Mariam Malik - Valedictorian - 2019-2020

If I had known nine years ago, that I would be delivering a speech the day I graduate from Ilm, or that I would stay in the school for eight years, I’m pretty sure I would’ve bolted out the door and ran with no intentions of returning. It’s probably a good thing I never knew about graduations back then. But now, how can words accurately describe the people who have been with me since the beginning? Teachers who have done so much more than just teach me? Words can’t describe that, or at least I will never be able to find the precise words to describe my experience at Ilm, my second home, and the people here. And although I will try, I will never be able to accurately describe what an impact this school has left on me. 

Middle school was an adventure, and I have to largely thank my Principal and teachers for that. The ones who are still here and the ones who have left. The ones who have taught me and the ones who haven’t. You have all claimed a spot in my heart and I know that I will look back at these years with fondness. Khala Bokharey, for all these years, you have all been an epitome of strength and a pillar of support. You have watched me grow and I definitely wouldn’t be standing here today if it wasn’t for you, not only because of all the hard effort you put in this school but because of all the effort you put in us, the students. 

Khala Vaid, you have been as loving as a mother, equally caring like a friend, a disciplinarian, and yet always so approachable. My first teacher ever at Ilm, and from my mom, I know that teaching kindergarten is quite a challenge, so jazakAllah, for putting up with me as a six-year-old, and teaching me from the heart. Khala Nahaya, not only did you make math enjoyable all these years, but you also played a bundle of roles all these years-teacher, counselor, advisor, and so much more. You have taught us so much more than curricular studies, but also life skills and words of wisdom that have already been proving useful so far time and time again. Khala Firdoes, you made science an adventure, a challenge to overcome, to always strive for a higher grade. And jazakAllah for always being so easy to talk to, for lending an ear when we just needed to let things out. Khala Fizza, although our time with you was very short, it was a very eventful year, and you put so much effort into making sure that we understood history perfectly. JazakAllah for always urging us to strive higher, to push ourselves harder, and to never settle for anything less than our hardest. 

Khala Irum, three years ago, I didn’t even know what an essay was, or how to write a poem summary. But now, thanks to you, I have come to love literature and writing and one of my strongest desires is to be a writer when I grow up InshaAllah. You always urged us to strive for a higher bar, and that success doesn’t come in perfection but in progress. Khala Hafida, my favorite thing about you is that you taught us from not only the book but the heart as well. Each day in class, you strived so hard to make sure that all of your students made progress towards their goals, and to be honest, I always wonder, how do you do it, masha Allah.  Coach Salama, the sight of you alone brings a smile to everyone’s faces. JazakAllah for all the effort you put into making PE immensely enjoyable and for being easy to talk to. Allairhamilwalideen! 

Although our journey together as a teacher and student relationship has ended, I hope that I will continue to see you all in the future, and never forget what an impact this school, its teachers, and students alike have left on me. I have no doubt that I will remember the countless words of advice and life lessons that I have learned, because, in the words of Alfred Mecier, ‘what we learn with pleasure, we never forget.’ 


Raveeha Muneer - Salutatorian - 2019-2020

I would first like to say a few words about my experience at Ilm Academy. Being a student at Ilm Academy for three years, I have surely learned a lot. I not only improved in academics, but also learned how to safeguard my Muslim identity. Ilm Academy has made me a proud Muslim, and I will always remember the school for this. Our teachers played an important role in our life, and I would like to thank them all. With their help and support, we managed to pull through another difficult year. One thing that I will never forget about Ilm Academy is how hardworking the teachers are. Our teachers always made sure that we grasped the concept and understood it, before moving on to the next one. Although this school year was different, due to online school, and not having school events such as the Science Fair and annual Field Trip; our teachers still made sure that we weren’t behind, and were up to standard for our path forward. 

I would, first of all, like to mention Khala Irum, who has taught me what makes a good writer and is always encouraging us to read and write more. I remember that when I first walked into her class in 6th grade, I was extremely scared. Now that fear is just a pleasant memory. You have always encouraged me to do my best on every assignment you gave. Thank You.

I would then like to mention Khala Nahaya for being an amazing teacher whom I will never forget. She has not only taught us math but many other life lessons as well. Her thoughtfulness is a gift I will always treasure. You have always been patient with us, even when we didn’t understand concepts and made you repeat them over and over again. Thank You. I am grateful to Khala Firdoes for always encouraging me to try harder, and having constant faith in me. She always made sure we had all our notes complete before we moved on. Moving on, your classes will always be one of those that I remember the most. Thank You.

I really appreciate Khala Fizza for making history interesting and easy to understand. You always came up with fun assignments. Thank You. Our deeniyat teachers, Khala Hafida and Khala Aisha, are not to be forgotten. I am thankful to them for working hard to make sure we understood what is required. They have always been very patient with us. It will be unfair not to mention Coach Salama. I remember, at the beginning, I wasn’t too excited for sports, but over the months, I learned that they are actually fun. Thank you coach, for always pushing me to try my best, and placing confidence in me. 

