IQRA Academy honors five at graduation

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ST. CROIX - IQRA Academy graduated five students Sunday during a ceremony at the St. George's Botanical Gardens Banquet Hall. It was the school's fifth graduating class.

Principal Edney Freeman welcomed the dozens of people who gathered in the hall and offered inspirational words not only for the students but for those in attendance to help them be better Muslims.

There were some light - and touching - moments during the event as family, friends and the graduates laughed out loud, heckled each other and shed a few tears as a slide presentation showing times spent in class, field trips, studying and around the island made evident the growth and development they had over the years.

Huda Qattum, the class salutatorian, said she was proud of her accomplishment and honored to be part of the Class of 2014.

She described the group as members of a family that have shared many experiences that helped them grow as individuals and as a group. And she said their long nights of studying has paid off and the education received at IQRA Academy is something she will forever treasure.

Qattum will resume her studies at University of the Virgin Islands but intends to remain connected to IQRA.

"I'll be leaving the school but my heart will always remain here, and I will stay close to see the school continue to grow," she said. "This is not the end, the chapter has just begun."

Ameer Donaie was the class valedictorian, and he shared the Student of the Year Award with Qattum. He said his success stemmed from hard work.

He also said he had support from his family and his circle of friends, and he also praised his teachers.

"We have seen lots of teachers on our educational journey and many have left us with information that has helped us to grow and has prepared us for what is to come," he said.

To the rising seniors, Donaie reminded them to remain focused.

The five graduates received the diplomas from their fathers, and each moment on stage was greeted with loud applause. The graduates then gave roses to their parents and other important people in their lives as a show of appreciation and love for support during the years at school.

Freeman reminded students that as Muslims they must remain true to themselves and told their parents to not be overwhelmed by cultures that differ from their own. He urged the parents to be ready to insulate their children from the negative influences of society such as television and to stress family values.

The keynote address was given by Shiekh Ibrahim Elsebaey, imam of the V.I. International Islamic Society. His address was mostly in Arabic; he too encouraged those gathered at the hall to be good representatives of the Muslim community and the school that has molded them.

"You will be ambassadors widely where you go," he said.

He encouraged them to maintain a good relationship with their God through prayer and foster good relationships with the people around them by being truthful in their words and actions.

The graduation was followed by dinner and photo sessions.

- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email

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