ranya Siddiqui, a 9th grader, says “I feel relived, but also since the midterms are being scheduled earlier, teachers aren’t really spending time reviewing, but instead, rushing through lessons so they can be on the midterms.”
Nuha Jilani in 8th grade says, “I’m a bit iffy because the midterms are coming really fast but psyched for the winter break.”
“I don’t like to change things so whatever is scheduled, I leave it, and so I didn’t think it should be changed,” Mrs. Denise Gonzalez, Biology teacher, says in regards to the midterms being scheduled earlier. “For the students, oh, I think they would love it because they have more time off.”
“I think the extension was necessary,” says Ms. Wiam Ayachi, World Geography teacher. “…a lot of people had issues scheduling trips and vacations.”
Although, there were pros and cons to the winter break extension, students and teachers were able to spend more time relaxing over the break after the busy week of midterms. BHA will be making these days up on April 08, 2016, which was previously a student holiday/staff development day.
Dorian Gray Showcase
By Fatima Naqvi, BHA Post Reporter
The Dorian Gray showcase was Oct 27, in the multipurpose hall during 2nd and 3rd period. The tenth grade students decided they wanted to do a showcase to present for their fellow friends, parents, families, and teachers. This showcase was about a book that the Class of 2018 was reading in English, The Picture of Dorian Gray.
“Dorian Gray showcase was a presentation held by the students that featured scenes, poems, videos, important lessons from The Picture of Dorian Gray, and then tied it back to the Islamic perspective.” said Ms Tahsina Siddiqui, English teacher and organizer of the event.
This show was entirely created by the students and it began from the 10A class.
“We were just talking about Dorian Gray and acting. Our class had the idea and turns out we actually went through with it.” said student of 10A, Abdullah Orfaly.
Siddiqui presented the idea to Dr. Iram Jilani, Middle & High School Principal, but she rejected it.
“My initial reactions were that this was a great idea but the one reason that made me reconsider it and say no was because of the timeline of events. We had two weeks and my fear was that we wouldn’t have enough organization or manpower put into the development of the show to a caliber that would do justice to BHA students,” Jilani said.
Siddiqui accompanied tenth grade students Abdullah Orfaly and Yosr Omran to speak to Jilani about the event to win her over in the same way they won Siddiqui over.
“Ms Tahsina came up to me and told us that we have to go talk to Sr Iram. Then me and Abdullah told her that this would be a great learning experience help us learn, interact, and cooperate as a class. What really got her to accept is the fact that it would be an interactive test review for our upcoming exam on Dorian gray,” said Yosr Omran.
After all the hard work that the students put in to trying to convince Jilani, she agreed and students began to prep for the show.
“This whole entire presentation was a very tedious task because it was very spontaneous,” Siddiqui said. “The pressure was a lot because Dr Iram made it very clear that she would be attending the event and that it ran smoothly. Also we had a very little time span with only two weeks to prepare and having everything running smoothly for the show.”
Many of the dedicated students stayed countless hours after school, during lunch period, and rehearsal, to come and prepare for the showcase while balancing schoolwork and extracurricular activities simultaneously. From auditions to setting up, everyone contributed and helped make the showcase look good.
“I really believe in students expressing themselves in different ways in an Islamic school, students are rarely given opportunities to express themselves that are motivating, that really interest students from deep down. This is one of the moments where I see student besides Shakespeare night, the entire grade was so excited about it. Anytime I would ask if we could pull this off, because of time they would reassure me, take on all the tasks, and actually follow through with everything. When students are that excited and motivated about something, it’s my job as a teacher to harness that and encourage that,” Siddiqui said.
Audience members, students and staff were blown away by the performance.
“I was surprised by the level of commitment and when I saw the show I was really blown away by the level of organization, the passion, the teamwork, from Jihad playing the music to Shiza doing the flyers, their own script, props, projections, and videos. Everyone who contributed showed that you can really work together when you want to,” Jilani said.
Shine Night, Shine Bright
By Yusuf Khan, BHA Post Reporter
Brighter Horizons Academy (BHA) hosted a poetry competition for middle school students on Dec. 4, to compete in their classrooms for the chance to go to Shine Night.
