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In this Issue...

WFAA’s Colleen Coyle with Weatherminds, Visits for Geography Awareness Week

Pressure on Students page 3

Hajj Simulation

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The Buffy Coleman Show Insp Inspires Students page 6 pa Brighter Horizons Academy


Volume 7 Issue 2

November/December 2010

Garland, TX 75044

Sizzling Savories Faraha Hasan Staff Writer





Major projects need funds. During the Soccer Stadium Informational Session that was held early in November, Ms. Linda Ghaffari proposed an idea to help raise funds for the building of BHA’s much needed soccer stadium. A barbecue to fulfill Coach Chelsey Rictor’s suggestion for a fundraiser where the students are involved, since the future soccer stadium will belong to them. BBQ meals, sponsored by the BHA P.E. Department and the students, were set to roll. Scheduling and organization were priorities, but Ms. Rictor said, “The biggest problem was getting the menu.” Mr. Ali El-Khalid from Bismillah, an international grocery store in Plano, provided the most important part of a BBQ: the chicken. He precooked the chicken, so it wouldn’t have to be barbecued for too long. He made no profit from this sale because he sold it at cost. People were given a box with BBQ chicken, beans, potato salad and a roll for $10. The beans, potato salad and rolls were provided by the volunteers. “I thought the food was good, but I didn’t like the potato salad,” Faten Mohammed[9] said. There were quite a few student volunteers, mainly from high school, who helped a lot. “I don’t feel like mentioning one without mentioning them all,” Rictor said. Coach Rictor, Coach Arbad Ismail, Ms. Linda


Opinion 2

Editorial 3

News 6

Features 7

Entertainment 8


Nov/Dec 2010






Naailah Nathani Staff Writer

Aisha Lee Managing Editor

If you’re like me, you like to procrastinate down to the very last hour right before the test. However, there are just some inevitable forces that are set in place to prevent us from doing exactly that; they’re called study guides. They ruin our perfectly free time by making us crack a book, but in the end they are very helpful. Why? They actually make you study. See, it’s the guilt factor in play. You feel guilt so you’re forced to do a study guide, and therefore, you subconsciously train your mind to retain the information after answering hours of questions. ChaCha (Q&A website) says it takes your brain about seven times to remember something. Many opinions have sustained the same fact; you need to see ”learn” something 7-21 times to recall the information. Most study guides are set up to repeat the same questions over and over in different formats and variations to get the brain to open up to different possibilities. Study guides are made to help you study. Even if it is four pages long, it’s much shorter than skimming all the notes and the textbook. Think about it: how will you study



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without a study guide? Our curriculum has used them so long that your mind will begin to make a list of the things you need to study, also known as a study guide. So, instead of having your brain do double the work of making up questions and answering them, your teacher has nicely complied the list for you all typed up and ready to go. The preparation for a test comes omes down to studying. ng. If you’re not going to o study using a study guide, then how w are you going to o study? Either using your own or a teacherprovided ed one, you will always ways need a study guide to study. It’s t’s the most efficientt way y to help organize ganize the main n points over a wide range ange of topics. s. If you u don’t like study guides then you u obviously sly don’t like ke good grades. rades.

[sigh] Before the eagerly awaited winter break, we had to go through something that could have caused severe brain damage: the dreaded MIDTERMS! Midterms come every year, and in preparation for that, we have to complete study guides. I always question the purpose of study guides. Are they supposed to just help us “get through” the exams? Are they the means for students who do not study to pass? Are they really meant to help us prepare for the exams, or are they cumbersome just a cum task that we w have complete before to complet the exam? Now, in cases, study some cases guides may be half a slip o of paper just saying sayin what we have covered through the year and what wh parts we need to ne study. In I others, it may not n be so easy.


