Islamic School 5th Graders Prepare for Middle School
Ahmad Rashidi and Sarah Dweik are two of the four total students in class, but Ahmad knows he'll be in a much bigger class next year and he's ready for the change.
"I think some will treat me differently, maybe, and some will treat me the same," he said.
Ahmad's father, Nabil, said his two older children help Ahmad prepare for the move.
"Since two of his siblings, his brother and sister, have basically gone through the same transition," said Nabil, "it comes a little bit easier for him, basically, what to expect."
Ahmad's brother and sister have faced some discrimination, especially after 9-11. But those experiences have not overshadowed the benefits of public school. Ahmad's sister, Yusr, enjoys Gentry Middle School's "extras."
"There's a lot of clubs you can choose from," she explained. "There's Math Counts and Science Olympiad and other stuff you can choose from whereas, in the Islamic School, it was small and there weren't any real clubs."
That's because the Islamic School has only 40 total students in preschool through fifth grade. But, everyone knows and treats each other like family. Sarah Dweik has attended Islamic School for seven years, and she is hesitant to leave.
"I feel nervous about seeing everybody," she admitted, "how I'm going to be treated when I'm wearing my scarf during school."
These fifth grade students said they would stay in Islamic School through 12th grade if they could.
"I would want to do this because I learn Arabic and Koran here, which is really, really nice, and I get to pray on time," explained Sarah.
Eventually, the school's principal hopes to expand classes though 8th grade. Tuition and community donations pay for the school.