Unity mural displays school spirit, pride

By Yejide Muhammad | Last updated: Jan 13, 2014 - 9:15:13 AM

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Students of Muhammad University of Islam in Chicago teamed up and constructed a Unity Mural, taking pride in their school.
History at Muhammad University of Islam (M.U.I.) was made as 2013 came to a close. It all began with an idea from a group of 25 upper grade sisters at the school, led by the one and only Student National M.G.T. and G.C.C. Captain, Sister Sandy Muhammad.

These young ladies and I are members of GOD (Girls of Distinction).

The colorful artwork was the combined efforts of elementary, upper grade and high school students and was displayed on the gymnasium wall.
The group helps fundraise and elevate the spirit of M.U.I. Our first official endeavor was helping to get school faculty, students and parents excited about raising money in our first 2013 Bean Pie Fundraiser that took place in November and December. And, by the grace of Allah (God), our collective efforts netted a whopping $13,000!

Encouraged by the united success of that achievement, we attempted another school-wide spirit lifting event. And based on the lively and enthusiastic responses from M.U.I staff and students, the project was considered to be exciting.

That was proven on Dec. 19 and 20 as students gathered in the gymnasium for a project called, “The Unity Mural: Documenting Our Unity By Expressing Our Creativity”. This activity gave students the opportunity to create a work of art, expressing themselves in their own way using any supplies available to them.

The factor that connected us in this activity was a simple hand print that showed unity amongst all of the students at M.U.I. In the end, each individual student creation was displayed on one of the gymnasium walls for everyone to see!
“It allowed us to express ourselves and it was something we don’t usually get to do,” said eighth grade student and GOD member, Sister Maisa Muhammad.

“Without self-expression, we as students can’t reach our full academic potential,” she added.
When younger students were asked about their own personal projects, they responded by sharing different things they had drawn on their poster board. Many had drawn what they would like to be, ranging from various things from a ninja to a wedding planner. Others drew pictures of places they’d like to be such as a beach or at the park.

Overall, students drew something or someone they loved, mostly their families. When questioned about if they’d like to do it again, everyone gave a definite yes!
Teachers and staff also had a positive response. Dean of Girls, Sister Jeniece Muhammad was proud. “I was very encouraged to see the Girls of Distinction take a leadership role in our school.”

Assistant Director of MUI, Brother Jason Karriem agreed and added, “Honestly, I think it’s a form of expression that all students should engage in and they often enjoy it. I thought it was great and I would really like for this to take place again in the future”.

Most of the intermediate teachers were thankful for the opportunity to have a break and thought the activity allowed students to demonstrate school spirit and take ownership in our school. Teacher Assistant, Sister Cherise X said she felt the project promoted a sense of community and kinship. While other teachers, such as fourth and fifth grade sisters instructor Sister Delores Muhammad said she thought the activity helped students focus better which in turn would help them focus better in class.

School spirit was at an all-time high during the exciting creation of our Unity Mural and it had a positive effect on everyone. The activity was encouraging and brought us together not only as a school but a family. In my opinion, it would be excellent for this to happen again in the near future. Thanks to the unity of all of us, the event was very uplifting.

Members of Girls of Distinction also considered the project a success and were very encouraged by the event as the group moves forward.

“I think it really helped us bond with the younger grades. Usually we as the older students are so focused on our academics that we don’t pay attention to the people looking up to us. And it helped us take pride in being a part of such a small but unified environment,” said Aminah Muhammad, a tenth grade student and president of GOD.

(Yejide Muhammad is 13 and a ninth grade student at M.U.I. in Chicago, IL)