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New Horizon Irvine received 6 out of 9 top awards for 5th – 8th grade in The Hassan Hathout Foundation Essay Contest!

New Horizon School, Irvine’s fifth – eighth grade students participated in the eleventh annual Hassan Hathout Legacy Foundation’s essay contest. The Hassan Hathout Foundation is an educational nonprofit organization whose mission is to spread the message of ‘Love in God’ through the work and legacy of Hassan Hathout. This year, students were asked to submit an essay titled “How to Grow a Loving Heart” in which they describe how this topic relates to a personal activity or experience, historic event, or current world event. The contest expanded on the national level to include numerous distant states, and of all years this year had the most entries submitted. We are pleased to announce that 6 students from our fifth – eighth grades were selected as winners!

We’d like to congratulate Alina, Maryam, Rima, Senna, Omar and Jude for their hard work and truly inspirational writing. The following are excerpts from the students’ essays:

 

 

Another way to have a loving heart is to be grateful.  “He has not thanked Allah who has not thanked people.” (Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), Ṣaḥīḥ Dawud 4811) To thank is to understand and acknowledge something in your life that you are grateful for. Sometimes we forget to be grateful and we only focus on the things in our life that are bad. That can lead us to be ungrateful. Or we can be busy trying to get more in life and forget what we have. We are encouraged to thank people so that our thankfulness to Allah is accepted. Once again, Allah shows us that the way we treat others is an indication on how we will be treated in our Judgment

 

 

 

 

 

Our relationship with our family members is the most important relation to God’s creation since this relationship is tested every day.  In the last 9 months, since the Covid-19 pandemic has forced us to stay isolated from others, this relationship has been tested more than ever.  The Prophet (SAW) said, “ The best of you is he who is the best to his family.”  So it is important to be kind, caring, and loving to our family members. The pandemic has made me even more grateful for having a family that cares for me and loves spending time with me. Since I have been spending more time with my siblings I realized how blessed I am to have them in my life. Without them, I would feel Isolated and lonely.

 

 

 

 

One important relationship we have as humans is our relationship with our families. Allah shows us how important our parents are in the Quran. When the Prophet (PBUH) was asked “O Messenger of Allah, who among the people is most deserving of my good company?” The Prophet responded, “Your mother.” The man asked, “Then who?” The Prophet responded, “Your mother.” The man asked, “Then who?” The Prophet responded, “Your mother.” The man asked, “Then who?” The Prophet responded, “Your father”. This shows how much Allah and the Prophet (PBUH) value our parents, especially our mothers. Our families raised us to be who we are. We should always be kind to them, even when we are bothered by them. Allah always wants us to forgive them. In the Quran, he said, “And lower to them the wing of humility out of mercy and say, “My Lord, have mercy upon them as they brought me up [when I was] small.” This shows that Allah wants you to forgive your parents and ask Allah to forgive them because they raised you and made you the person you are. Even when they bother you, you have to be grateful for them and pray for them to be forgiven. You should interact in a good manner with family, friends, nature, and even people you don’t know well or dislike to always treat them with kindness.

 

 

The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Wondrous is the affair of a believer, as there is good for him in every matter; this is not the case for anyone but a believer. If he experiences pleasure, he thanks Allah and it is good for him. If he experiences harm, he shows patience and it is good for him.” This hadith teaches us that sincere believers trust that Allah will provide whatever is good for them, and they express gratitude when Allah gives them a blessing, and they practice patience when Allah tests them because the tests deepen their faith and bring them closer to Allah. To elaborate more on that topic, Allah says in surah Baqarah, “…Perhaps you dislike something which is good for you and like something which is bad for you. Allah knows and you do not know.” (2:216) When you make dua for something so sincerely and Allah does not fulfill it, trust that He knows that it might not be good for you.

 

 

Hardships are placed by Allah to put us to trial in order to turn them back to Him when we forget and to bring out the best in us. In other words, these are opportunities to grow closer to our faith and to gather good deeds along the way. We are also reminded that the Quran (94: 5-6) illustrates the concept of patience in another way,  “With hardship comes and surely with that hardship comes more ease.” Such powerful verses that Allah repeats it twice to say that no matter what hardship we will be tested with, if we repent and turn back to Him, we will be rewarded with something better, truly He is the Most Beneficial and Most Merciful.

 

 

 

 

A tinge of gratitude rushes through my veins. Imperfection is not befitting of Him. He who designed the universe in such a glorious fashion. I sit down on the wet sand and reflect: God is Beautiful. The Artist of all that is around me. The One who created it all to perfection. A canvas like no other. Then I wonder, Why are we drawn to nature? Sunrises? Animals? Creation? I realize in this moment: I can seek closeness to Allah through admiring the beauty around me. The Beauty He created.

 

 

 

 

We hope these students will continue to inspire us all to “grow a loving heart” and make the world a better place for our children. A special event will be held for the top contestants where each will receive a monetary award.