Some Som study guides may guide be up u to 16 PAGES PAGE LONG and full of questions, some of which you may not n even r e m e m b e r. Some study

guides may even contain study material from previous grades and even some from old tests. In one such case, I saw a study guide which just had questions from old study guides and they were not even changed! I believe that even if you are giving the same study guide, you should at least mix it up; remove some of the material, make it more interesting, so the students feel that, “You know, I actually learned something from the study guide and that it will help me on the test!” Many parents also complain that the study guides are extremely long and students as young as 3rd grade are not capable of finishing 10-15 pages of material. Teachers make it either optional or mandatory, which confuses some students. Most students, if given the optional choice, do not do the study guide and are said by teachers to have not retained the information. These students state that, “The study guides do not help; they handicap us and are a useless waste of time. In conclusion, I think that study guides should be discarded; class reviews should take their place, and students should be provided just the chapter objectives to help them prepare for the exams.

Test before Tests = Too Much Stress Aisha Lee Managing Editor

Aseel Dweik [10] said. “Whenever I studied for those. it was extra reviewing.” Some teachers do not want to put any pressure on the students, but they are required to have at least three test grades for each nine weeks. “Sometimes we’re forced to do it even though it’s not the best situation,” Ms. Sofia Zamir, a math teacher, said. Other teachers focus on assigning the required three tests much earlier, and then dedicate the last week for a study guide and review. “The very last week we should be wrapping up the material and students are busy working on study guides,” Insaf Lachtar,

Head of the Social Studies Department, said. “It’s better to plan.” Even though teachers are required to have lesson plans, sometimes the unexpected happens. These unplanned events delay the lesson plans and postpone the tests. “My friends [...] have their plans, but unplanned things come up and mess up the plans,” Lachtar said. The BHA policy states that students are required to have sufficient reviewing time in order to perform the best for major exams. “Teachers are highly discouraged from giving major exams or projects during the week of such exams,” Dr. Adnan Omran, Principal, said. “Certainly,


The week before the departmental exams can be extremely stressful for students. This stress is caused by the load of work given during that week, which includes: regular tests, projects and quizzes, as well as the usual amount of homework. “It’s not fair to students because they’re expected to divide their focus and attention between tests and departmentals,” Aaminah Farooq [9], said. “It’s also harmful to their health because it adds to the already high stress level.” Though this higher-thanusual level of work can be an overdose, some students take advantage of the opportunity to look over the chapters again. “I actually like them,”

I will remind the teachers about the importance of considering the level of pressure and apprehension

that students have due to such significant exams.”




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Race to the Top: Pressure on Students Editorial Staff Editor-In-Chief Afia Tariq Managing Editor Aisha Lee

Staff Writers Abdullah Elheet Hena Hafizullah Faraha Hasan Aisha Lee Safa Mohammed Naailah Nathani Khadija Saifullah Sana Syed Rahel Usman Abdullah Zidan

Photography Staff Head of Photography Aysha Ahmed Staff Photographers Hadi Abusaad Sara Ahmad Yasmeen Akel Mohammad Dalaq Maryam Elnashar Amir Hamza Fatima Hanif Sahar Kuzbari Dania Tassabhji Sara Zalghout Abdullah Zidan Sumayyah Zidan

Designing Staff Layout Designers Ayah Elnashar

High school should be a good experience, but with rapidly changing curriculums, exams, tons of homework, and assignment deadlines, it turns out not to be. Students are constantly under pressure by colleges, their fellow classmates, the society, and especially by parents. We have overscheduled, overstressed, and over competitive school kids. Colleges are known to look for high grades, extracurricular involvement and interests that make people ‘unique’. In the race to get into the best colleges, students over-stress themselves to BE the best. To win in this race, you need to be involved in the arts, sports; you have to be smart, and at the same time you have to find yourself, because if you don’t, you’ll pretty much lose yourself. Students are also always worrying about the job they’re going to get, and how much money they will make; this is what success