The five winners from each class competed in against their grade in Shine Night, for the title of the best poet of their grade level and the top three were given trophies as prizes.
English teacher Marium Jaura planned Shine Night with the Events department and was very happy with the turn-out.
“Shine Night is a day to showcase our Middle School talent in the poetry unit they learned in class. It was created to help students study the field of Poetry, but instigate an understanding to where they can write their own poems based on their experiences,” she said. “I feel it was a positive experience for the students and they appreciated it. I think, for a little bit, they actually enjoyed poetry.”
The judges there that night included Br. Naim Baig, who is a nationally acclaimed Spoken Word artist, Ghadir Qaddura, College Guidance Counselor and previous spoken word poetry competitor, Mohammad M, tenth grade student and previous PSIA poetry competitor, and Tahseena Siddiqui, Englsih department head and teacher.
Kareem Muriby won the 8th grade Shine Night and had a few things to say about it.
“It was a really amazing experience and I actually kind of liked how stressful it was up there,” Kareem Muriby, eighth grade Shine Night winner, said. “It was very surprising for me that I won because I kind of wrecked the stage and when I heard that I won I was very happy.”
When asked about the judges, he said, “I think they were very fair. However, I feel like they could’ve been a bit more lenient with the hand-gestures because not many people memorized their poems because it was poetry, not spoken word.”
“All the students had fun that night,” Jaura said.
BHA Boys Basketball on a Roll
By Yasmeen Khan, BHA Post Reporter
The BHA Boys Basketball team received trophies at the Romeo Preparatory Shootout in Paris, Texas and the Dallas Lutheran Basketball Tournament, where they won second place.
“The great thing about these trophies is that it’s an example of how far the boys have come,” Akram Mutawe, Director of Athletics and Dean of Student Affairs, said.
The basketball team started practicing for the season in summer break and through the fall, Mutawe said. The first game played this season was on Nov. 5 against Romeo Preparatory. Since then, the boys basketball team has maintained a steady pattern of wins.
“The boy’s basketball team were successful because they showed hard work, dedication, and perseverance. They have put in the work since the summer so that they can come back with some victories and some trophies.”
Syrian Refugee Crisis
By Ayah Abdel Rahman
Imagine that your country has been in a civil war for years. with no end in sight. Imagine your own president commanding an army to bring you to your destruction. Imagine the loved ones you grew up with kidnapped, never to be seen again. You fear for your family and your child’s future, and you decide to leave you country, your home, for good. But the only way to do that is by taking a trip you may not survive through.
Imagine you get on a small, inflatable boat with almost 100 people on it, only with one small bag of food and water. You are about to escape from the war, but to where? Where will this small inflatable boat in the big Mediterranean Sea land? You don’t know, but you have to take this chance.
Soon the boat starts to fill with water from the rough sea waves. Everyone throws their luggage overboard to make the boat lighter. All you are left with are the clothes on your back and your family. You stay on this small boat for days, the calamities come and they don’t stop coming. Some people are lost at sea, others leave their old lives behind them. You continue on this seemingly endless voyage.
Finally the boat lands and everyone jumps off and runs to the people on shore, thankful to God to be alive. You desperately search for someone who can speak your language, Arabic, but nobody understands you. How will you find out which country you’ve landed in, what you’ll do next?
This is what over 367,000 Syrian refugees that traveled to Europe by sea just this year experienced. According to Islamic Relief USA, 10 million people have been displaced, 6.5 million children have been affected, and over 4 million Syrian refugees fled to neighboring countries. Syria has become the biggest source of refugees in the world, and 49% of refugees arriving by sea in Europe are Syrians.
This is not a Muslim problem, it’s a humanitarian problem.
“The tide of human suffering unleashed by the Syrian conflict has catastrophic implications,” said Angelina Jolie, UNCHR special envoy.
This is a very sad issue, and we have to do something about it. People who once lived lives just like ours now have to search for food and security. These are essentials in our life, and everyone deserves to have them without hardship.
Each and every one of us should think about what we can do to help, whether it’s donating, volunteering, or just telling other people about this conflict.
“Syria has become the great tragedy of this century,” said António Guterres, United Nations High commissioner for refugees, “what is at stake is nothing less than the survival and well-being of a generation of innocents.”