And of course, all of this wouldn’t be possible without the effort and planning put in by our principal, Khala Bokharey, along with other staff members, including Khala Wahida, Khala Vaid, and Khala Fatima. Despite the endless difficulties faced this year, owing to your hard work, we were able to complete this academic year, and had an enjoyable one. Thank You.

My classmates also played an important role in my journey through Ilm Academy. I don’t think it would have been possible without them. Talking and joking around with my friends was one of the things I looked forward to, every day of school. I wish them all the best in the upcoming years, and I want them to know that they will always be part of my memories of Ilm Academy.

One thing that I will never forget is to try my best and push my limits for the better. I have learned to try harder every time, and never give up. Once again, I would like to thank all of my teachers and classmates for making my experience at Ilm Academy one that I will never forget.

Jazakallahu Khair.


Romaisa Hasan - 2019-2020

I’ve been a student at Ilm Academy for the past 5 years. I still remember the first day I came to take the entrance exam. I never would have thought then that one day I would be  standing here about 5 years later. It’s amazing how we never truly know what will happen until it’s done. My years at Ilm Academy have greatly contributed to the person I am now. If it wasn’t for every teacher, classmate, and school parent, maybe I wouldn’t be who I am today. Now I’m standing here, saying goodbye to all of you. I always said I would definitely cry during this speech.

My teachers in the past two years have especially helped me. Khala Nahaya, whom I’ve known for five years, remembers the days I would have hair sticking out of the front of my hijab and she would keep on tucking it in. Alhamdulillah that’s not the case anymore. She’s always been there as a support pillar. I always knewI could trust her with anything and she also gave the BEST advice. In the past two years, when I was having a bad day she would always be there and even if I didn’t respond then, that still meant the world to me.

My English teacher this year was Khala Irum. At first I was very intimidated by Khala Irum, but as I spent more time in her classes and got to see new sides of her I quickly realized she was one of the most humorous teachers you could ever have. English class was never really easy, but I can confidently say she’s made me a better writer than I was before. As I saw more and more sides of Khala Irum, I grew increasingly fond of her. Khala Firdoes has been my science teacher for 3 years now and her class was one of the funner classes, to be honest.

Khala Fizza was my history teacher for only this year. But she always tried her best to make History fun for us, including as many projects as she could. I thank her for all her kindness and for always going the extra mile! I’ve known Coach Salama for 9 years now-since I was in kindergarten. Coach did more than just help me become a better player, he helped me become a better person. He’s always been there with excellent advice. Khala Bokharey has been an excellent principal all these years, always looking at the needs of the school and I thank her for all of her efforts. All of my teachers throughout the years have helped shape me into the person standing before you.

Throughout these years I went through a lot of hardships in different aspects of my life. The people who have been with me through this are my classmates. They possibly know me better than my own family… Which honestly I don’t know how to feel about. Mariam is the person in my current class I’ve known for the longest. We met in 4th grade and were quite good friends throughout the year and she is one of the most genuine, sweet people I could ever meet. Marwa has been my friend since 5th grade. She’s seen me a both my lowest and highest. I’ve known Javeria since I was in 2nd grade I think, and we met each other after 5 years in 7th grade. Thank you for always making me laugh and bringing up my spirits. Mysha only joined this year but we had many interests in common. Our taste in books was similar and we had amazing conversations about them. Raveeha is such a sweet person and although we didn’t spend much time 1 on 1, whenever I was around her she was always smiling and showing kindness. Thank you for your goodness.

Sanya and I were classmates for a bit in 4th grade and met again in 8th grade and I thank her for listening to me talk about my interests. I also have to thank all of the PTA members, not only for putting together this graduation but for everything they’ve organized throughout the years. I’d like to thank my parents as well of course. These years have definitely been difficult at times, especially 7th grade and these past few months. This year, as student council president I was introduced to new responsibilities and situations yet again. I thank everyone again for helping me get through, and I promise never to forget what you have all done for me. Thank you for the memories. I’d like to close with a quote, “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

Isaac Halaweh - 2019-2020

Good morning everyone, I would like to give a quick thank you to all the teachers of Ilm Academy for pushing me through these 2 hard, long years. I can’t believe I am standing here today, knowing this is the last time I would ever step foot in this school. It is surprising how fast time flies by. It feels like the first day of school was only yesterday. And now all of a sudden I am about to graduate. Now, I would like to thank Khala Irum for all her efforts in making me become a better writer. She would always push me into doing something I said I couldn’t do, like when I feel like I can’t write an essay because it was too hard, she would always be there, in person or virtually. I appreciate her time and effort for teaching us and making us the writers we are today. At times, I wouldn’t like going to English because of how strict the classes were, but now I realize being strict with students is a good thing because it keeps them more focused on doing their work. 