In the race to become the best, they are pressured to perform well, but they are not necessarily pressured to learn deeply and comprehensively. But what good will it do when we have an entire population of dentists and doctors who cannot think critically? These jobs need people to be problem solvers, but the factors that get students to think are pushed aside most of the time. Most of the students’ time goes away in just doing endless tedious homework. There is a saying of the Prophet (pbuh)* that says that whenever his companions would come to learn new verses of the Holy Quran, he would usually give them no more than ten. The companions would first memorize them, then fully

UNDERSTAND them, then ACT upon them, and then go on to the next set of verses. If we develop this method in our education system, students would be able to learn more conceptually. Students also have a tendency to cram in all the information needed, but forget it right after they are done with the exam. This technique isn’t very productive. It becomes a problem when students get to college. The college system requires critical thinking, to which most high school students have not been accustomed. If cramming persists, future professionals will look back not remembering anything they have learned. In a race, there are also competitors; in this case, they are fellow classmates. Students are always competing to be the best. They overstress themselves with their many hours of

homework, and then on top of that, they go into extracurricular activities, sports, and more. They also have to deal with their own social life, and it may just turn into a complete cycle of depression. This depression may get so bad, it may cause suicide thoughts or suicide. Society today expects a lot from children. They want us to be the future generation, but sometimes you have to take it one step at a time. School pressure is taken into two different aspects: cope or drop. Some students have the courage to cope with it, but much of the time, we forget that there are the students who look at this system, and don’t want to deal with it. This creates a huge gap in the education levels of our society. We are left with an outcome of high achievers and under achievers. Without a middle class to balance us, it may create turmoil of a class system in society. Parents nowadays are afraid that their children won’t be as successful as they are. They push their kids to be the best, therefore just adding to the pressure on the kids. Kids’ social lives are also at stake in this entire cycle.

Beth Almallah Amina Syed

Advisors -NewspaperNawal Elnashar -WritingTeresa Nikravan -PhotographyStacey Ahmed

Proofreader Jaena Almallah

People have associated good grades with good personality. For example, if a child has good grades, he/she is known to be a good kid. If a child has bad grades, he/she is known to be a bad kid; whereas, this might not be the case. Children need start to being appreciated for other things such as creativity and critical thinking.

The BHA Post is published by the Journalism Club of Brighter Horizons Academy, 3145 Medical Plaza Dr., Garland, TX 75044. The BHA Post is a member of the Interscholastic League Press Conference and a recipient of 2005 Award of Honor in overall ILPC newspaper competition.


Letters to the Editors All of our readers are encouraged to participate in the forum by submitting letters to the editor for publication. Letters can be mailed or E-mailed to journalism@ Letters must include the signature and telephone number of the writer. We reserve the right to edit letters for length and grammar. Disclaimer The views and opinions of the journalism students do not necessarily reflect or represent the views of the Academy’s Administration. The BHA Post is a platform by which the student body’s voice may be represented within the highest journalistic ethical standards.

is in America. We need to redefine success. Trying to do all these things at one time can put students under a lot of stress and depression.

We have to change the ideology of what makes a good education system; what makes the type of individual we are trying to create? We really need to think: what does it take to create a happy, motivated, successful human being? *(pbuh): peace be upon him



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Nov/Dec 2010

Sophmores Sponsor Annual Hajj Simulation Rahel Usman Staff Writer

Every year the Sophomore Class of BHA hosts the Hajj Simulation for the elementary students. This year was no different; the class of 2013 hosted the Hajj Simulation in the ECE building on November 11, 2010, the day of Eid celebrations. Each student in this class receives a grade for participating. Every student is assigned a specific station and group. The group works together to build their stations and helps



Principal, Dr. Adnan Omran, takes part in the simulation as he tests out a tent in “Muzdalifah” for size. Abdul-Rahman Al -Kadri [10] and AbdulRahman Yassine [10] simulate the Halq/ Taqseer (cutting of the hair) station.


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other groups with their station since this is a group effort. Then, the ECE students come, one grade at a time. They learn, or are reminded of, the steps of Hajj and the proper process. Afterwards, when the students are gone and the passports are checked, clean up begins. Cleaning up is much faster than setting up. In the end, it is a success due to the cooperation and the effort of everyone involved.