We’d also like to thank their teachers for their commitment and dedication in educating the leaders of tomorrow, inshAllah. #NHIRVINE#ProudHawk

Alumni Spotlight: Zayd Ezzeldine, New Horizon Class of 2014

Congratulations to Zayd Ezzeldine, New Horizon Class of 2014 for attending the prestigious Dodge College of Film & Media Arts school at Chapman University. He is currently studying Film Production with an Emphasis in Cinematography, and will graduate in 2024, inshallah. Zayd’s accolades include Best Cinematography at Screen Film Festival for “The Sight You Gave,” and Filmmaker of the Year at the Orange County Film Festival 2020. He has also been recognized as OC Register’s 2020 Artist of the Year with a specialty in cinematography.

When asked about how New Horizon prepared him for his high school and college experiences, he shares that “New Horizon provided invaluable foundational knowledge and experience that I still carry with me to this day. Spending my formative years in an Islamic program allowed me to develop a strong sense of identity and a set of values that I can carry with me throughout my life and career.”

Zayd is most interested in working closely with passionate directors to help tell their stories. He hopes to become a commercial Director of Photography/Cinematography. Inshallah we will screen one of his award-winning films at our state-of-the-art theatre at the Community Center in the future!

Check out his website: www.zayddp.com

Alumni Spotlight: Lara Elhassan, New Horizon Class of 2014

Congratulations to Lara Elhassan, New Horizon Class of 2014, on starting her Freshman year UCLA as a public affairs major and a member of the Class of 2024.

What are you most excited about?

“I’m excited to take classes that are actually interesting. Not just to fulfill graduation requirements––but classes about art history, the ancient near east, and philosophy!”

What do you miss the most about New Horizon?

“I miss having the constant support system that New Horizon gave me.”

Tell us about your new blog!

“Like many people out there, quarantine gave me the opportunity to do something I’ve been talking about for years––starting a blog. Even though starting a blog seemed like a lot of work, having something to look forward to gave me the structure that I needed after months of doing nothing. Now, my endless cooking and baking has a purpose other than making me and my family fat.

At this point, Rose, Petal, & Jam is about staying connected and sharing food that I love. I want to post a lot of Middle Eastern foods and things that I grew up eating. I would welcome the idea of having a successful blog, but at this point I wouldn’t be disappointed if I didn’t have a huge following.”

High School: Northwood High School, Graduated Class of 2020

Achievements & Activities:

  • Public Forum Debate Captain,
  • LaunchX Co-Founder and Co-President,
  • ACLU People Power Texter, 
  • Environmental Club Vice President, 
  • Project Reach-in Volunteer Coordinator

Awards:

  • Charter Oak Award for AP US History and AP US Government,
  • OCSL Debate Speaker Award,
  • CHSSA Debate Qualifier

 

Alumni Spotlight – Ennes Kahf, New Horizon Class of 2020

Ennes Kahf, New Horizon Class of 2020, has just released a new podcast, “HoopTalk” with his cohost, Muhammad Shaikh. The podcast discusses all matters related to their love of basketball and NBA.

Ennes has plans to become a sports journalist, and started the podcast to get a jump start on his career path. When asked why he chose to produce a podcast on basketball, Ennes said that “Basketball is the only sport I’ve ever loved and I’ve been playing since I was 5 years old.”

Ennes credits New Horizon for teaching him to take initiative and to not let his age get in the way of his accomplishments. “Just because I’m a teenager and haven’t even started 9th grade yet doesn’t mean that I can’t have a podcast. New Horizon taught me that I can do anything.”

The next episode of “HoopTalk” is out on July 28th. Subscribe and listen to “HoopTalk” on Spotify, Anchor, Apple Podcasts, and other platforms.

https://open.spotify.com/show/66Iu7bMmc9atPTcOqPsDNr

Alumni Spotlight: Hana Elhassan, New Horizon Class of 2008

Congratulations to Hana Elhassan, New Horizon Class of 2008, on starting medical school at the Weill Cornell Medical College as a member of the Class of 2023! Hana is currently considering specializing in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Hana volunteers with with Weill Cornell Center for Human Rights, helping asylum seekers get medical documents to corroborate their legal cases.

Hana graduated from Northwood High School in 2014, and UCLA in 2018 majoring in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics. She took a gap year after graduation and did vaccine development research at Harbor-UCLA Division of Infectious Diseases. Masha’Allah what an amazing inspiration for future generations of American Muslims! #ProudHawks

Protective Measures, Prayers, and Patient Perseverance

All of us are in despair and disbelief over the unfathomable attack on worshippers in two mosques in New Zealand.  When tragedy hits and innocent lives are lost, as a collective body, we ache – and when that tragedy is the result of hatred, we fear for our safety and the safety of those we love.  As we pray for those who lost their lives and for their families, New Horizon will also take additional steps to be vigilant to safeguard our students and families.  Early this morning, I received a call from our local area Lieutenant who, in coordination with the Chief of Police, had already deployed additional patrols and police presence around both campuses. The visible presence of the Irvine Police Department around our campuses serves as a protection and reassurance.  Further, we are blessed to be located in Irvine, the safest city in the nation, with a police department who work in partnership with us. 

