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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.”

Alumni Spotlight: Yumna Khan, Class of 2005

Yumna Khan is an outgoing, creative producer and co-founder of Stranger Magic Productions! Khan is a member of New Horizon, Irvine’s class of 2005, and cites her experience at New Horizon for her attachment and love for the American Muslim community. “Without New Horizon, I don’t think I would be as proud to be an American Muslim as I am right now and to do something about it.”

Khan reflects back on her time at New Horizon as something she still holds dear today. “Big Rock Creek was my first time away from home and made me feel older, and so independent. I loved the pranks and the fun we had together. We still talk about our camping experience until now. My best friend is Janna Soliman, I met her when I was ten years old, and now she is a teacher at New Horizon!”

When asked about advice Khan would give to current students, she says to “enjoy your time here. When you leave New Horizon you will miss your surroundings. Everyone is family at the school. “

“New Horizon made me stand up for who I am. New Horizon helped me accept where I came from and prepared me to be proud of my faith. Of course we learned Islamic Studies and everything, but it was more than that. You are in a school and surrounded by everyone who believes in the same things you do. You can’t get that in a textbook. Being around so many people who believe in the same thing but come from different cultures, and traditions. We are still united and equal in the same.”

Khan graduated in 2015 from UCSD with a degree in Communications Studies. Since graduating from New Horizon, Khan has produced a film series called Unfair and Ugly and is currently fundraising to film the first season of her show. “The reason I’m going back into production and make content that is relatable is so that kids don’t grow up being embarrassed of where they come from. That is why we need media representation, so that more people can have the same name as someone on a show. To have a similarity with someone you are watching on TV. “

Khan has 8 days left to make her show a reality. “We need YOUR help to make this show a reality. If you want to see a show where someone looks like you & talks like you then now is your chance to make that happen. I need you all to take action by contributing with whatever you can & sharing this amongst your friends. Help us start this movement with MORE media representation. We need it more than ever right now.”

To support Khan’s efforts, check out:

https://igg.me/at/unfairandugly

Dr. Dina Eletreby Awarded Klingenstein Fellowship

We are happy to share that Dr. Dina Eletreby has been awarded a Klingenstein Fellowship to attend the 2017 Heads of Schools Program at Teachers College, Columbia University.  As one of only 20 Heads of School selected in the world, Dr. Eletreby now joins a distinguished group of School Heads as a Klingenstein Fellow selected from a highly competitive pool of national and international applicants.  The Klingenstein Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College develops and strengthens leadership among administrators in independent and international schools. The program cultivates administrators’ ambitions to make enduring differences in a rapidly-changing environment. The intensive program is a two-week, fully funded fellowship for heads of independent and international schools and offers a unique opportunity to renew vision, passion and energy for school leadership. Dr. Eletreby, when asked to submit a research focus on an educational issue of importance to New Horizon, submitted the following:

“As part of the Strategic Vision developed in 2011, New Horizon School, Irvine set an expansion goal that included purchase of an additional site to extend the school’s capacity and reach by accommodating students through 8th grade using a 2-campus model.  The current campus will transform into a Lower School Campus, serving grades Preschool through Third, and an Upper School Campus at the new site, serving grades Fourth through Eighth.  The Upper School Campus is set to open in Fall 2018 and will require careful consideration as New Horizon enters this crucial phase in its development.  Multiple research questions come to mind, including:  What other schools have a successful 2-campus model – split in this way or a similar way? What are the benefits and pitfalls of such a model?  What happens to school communities as a school grows? What should we be looking for in terms of resources and resource division between campuses with regards to operational realities? How will a change in campus location impact students with regards to performance and performance expectations – and similarly, how does a 2-campus model effect faculty satisfaction, performance, and retention?”

When asked what this means to her, Dr. Eletreby said, “I see this as another affirmation of New Horizon’s excellence, as an opportunity to bring the best educational and administrative practices back to our community, and as a chance to inform a national and international audience of educators about our incredible school.”