4th graders pretend to spend the night in Muzdalifah, a city in Saudi Arabia in route between Arafah and Mina, before proceeding to Ramil-Jamrat in Mina. Yasmine Itani [10] is putting final touches on the path between Safa and Marwa during the setup. Performing Sa’i between the two hills of Safa and Marwa serves to commemorate Hagar’s search for water and God’s mercy in answering prayers.


(Pictured standing L to R) Abdullah Zidan [10] and Mohammad Dalaq [10] teach pre-schoolers the Talbiyah* that is to be recited during their “pilgrimage”. Omar Alahmady [10] prepares to build the structure for the model Ka’bah. The school’s model Ka’bah is roughly 6 feet tall. Approximately 1/7th of the Ka’bah’s actual size.




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Nov/Dec 2010


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*The Talbiyah that is recited is as follows: “Labbayka Allaahumma Labbayk” (My God, I have responded to You). “Labbayka Laa Shareeka Laka Labbayk” (I have responded to You, and I proclaim that there is no other god besides You; I have responded to You).

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Rahel Usman [10] and her classmates put their final touches to the Ka’bah during the simulation’s setup. 4th graders throw rocks at the Jamrat. This ritual of stoning the devil, symbolizes the trials of Abraham as he was comanded to sacrifice his son. Each pillar represents Abraham’s refusal of the devil’s enticement. God had mercy and spared Abraham’s son, and commanded him to sacrifice a ram instead. (Pictured L to R) Omar Kashu [10] and Abraham Husseini [10] roll in their materials to set up the model of Ramil-Jamrat.









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10th graders, Aseel Dweik, Deema Zalloum, Samer Al-Rimawi, and Saad Najmi welcome students Mount Arafah. They explain that the day pilgrims spend on Arafah is a day for repentance and prayer. Samer Al-Rimawi checks the student’s passports before they check in to their next destination.

To view this issue in color, visit

Campus Eid Celebrations Khadija Saifullah Staff Writer

Coordinator) and watched the movie Flight Plan. These were in conjunction with separate boys and girls soccer games by the PE department. For the potluck, students were asked to bring any dish or drink, with the exception of soda, gum, and candy. The girls wore the PE uniforms under their abayas, with any color shoes, socks, and scarves. Boys wore their PE uniforms and any colored sneakers. Students and teachers expressed positive feedback about the event. “They were really fun and a great way to celebrate, but the one thing that could have been improved is the time,” Ayda Kokash [9] said. “Everything was sort of crowded together all happening at once with all the activities happening at the same time for all the grades. Some people didn’t have time to go to the obstacle course, and the soccer games took a long

This year BHA students celebrated the momentous occasion of Eid-ul-Adha on November 11, 2010 with various activities organizedby the PTO. “I think Eid celebration is the most important activity in our Islamic school because it is the most important holiday in Islam, and, for students, this is their chance to share and feel happiness and joy among their peers and to be connected to their school,” Sr. Nahla Hosny [PTO member] said. The ECE building had a Muslim performer (who conducted a puppet show, competitions, and Nasheed), a potluck lunch, in-class activities, and goody-bags coordinated with the help of the Room Parents, while alternating PE activities throughout the day. The Main building rented a huge inflatable obstacle course and sports center with the help of Stacey Ahmad (Extracurricular Activities


Faraha Hasan Staff Writer

time. But, all in all, it was awesome!” “Having the Eid activities was a great idea. Students had a lot of fun and enjoyed the day celebrating Eid,” Ms. Noor Taleb (Middle School English teacher) said. “Although, they could improve it in the upcoming years by having a wider variety of activities for the students to participate in,” she added. “There is always room for improvement, such as implementing Eid activities in our school calendar and getting more parents to volunteer for future activities. All the teachers and staff collaborated somehow in the celebration. Thanks to them for their great help and support,” Hosny said.