I would also like to thank Khala Nahaya and Khala Fizza for making their subject fun and enjoyable even when we were almost falling asleep. Sometimes, no matter what they did, the subject was still boring, yet I do appreciate their time and effort in making the subject enjoyable. I will definitely miss Khala Nahaya making jokes during class to lift our spirits, or Khala Fizza having us do different ways of memorizing instead of just reading the book. And I know for certain I will miss Khala Firdoes’s science experiments. Sometimes, it would be short and simple, and I already knew what was going to happen, so it wasn’t too interesting. But most of the time, they would be long, exciting experiments that would take up the whole class time. Lastly, I would like to thank coach for always making P.E. fun and enjoyable. Not that I don’t like the other subjects, but I would always look forward to P.E, even if I were feeling down. 

In conclusion, I will truly miss this school. It has always felt like a second home to me, somewhere I can feel safe. It would be sad to have to say farewell to all the amazing people here, especially all my friends. It is unfortunate that our time together has been cut off due to this epidemic, so I really appreciate all the staff going out of their way to have this physical graduation, even if it was only with a limited number of people but with full health precautions. 

Ilm Academy will remain a fond memory in my educational journey.


Maha Durrani - 2018-2019

I have been a part of Ilm Acadmey for four crucial years of my life. These years have been unforgettable. The memories I have made are priceless and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. Middle school wasn’t perfect to say the least and my peers and I have all had our share of tears and arguments but at the end of the day, we came back stronger and closer.

I want to start off by thanking my parents, family, teachers, classmates, the community and my best friends who have made this lengthy journey one that I will never forget. They have been there for me through my outbursts, stubborn moments, and times when I was a terrible person. They have stood with me all these years not judging me, but rather, seeing the potential in how I could grow. Nothing would have been possible without the endless support they have given me. For that, I shall be forever indebted.

The teachers have been a main part of this experiance,  being our family away from home. They have each have played a tremendous role in our growth and without a doubt borne with us even when we were annoying. Khala Irum our homeroom teacher came to Ilm Academy in fifth grade, which was also my first year attending Ilm. I remember her first words even before she introduced herself to be “I’m  not going to be nice”. That left a permanent image of Khala Irum in everyones head as the teacher that gave us so many essays that we would get hand cramps, and the lady who would never smile. I will admit, I thought that in the beginning as well but after four years, Khala Irum has grown on me and I know that I can tell her anything and would know that she would advise me to do what is best for me. Thank you for your saracasm, scarce smiles, and these experiances you have shared with us. It may have meant having no feeling in my hands but I will always remember you and never forget the impact you have left on my life.

Khala Nahaya has always been the sweetest, treating us like her own children, and putting us all before her. We all know that she has gone through so many hardships in her life but everyday she come to school with a smile on her face making us feel like the most special peiople on Earth. No words can describe how much she means to us all, and no action can show how indebted we are to her.

Khala Aisha came this year but still from taking selfies on her phone to pouring out our feelings to her, her class is always an escape from the pressure of school. She’s just like a best friend to us all and I cannot thak her enough for putting a smile on our faces every day. Khala Firdoes has bdore with us throughout the entire school year  and we all knew that we made it very hard on her. I will never forget her edible labs, and the messes we made so thank you for making eighth memorable for us.

Khala Hafiza and Moulana Imran have worked very hard and have taught me Arabic in which I have always struggled. Thank you for dealing with my endless talking and made the lessons built around my capabilty of understanding.  Khala Fizza has been such an amzing teacher and has maintaimed patience with us during all the home economics classes. She even let us eat in her class.

I also want to thank my family, especially my parents who have deal with my meltdowns and  balanced my weight on their shouders. Thank you for being such an important part of my life and I honestly don’t know what i would do without you guys. I want my fellow peers of the ILM Academy graduatin g class of 2019 to know that they are all the sole reasob I have remained sane. They help me through the stressful oments and always mke me laugh and put a smile on my face. I cant even begin to say how grateful I am to each and every single one of them.

I hereby leave ILM Academy a stronger women with endless and unforgettable memories. This is the end of yet another chapter in my life, and the start of a new one.


Aiham Amari - 2018-2019

Ilm academy, a place that for the past seven years could have been called my second home. I have been a student in this school since second grade, and I have been here to witness its many changes over my span here. I entered Ilm academy when it was still young, in about its second year. There were about fifty students, and from kindergarten to fourth grade only. We were based in a much smaller school. That obviously had its disadvantages, but it kept us close, so that everybody in the school knew each other. I would say that there were only ten students per class, and the biggest class probably contained only  fourteen.

