By Aisha Bouderdaben
Before returning to Iman Academy Southwest after a long summer break, students heard rumors about upcoming changes, undergoing changes, new teachers, etc. So, how much is true? How much really has changed?
Starting with the elementary wing of this school, guests will feel welcomed immediately as they open the glass door and step inside. A waiting room is now available, for those who come in for school-related business. It gives those who visit a comfortable, convivial feeling. There are plush couches, inviting a weary visitor to sit their bodies down and rest awhile as they wait for the new vice principal, Sr. Shamima Khalid, to accommodate them.
If parents, coming to pick up their child, continue down the hallway, they will notice that a brilliant, happy, yellow shines from the walls of the cafeteria/prayer area, a calming feature; one cannot help but smile.
Thatâ€™s not the only room which has been repainted. The first grade rooms are rainbow (red, orange, yellow, green, and blue!). The second grade rooms are orange and green. In the third and fourth grade rooms, one peach wall stands out while the other three are a vibrant, yet soothing green. And, finally, the fifth grade rooms have been repainted to match the sunny disposition of the cafeteria/prayer hall. And if a teacher lets outsiders peek in, the copying room has been repainted yellow and a wall added to create office space.
â€œMy friends and I really like the green and peach room weâ€™re in,â€ smiles one fourth grade student, Fatimah Bouderdaben (age 9), enthusiastically. â€œIt makes our class happy and excited to learn!â€
Okay, so the walls have been painted. Well, thereâ€™s more. Not only are the teachers doing their best to make the children feel good by seeing the new changes in the school, they literally make children feel better with the installation of the new infirmary. Located inside the teacherâ€™s lounge, an area has been cleared to make way for a cot for the hurt/sick child to lie on and a cabinet, stocked full of bandages, Tylenol, ice-packs, and various medication of the like.
So, onto the high school wing, now. Down the sidewalk and into the second building, the sea green walls have a similar effect to the yellow ones back in the elementary side. They welcome strangers in, making them feel strangely comforted.
Further down the hall, on either side of the hallway, are three to four classrooms, each with their own little, black window. Through it, a passer-by can peek in at the ongoing classes. The children sit in an orderly manner, working diligently.
â€œWe enjoy our classes,â€ says tenth grader Kamar Shaikh.
â€œYes, the school is much more organized and has better teaching methods this year,â€ chimes in her classmate, Sara Vawda.
Another classroomâ€™s door is wide open, allowing everyone to see the state-of-the-art technology which lines the walls. Fifteen computers, not including the teacherâ€™s, are all working with a steady hum at the fingers of a capable student.
At the end of the hall, the last major alteration is the boysâ€™ restrooms. The school renovated it entirely. Theyâ€™ve fixed the walls, the stalls, and everything in between.
If comparing the elementary wing with the middle and high, it is obvious there are many physical similarities. For one, the offices have been remodeled in both wings. For another, the classrooms have been organized and arranged in such a way that each child will have room to sit down, interact, and learn without hindrance. Light brown wood paneling has been installed half-way down the walls of both wings in Iman Academy. And those are only the physical similarities.
Both sections of Iman Academy have also hired new teachers, have become more organized, and even the students agree that the lessons are more interesting and far easier to comprehend.
Why are all these changes being made? Dr. Khalid Kebbati, the principal of Iman Academy Southwest since December 2004, says the answer is simple, â€œWe care about their [the studentâ€™s] well-being.â€ Dr. Kebbati raised over $3,000 to help in the renovation of the school. He hopes for more funds soon, because he is planning on getting the school accredited this year and to have a regular P.E. schedule and curriculum.
When asked why go through all the trouble when the new building is on the way, he goes on to explain, â€œWe need to work with what we have now, to help the students. Without the students, there is nothing. [The students] are the reason for our existence. Basically [the students] are the jewel, and the teachers surround them; everyone surrounds them.â€
So the stories are true; Iman Academy has changed, and for the better. Nobody can deny it: Iman Academy is a jewel of a school!
***Written By Aisha Bouderdaben For Subject English II in 10th Grade Iman Academyâ€¦