By: Ahmed Nieves
The Al-Rasheed Academy in Lackawanna, NY had its annual dinner over the weekend. The dinner was held at the Adam’s Mark Hotel, in downtown Buffalo. This year marks the third year that the Academy has held this event. The goal of the event was to raise money for the school in order to continue to provide an Islamic education to the 174 students that currently attend the school.
Al-Rasheed Academy originally started in 2009 as the Almustagbal Foundation, a tutoring program with only 7 male students. By 2010 the foundation had grown to 21 male students. In 2011 girls were also being tutored and the foundation grew to over 50 students of both boy and girl students. The community in Lackawanna put pressure of the foundation to open a school and by 2012 the state approved the foundation becoming a school. The Al-Rasheed Academy was born in 2012 and went from K-4 and had over 60 students. By 2013 the school had 174 students and went up and went up to 8th grade. Today the school has two locations one for the girls schools and one for the K-2nd boys. From K-2 boys and girls are together in one classroom and afterwards they are separated. The school is looking to add a high school at some point in the near future. Additional future plans include expanding the school building or purchasing a new building and to extend the Quran and Arabic study.
The event was held on Saturday, March 15, 2015 and it started at 6pm and went until a little after 10pm. The event costed $40 and an additional $7 for childcare. The cost of the event included a dinner and keynote speaker Sheikh Karim Abu Zaid. The event started off with the Founding President, Anwar Al-Kalai giving a welcoming statement. After the welcome statement, Anas Fadhel recited Surah Ya’seen from the Quran in Arabic and another student gave an English interpretation for the attendees. Later on school principal Aminul Islam gave a statement and students entertained the crowd with Islamic musical performances.
At the event, we were able to speak with a couple of people about their view of the school. Zachary Elbaneh, an 8th grade student at the school said he receives a great education which includes general education classes as well as Quran and Arabic classes. The school also has its own basketball team which plays against other teams in the area. We also spoke with Joshua Griesinger who is a 2nd grade teacher at the school. Mr. Greisinger has only been with the school for one year but and expressed to us how happy is to be teaching there in such a positive atmosphere and around so many amazing students. Both Zachary Elbaneh and Joshua Griesinger were both really glad to see how many people came out to support the school at this event.
After enjoying the dinner, the event concluded with keynote speaker Sheikh Karim Abu Zaid asking the attendees from both the men and women’s side for donations to the school. The goal of the fundraiser was to raiser $130,000 by the end of the event. At the end of the event the school had successfully raised $114,500.
This event was a great way to not only learn about the school and all of the amazing things they are doing but also to give to a great cause.
For more information about the school and/or to donate, please click here.