City councilmember at Hope Academy graduation in High Point

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.

2 Replies to "City councilmember at Hope Academy graduation in High Point"

  • janice June 28, 2010 (7:35 am)

    I heard the ceremony was wonderful I read about it on facebook from the West Seattle Herald as well as at the Somali graduation ceremony last week at UGM near New Holly. I was unable to attend as no close transportation according to Triplanner at metro. Congratulations Graduates!

    • WSB June 28, 2010 (8:55 am)

      We also published the advance notice, in our events calendar. However, no other media outlet was there to actually cover the event, and while news organizations typically love “exclusive” coverage, this is one case where I actually wish we had only been one of several there … it is rare to get an invite to come cover something that hasn’t had much publicity outside the community that’s directly involved with it (I searched online looking for past stories, webpage mentions, and found nothing aside from the YouTube channel to which we linked). For citywide media, it was a busy weekend, with Pride and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon. But anyway, most importantly, congratulations to all this year’s graduates, from programs of all types – happy summer to all! – Tracy

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