Buffy Coleman visits BHA and inspires students to trust in God, work hard, and be the best they can be Aisha Lee Managing Editor

a basketball contest; it involved nine students trying to catch trick passes. Mustafa Omer [9] won the contest and an autographed photo. One last word from the motivational basketball magician, “Go for your goals and dreams and don’t let someone tell you that you can’t do it.”


tricks that awed the crowd. Buffy demonstrated juggling basketballs, spinning two balls at once, spinning balls behind his back, dribbling three balls….hey, he couldn’t have joined the Harlem Wizards for nothing. His hardest trick is “Juggling three balls, because it needs balance.” He also conducted

Around the World in Five Days Geography week promotes Global Awareness

Ex-Globetrotter Teaches Us to Believe Buffy Coleman, former basketball player for the Harlem Wizards, presented his message and tricks to 4th-11th grade students on December 1st. He has done assemblies all over the nation for 13 years encouraging students to focus on their dreams and do well in school while demonstrating some amazing basketball tricks. In fact, Buffy has visited 2,000 schools all over the nation, addressing one million adults and children in his career as a public speaker. Growing up, he wanted to be a basketball star, but it’s hard when you’re only 5’6. It didn’t stop him though. Buffy has turned his success into a dream to inspire and encourage others. “I want to encourage you to be the best you can be in life.” He says to “Dream big; you never know what God has in store for you.” He uses his gifts to touch lives around the world, to teach people to respect, and to tell students to “believe in YOU.” The show part of the assembly was filled with



Nov/Dec 2010

Buffy Coleman shows off his astonishing basketball skills during his visit with our BHA students.

Geography Awareness Week was established in 1987 as an annual opportunity for families and schools to be involved in activities that raise the importance Colleen Coyle, Channel 8 Metereologist, is repeatedly of asked for her autograph. “Are you really on TV?”, understanding yelled out an excited 6th grader. WFAA provides Weathermind visits to local schools. geography. This year’s Colleen Coyle from Geography Awareness WFAA Channel 8 gave Week was November 14, a presentation about 2010 to November 20, 2010. meteorology and the It is nationally celebrated forecast on Wednesday. that following week She’s part of the Channel however, the Social Studies 8 weather team that visits department planned it the many schools across North week before, due to school Texas as part of their closure during the week of Weatherminds program, Eid break. to help you stay informed On Monday, the entire and prepared when severe Main building weather takes was driven to aim on your the Museum neighborhood’. of Nature and “First off, Science in learn about your Dallas to watch environment an IMAX film and your called Arabia surroundings. 3D. Everyone After you do, who attended, you will learn The film, Arabia 3D is watched a to care about it produced by MacGillivray movie about much more,” Freeman Films and was the amazing said Coyle culture, history, released to IMAX Theatres concerning and IMAX 3D Theatres and religion of Geography starting February 2010. Saudia Arabia. Awareness The movie displayed the Week. history of how Saudia “By knowing about Arabia originated, footage the weather in your area, of 2 million Muslims you can better prepare gathered in Makkah, and yourself for whatever may modern day Saudia Arabia. be thrown your way,” said Ms. Stacey Ahmed booked Coyle on why students the whole theater for 6thneed to be more aware of 12th grades, teachers, and weather and meteorology. staff. Brett Stanley, Dallas “I’m hoping we’ll make Office Protocol Manager, them more aware of the gave a presentation about importance of learning international protocol and geography,” said Insaf the World Affairs Council Lachtar, 9th and 10th grade for 10th and 12th graders on Social Studies Teacher Thursday. Lachtar also hopes that The guest speakers the students will be more are what grasped the aware of the importance students’ attention of freshwater, locally and during Geography globally, as this year’s Awareness Week. Social theme was ‘Freshwater’. Studies Teacher, Ms. Videos about freshwater Claudia Ahmad, believes and global water issues Geography Awareness were shown to the students Week can happen again in the Main building in next year because the their separate lunchtimes students showed interest on Tuesday. this year.“I think the ones “I think that access who attended the small to water can become as sessions learned something important as access to from the speakers,” Ahmad energy sources. It can be said. used as a weapon,” said Hopefully, the school Claudia Ahmad, 5th and will have another 6th grade Social Studies Geography Awareness Teacher. Week next year with more For the 6th and 9th speakers and activities for graders, meteorologist the students to enjoy. PHOTO COURTESY OF STACEY AHMED

