Student Nomination Story

Garden of the Sahaba Academy (GSA) is an Islamic School. I first started Garden of the Sahaba Academy for Kindergarten. I was 5 years old. Being a Muslim, I wanted to wear the hijab ( head scarf) to school. On the first day of school, I saw that I was the only one in my class wearing the hijab. The younger girls in the school don’t have to wear the hijab. This was my first year at the school. I didn’t know any of the other kids in my class. Most of the other kids knew each other because they have been going to GSA since PreK-3. I wanted to make new friends, but I knew I was different because I was wearing the hijab. Sister Salima was my teacher for KG. After being in the school for a few weeks, I realized that Sister Salima was different too. Sister Salima was the only teacher in the school that wore a niqab (the face covering for Muslim women). Sister Salima was ok with being different; and, I knew Sister Salima was proud of me because I was different. I don’t think she ever told me that she was proud of me, but I felt it. I became ok with being different. KG was great and I learned a lot and made a lot of friends. For 2nd grade, Sister Salima was my teacher again. I was really happy. While I was in the first grade, I didn’t make it too far in the classroom Spelling Bee. So, for second grade, I was going to study more and try my best. When I was 2 1/2 years old, I had a stroke. Because of the stroke, I still have problems with my left hand and speaking clearly at times. I was different from all of the other kids in my class. I studied and practiced a lot for the Spelling Bee. I was one of the 3 students from my class that was chosen to compete with the other students from 3rd grade. I came in 2nd place. I was happy and I know Sister Salima was proud of me. I love Sister Salima. Sister Salima has taught me that it is okay to be different. Sister Salima has taught me that I should never use my being different as an excuse to not be proud and ok with how Allah has made me or what Allah has given me. Sister Salima taught me that I should always do what is right and good and pleasing to Allah no matter what. Sister Salima is not my teacher this year, but I see her almost everyday. This year, I’m learning about having pure intentions (doing things for the pleasure of Allah) when doing anything. That is what I learned from Sister Salima. She never said it to me, but she taught me through her actions. Sister Salima has helped me to be ok with being different. Sister Salima has taught me to try to be the type of person who can make people happy and feel good by just doing the right thing with the right intentions. Even though Sister Salima wears a niqab, when I look at her, I can feel her smiling at me and I know she is proud of me. Thank you Sister Salima.

Naajiyah Moyenda

To see more exceptional teacher nominees, visit The Honor Roll.