We thought we’d covered our last graduation for this school year. Then an invitation arrived – as a media advisory sent on behalf of a school we hadn’t heard of – Hope Academy. The advisory from the local Council on American Islamic Relations invited us, a newspaper, three TV stations, and three radio stations to cover its ceremony and banquet Saturday night in High Point, explaining:
Hope Academy will celebrate the achievements of its students during with its fourth annual banquet, themed “American Muslims: Defining Ourselves.” The event will be held at the West Seattle Elementary School from 4:45 pm to 6 pm. … The event will include award presentations to graduating students as well as other students. Muslim community leaders and activists from the area will join in the celebration.
As far as we could tell, we were the only media that showed up. However – as you can see in our photos – those on hand included Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell. We asked for more information about the school; Abdul Kadir Jama explained that Hope Academy is “a full-time community-based school that serves K-8.” He added, “We aim at educating the American Muslim children by providing them an opportunity to grow in a conducive environment where they can maintain their faith, culture and at the same time become good citizens.” Saturday night’s celebration included awards to two groups of students, in the photos above and below:
The ceremony included singing of the Somalia anthem, in tribute to the land Seattle’s Somali immigrants – including parents of the students honored Saturday night — left amid civil war that has raged on now for almost 20 years:
Councilmember Harrell spoke, with a message for the students’ parents:
Hope Academy’s classes are held at locations including the High Point Neighborhood Center, according to CAIR’s S. Arsalan Bukhari, who sent the graduation announcement. Looking for more information online about Hope Academy, we happened onto some YouTube clips on this channel, including a student discussing world geography.