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Nov/Dec 2010

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School-Wide Effort for Soccer Stadium --Continued from page 1


they know the importance of the project and will help by donating funds and time,” said Ms. Ghaffari. Although the BBQ was successful and we’re closer to our goal of $250,000 to build our soccer stadium, more activities to raise money are needed. In order to reach this goal, the cooperation and spirit of the students, staff, and parents is needed. A soccer stadium will open new doors for BHA’s future, but it’s still only a model on a piece of paper. “The soccer stadium will provide a safe environment for the students to exercise and play in; to relax and bond with their fellow Muslim friends, instead of seeing other places for enjoyment. It will also encourage participation in soccer games and allow BHA to represent themselves in the community and expose it to our children practicing their religion. Hopefully, this will help us make

da’wah and open up more minds to who and what we really are,” said Ms. Ghaffari. Hopefully, students, teachers, and parents want to keep up to date on how the funding for the future soccer stadium is going. Amir Hamza [11], Noora Khalaf [11], Aamir Syed [11] and Ms. Ghaffari have made a website Ms. Maria Zidan, surrounded by student showcasing how volunteers, try to stay warm around the grill while selling boxed food to families. close or far we are from our goal. soccer stadium, but it’s Hamza, Khalaf, and Syed only a dream right now. are developing it while The BBQ has brought our Ms. Ghaffari is acting as school one step closer to mentor. It also includes the making of this dream. videos and articles. By mid-January, bhasoccer. Visit to check com should be up and on this project’s progress and working. show your support. Many students are ecstatic over the future PHOTO BY MARYAM ELNASHAR

and student volunteers, and El-Khalid grilled the chicken (‘Our master griller’ according to Ms. Ghaffari). They raised a net profit of $4200 on December 17th, 2010. 320 prepaid tickets were sold; the grand total of 530 plates were sold. Future events that could be as successful as the BBQ are in the works. “We are planning similar events again for the future; plus, raising money through the education of parents The soccer game between seniors and the rest of the and the highschoolers was fun for everyone to watch. community Mezher Mustafa [12] attempts to block a pass to to ensure Abdullah El-Heet [10].

Ghaffari and her husband, Aziz; Ms. Maria Zidan, Math teacher; Mr. Nizar AlSaid, a PTO President; and Mr. Mahmoud Gomaa, the VP, were the ‘little committee’ involved the most. Together, this committee, other parent

Talented Soccer Stars Go Select Opportunities for Players to go Pro Rahel Usman Staff Writer


