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The students were selected from an overwhelming number of entries from across the metro Atlanta area and beyond in the first annual “Making a Difference” essay contest sponsored by the ISB.
Winners were students in Georgia middle and high schools. The middle school winners are:
• Fatima Safdar from Fulton Science Academy in Alpharetta, writing about Influential Georgia Muslim Henna Inam, first place
• Alizeh Subhani from ILM Academy in Roswell, writing about Influential Georgia Muslim Dr. Rana Hajjeh , second place
• Ozair Khan from ILM Academy in Roswell, writing about Influential Georgia Muslim Ahmed Salim, third place
The high school winners were:
• Sania Shaikh from Cambridge High School in Milton, writing about Influential Georgia Muslim Hadayai Majeed, first place
• Alaa Elasser from Milton High School, Milton (GA), in second place, writing about Influential Georgia Muslim Maria Ebrahimji
• Faiz Syed from Walton High School in Marietta, third place, writing about Influential Georgia Muslim Farooq Mughal
Contestants were asked to select one of the 100 Influential Georgia Muslims (influencer) and write about that individual, about his or her achievements, and how that influencer inspired the student to reach for his/her own personal and career goals.
Deadline for entries was March 21,2016, and the winners were announced on May 7 at an awards ceremony at Oglethorpe University.
“The essay contest was designed to encourage students from across Georgia to start thinking about their careers and how they will reach their goals. The essays received were so heartwarming and achieved the objectives we set out to achieve,” said Soumaya Kalifa, founder and executive director of Islamic Speakers Bureau of Atlanta.
Three main themes became apparent as the judges reviewed the entries: students did not know there are such amazing role models in their own community; they are proud to read about the accomplishments of these amazing people, and this contest began the discussions between students and their families career, goals, and how to achieve them.
In my opinion, this ISB initiative has been a huge success. The 100 Influential Georgia Muslims, an initiative of the ISB, were recognized in 2014 for their significant contributions in diverse areas, both professional and personal, to their respective communities and as citizens of Georgia. A blind panel of judges selected the winning essays based on: clearly communicated ideas, and correct syntax, grammar, spelling, and punctuation
The Islamic Speaker Bureau works to become the Islamic source for faith and civic collaboration promoting community, civility, and religious understanding and inclusion, bringing education about Islam and world religions to the public sphere within the Atlanta community. The organization teaches and collaborates in an open way to build a better tomorrow.
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