In a letter from Heather Laird, the Executive Director of USC Center for Muslim Mental Health and Islamic Psychology (CMMHIP), to New Horizon, she warns that when traumatic events occur young people turn to social media and YouTube for answers. Since there is little regulation of the materials on these sites, children can be traumatized as a result of viewing highly graphic materials and images resulting in empathy desensitization, lack of motivation, and “compassion fatigue”. These can occur in adults and children when exposed to many images and discussions about traumatic events. The CMMHIP recommends that screen time is limited to one half hour to no more than two hours per day depending on the age group, and also for families to avoid looking at graphic or traumatic photos, images or videos. Even reading about these kinds of tragic events over and over may have traumatic effects. The CMMHIP further recommends spending extra time exercising or working with art to manage the stress that we may be in-taking at this time. For more resources, you can visit the CMMHIP website: https://www.ctr4muslimmentalhealth.com/ or call (424) 354-8095.

In the meantime, as a community, we can model resilience for each other and for our children through prayer and continuing to move forward rather than allowing fear to control our behaviors. We will continue to go to our places of worship and our schools while we take appropriate protective measures.

In the Quran, we are reminded: “Oh you who believe! Seek help with perseverance and prayer, for God is with those who patiently persevere” (2:153)   

As we pray today, please ask for God’s protection and for our collective patience in the face of difficulty.  Also, please make du’a for those who have departed, and for the family and friends who remain.  May God keep our communities and those who protect us safe from harm.  

“…Verily in the remembrance of God do hearts find rest.” (13:28)  

Alumni Spotlight: Hala Ozgur, New Horizon Class of 2012

Congratulations to Hala Ozgur, New Horizon Class of 2012, on graduating with honors from Irvine High School and being selected as Irvine High School’s Class of 2018 graduation speaker. Click on the video below to hear a short excerpt from Hala’s commencement speech, “A Class of Changemakers”.

Hala will be majoring in journalism at the University of Southern California in the fall.  Congratulations Hala, we are so proud of you!

Alumni Spotlight: Raya Hijazi, New Horizon Class of 2012

Congratulations to Raya Hijazi, New Horizon Class of 2012, on being selected as Irvine High School’s Class of 2018 valedictorian and being featured in the Orange County Register! Click on the image below to hear Raya’s beautiful song that she performed during commencement!

Alumni Spotlight: Samory Chambers, New Horizon Class of 2012

Congratulations to Samory Chambers, New Horizon’s Class of 2012 and Northwood High School Class of 2018, for winning 1st Place in Irvine Unified’s Civic Learning Student Showcase!

Samory was one of 13 students selected nationwide from over 5,000 students competing in this national competition. Click on the video below to watch Samory perform at the Kennedy Center in Soapbox Nation – A Mikva Challenge Facebook Education Initiative!

Samory, we are so proud of you and wish you much success in all that you do!

(Samory’s spoken word starts at 22:00)

 

Alumni Spotlight: Amin Gosla, Class of 2006 & Asiya Gosla, Class of 2008

Our alumni are the heart of our school because they carry with them the firm foundation of a New Horizon Irvine education in all that they do. It is always a privilege to receive alumni updates and news, Dr. Dina Eletreby was overjoyed when two New Horizon alums reached out to her specifically to share that they’ve been accepted into medical school! It is so heartwarming to know that our alumni remember us long after they graduate, and still feel a close bond to Dr. Eletreby that they would want to personally reach out and share their accomplishments. This is just another demonstration of the lasting impact of our unique program as well as the life-long bond we have with our alumni.

Amin Gosla, New Horizon Class of 2006

“New Horizon is the first place that taught me to explain my faith to others, which is important when meeting with diverse individuals.” Amin Gosla, a first-year medical school student, and a member of the Class of 2006 at New Horizon School, Irvine.

Amin recently graduated in 2016 from University of California Irvine (UCI) with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Biomedical Engineering. He was acknowledged in publication for his research project that aimed to predict the effect of novel cancer drugs on heart muscle using machine learning. Amin also worked at Hitachi Chemical America as a Research Assistant developing biosensor electrodes. Amin served as the leader on a startup project centered around the goal of optically monitoring chemotherapy. The team received several awards in both research and business. He is currently studying Osteopathic Medicine at Des Moines University (DMU) College of Medicine where he is on the board of the Muslim Student Association. Amin recalls Islamic Studies as the most important subject he learned as a student at New Horizon.

When asked about what his favorite memory of New Horizon is, he says playing soccer and basketball with his friends. “Put the effort in to give yourself a strong foundation and have some fun!

Asiya Gosla, New Horizon Class of 2008

“New Horizon taught me to always stay true to my values and be proud of my background.” said Asiya Gosla a first-year medical student at New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Asiya recently graduated in 2016 from University of California, Irvine with a Bachelor’s in Public Health Sciences. During her time at UC Irvine, Asiya volunteered at Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC). After graduation, she continued her work in the healthcare field by interning at Dr. Hamilton’s office in Irvine.

Asiya states that her time at New Horizon is filled with great memories. Some of her favorite memories include the Catalina Island trip and the afterschool photography and writing class.

When asked about advice Asiya would give to current students, she says to enjoy your time at New Horizon because it is a family that you will always have. “The most important thing New Horizon taught me is to be proud of who I am and to put my best effort into everything I do.”