Jameel Zalloum [7]. Every year more than Older players travel 1,000 kids join their local to other states to soccer teams. However, play. While younger only the top two percent players, stay within of these soccer players achieve extreme excellence, Texas. Recently, Harroon master the sport, and Ismail traveled to become select players. North Carolina for Exactly what is select a college showcase soccer? tournament with According to Coach his soccer team, Arbad Ismail, it is a the Ayses.Based five-step jump from on his spectacular recreational soccer. He performance on explains, “They are November 17th, he coached by professional soccer coaches (however, has been invited we are very thankful to to the University BHA parent volunteer of Illinois, Ayses player and BHA student, Harroon Ismail [11] (on right), faces off against North coaches). All grade levels, Limbcomb University Carolina United on November 17th at a college showcase. boys and girls can play.” (Tennessee), friend.” His advice to the students: Anyone can try out, but Southwestern Dweik travels but not “Exercise, work hard, one has to prove to the University (Kansas), and out of state. He travels listen to your coach, listen coach he/she is good New York’s Union College. to diff erent fields for to your parents, continue enough. Coach Arbad Ismail has worked very tournaments. He says it’s to pray and be a good says, “Parents need to hard to reach this point. He hard to train to be better, Muslim.” understand says, “[It takes] but it has helped him in Younger players who [that for their a lot of practice, being bett er in caring, haven’t traveled yet are kids] to be on hard work, “[It takes] a lot helping his parents, and Zalloum and Dweik, as select they need dedication, of practice, hard staying fit. mentioned above. to understand drive, and work, dedication, Dweik says the Zalloum plays in a soccer and the passion. Also diff erence between division called PSA-2. game. It requires drive, and passion. healthy eating recreational soccer and When asked what he likes a certain level of Also healthy eating habits are a select soccer is that, “Select most, he answers, “It’s soccer skill.” habits are a must.” must.” As proof is more complex because of fun because no one there Quite a few of the amount the bigger fi eld, but there sucks!” According to him, boys possess of hard work aren’t a lot of rules.” He it’s not hard unless you’re that soccer and practice, continues, “It’s fun because lazy and can’t play. skill and are on select he jogs almost everyday it’s a big field. You get to Zalloum goes for soccer teams. Some are in for two miles with ankle shove and push. You have training 3-4 days a week, high school, like Harroon weights. He started playing space to run.” He says although, he is allowed Ismail [11], and some are soccer at the age of five on being in Select soccer has to go everyday except for in middle school, like the BHA Stars team with helped him make many Saturday. He also likes it Hamzah Al-Kadri [7], his dad as coach. friends out of state. because it “Makes me a Zakariya Kuzbari [7], After five years, he healthy man” and “almost Ahmad Dweik [6] and moved on to Select at ten. everyone there is my

Want to Join a Select Soccer Team? OPEN TRYOUTS START JUNE 1ST Classic Academy Leagues Available for U-9 and U-10 Boys and Girls Leagues Classic Leagues Available for U-11 through U-19 Boys and Girls Leagues For more information, visit

Qualities of a Great Soccer Player Knowledge of the Game Positional Play Vision Awareness “Instintive” Reaction Adaptability Inventiveness Skill Application of technique under pressure Mental Ability Confidence Mental Toughness Fitness Endurance Speed Balance and Agility Strength



Nov/Dec 2010


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Personalities Let’s Get Personal! If you walked into BHA on Friday, the last day of the midterms, you’d have thought someone died. There were cup-cakes and desserts, sad good-byes, hugs, tears and presents in the foyer all surrounding a smiling Ms. Noor Taleb, now former teacher of seventh and eighth grade English. “ She was one of the best teachers I’ve ever had because she understood the students. “ (Former Student of Ms. Noor) Ms. Noor recently shared the news of her engagement. However, it was a shock to many when students and staff learned that she will also be moving to North Carolina. Ms. Noor says she’ll miss her students the most; they too were greatly influenced by her and loved her. Ms. Kitam Abdel-Jalil, Quran Teacher, definitely agrees that BHA is losing

ms. noor Taleb someone special, “Because of the connection she had with the kids.” Ms. Jaena Almallah, Head of the English department, comments on her experience as Ms. Noor’s colleague, “Loved it. I felt that as the youngest staff member she brought joy, and vitality to our school; pure positive.” BHA was the first place Ms. Noor taught; most teachers can tell you that the first few years are the hardest. “She got through the hard part. She did well for a novice teacher. The results of the work from the ninth graders are above average, due to her.” (Ms. Jaena) But a door has now opened in North Carolina and Ms. Noor is stepping through it. She plans to continue teaching. Life is constantly changing, and for the moment, she’ll be up North, but she could


Race to Nowhere Documentary


Aisha Lee Managing Editor

Afia Tariq Editor-in-Chief

Rating: 4 reels out of 5

Ms. Taleb at the staff farewell party tearing up, on the left; and smiles above as cake is being served.

possibly come back one day. What we do know for sure is that she will continue to touch students’ lives and inspire them. Ms. Jaena and others will miss most “Her being right next door and smiling. (I will miss) knowing I can count on her.”

The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

Safa Mohammed Staff Writer

The Lost Hero, the first book in the follow up to the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, continues the story of the lives of demigods. Demigods are a combination of Greek or Roman gods and humans. The setting is in modern U.S.A. At over 500 pages, it is extremely long and takes some time to read and to understand. Personally, I wouldn’t have ever picked up The Lost Hero if I hadn’t heard about how great it is and had not already read and enjoyed the Percy Jackson series. The story starts off quickly by introducing the three main characters who are Jason, Piper and Leo, and also raising several questions, some of which are answered by the end of the book. Others questions may only be answered in future books in the series. One annoying element throughout the book was the collection of vividly detailed, supposedly

Rating: 3.5 bookmarks out of 5 important “obstacles” the trio runs into that I really did not care about. I barely remember these details because I skimmed over most of them, and I probably won’t reread the entire book to recall them. Also, since there are three main characters, each character has their own chapter and their own point of view. To me, this is unnecessary since the whole book is written in third person and all three characters have one dimensional personalities. Something else I didn’t like was the way all the Greek and Roman monsters and other characters were thrown into the plot without a scenario to help the reader remember them. It simply made the book more confusing. The last thing that truly irritated me throughout the book, was the way the characters didn’t really develop. They stayed more or less the

same from beginning to end. Even though there were many things I disliked in the book, there were a few things that kept me reading and will probably lead me to read the next book on the Heroes of Olympus series. Many parts of The Lost Hero are really funny and show that Rick Riordan, the author, has not lost his humorous touch. Also, instead of just dealing with Greek mythology, as in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, The Heroes of Olympus series combines both Greek and Roman mythology which results in a much more complex and intriguing plot. The book ends with one of the main problems solved, and with a bit of suspense. All in all, even though the first book, The Lost Hero, wasn’t great, it wasn’t too bad either. It is a mildly enjoyable read if you have the time. I am not that excited for the next book in the series, The Son of Neptune, however when it comes out, I may end up reading it.

“Race to Nowhere” is a documentary made by Vicki Abeles focusing on America’s overstressed, overscheduled and overcompetitive school kids. Inspired by one of her own children, who was struggling mentally and physically by the pressure from school, Abeles set out to interview other students and found an epidemic of overstress in America. Students are made to perform and produce, but are given no time to relax or play. Hours of homework produces too our students to think are much stress; this stress pushed aside”, “but, what causes cheating; then is that going to mean cramming to pass tests when we have an entire and forgetting everything population of dentists and afterwards. Then, when doctors that have been students get to college, trained from a script?” they have to make up Many, if not all students, for all that unproductive want to get into the top learning, and in some rare colleges, and they must cases, commit suicide. stress themselves to be Students become very the best in order to get in, mentally and physically and get a good job and be challenged due to this ‘successful’. “In America, constant stress and success is having a lot of pressure. money,” said a Much of the “We need to really high schooler blame circles interviewed. think what it takes “We need to rearound “The to create a happy, No Child Left define success in Behind Act” America.” motivated, and that President “We forget successful human Bush passed that there are being” in 2001. This some students Act raised the who just look at standards of this completely education and stressed system, established measurable and don’t want to deal goals to improve the level with it.” This is completely of individual education. diminishing the middle In the process of class, which can create performing and producing, big problems in future the documentary states generations. that, “Students are Although a little extreme, pressured to perform; “Race to Nowhere” they are not pressured introduces key ideas that necessarily to learn deeply can re-shape America’s and comprehensively”. education system and “Things that actually get America as a whole.

Nov_Dec 2010 BHA POST  

The BHA Post, is Brighter Horizons Academy's School Newspaper. The Academy is located in Garland, Texas.

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