Then over the years, the school expanded its grade levels and more people started entering, until finally Ilm Academy became a known Islamic school in the Bay Area. It also added more classes, until finally in the 2016 – 17 academic year, we had an eighth grade class which was the first to graduate. Then came the 2017-18 academic year, and that was a big year in our improvement. We had a full graduating class, and finally moved into a big building that was ours, and identified us as Ilm Academy. And now, after seven years of watching this school grow and prosper, I am officially in its eighth grade graduating class. 

But now I want to discuss the people in this school that have helped me develop from a simple second grader, to the person I am now. All of the middle school teachers I have had, have helped encourage me to be a better person. The two teachers that lasted with me the longest have been Khala Nahaya and Khala Irum. Khala Nahaya with her fun and encouraging spirit, with the morales she brings to class every day. She has been a big part of my life. And Khala Irum, who by the younger grades is known for her strictness. Yet only by being in her class can you discover the sweetness that lies inside her.

There are other people in this school who have not taught me and in some way shape a part of who I am. One of them is Khala Shaneela, who used to be the kindergarten teacher in my first few years and then became the office manager. She is always there when  anyone needs help and to encourage them with her sweetness and humor that she generously shows to all who ask for her help. Ilm Academy has showed me that there are people in the world that you simply just cannot replace.

In conclusion, I will miss the values that Ilm Academy has taught me. It will be very hard to leave this school, knowing that I won’t come back. I will miss the people that have been here to guide me in life through my seven years in Ilm Academy.

Mariam Vaid - 2018-2019

School is what shapes every child’s youth. Going to a good school can make your future amazing, full of wonderful surprises. Going to a bad school can make you live a future of despair, just because you never got the right education. School is also where every child makes his or her first friends, friends that may remain by their side until they grow up. And if they make bad friends, stay around bad influences, that may also affect them forever. If a child is bullied in his or her school days, that pitiable attitude may remain with them until the day they die. Basically, school is an extremely important part of every person’s life.

I have gone to only one school for my entire life. Ever since kindergarten, I have attended Ilm Academy, which provided an Islamic environment and upbringing for me. Now, when I think about finally graduating from here, I have mixed feelings. As much as I am happy to finally go to a different school, I know that I will miss Ilm Academy a lot. Most of my childhood memories were made here at this school. I met a lot of my closest friends here, friends that I will never forget.

As a plus, both of my parents were active in the growth and progress of this school. when I joined Ilm Academy in its first year, there were a total of around 20 students, only three grades. Now, Alhamdullillah, it has around 180 students, with grades K- 8 th . It may still be a small school, but it has grown incredibly over the past nine years. And it was never the grandest of schools, but the memories made in the tiny classrooms with few students are endless, and they will never be forgotten.

I remember when we were in a smaller building, with no air conditioning and very tiny classrooms. Our playground was just a set of swings and a slide, but we made do with that just fine. It would get so hot during summer, and with no air conditioning, all of us would be sweating. But those were memories that we made. With every single teacher, we remember different things. We learnt so much from being in this school. Especially after getting a bigger facility, I’ve seen just how much this school is growing and improving. Now with a bigger campus, we have bigger classrooms and better appliances. But the memories made in the earlier days of Ilm Academy are the ones I will always keep close to heart Those memories are the ones that will always come to me when I think about Ilm Academy.

Ilm Academy has been like a second home for me. Every school has room to improve, but I think that this school has improved immensely over the years, and I have high hopes for it. I can just imagine this school still standing after a long time, after all of its first students have grown up and gone away, carrying their memories with them. Because the amount of dedication that has gone into the making of this school is tremendous. Ilm Academy has given me so much. It has shaped my entire childhood, all my loving teachers, from kindergarten all the way to 8 th grade, I will never forget it.

Mariam Shuja - 2016-2017

I came to ILM Academy only about 2 months ago. I was pulled out from public school because my parents felt that it wasn’t a safe environment for me.  I decided to just go along with their plan even though I hated it to the tenth degree.

When I found out I was leaving my school I was devastated. It didn’t go so well on my first day of my new school. I cried just thinking about staying at this school for 2 whole months. All I could think about was my old friends and my old school. I didn’t want to go back to school, being forced to, I came back on my second day and felt so invited.

I became close friends with the other two eighth graders Raya and Dounya. They helped me get through these two months here at ILM academy and kept assuring me that I was going to be fine. They told me that this was the best school and that I wouldn’t regret it. I loved it after I began hanging out with my new friends. I noticed that the work wasn’t too hard and the teachers worked at our pace and didn’t push us too hard. I love that about this school. I’m sure anyone’s child will love it as much as I did.

Raya Khan - 2016-2017

I became a student at ILM Academy in the fall of 2015 as a seventh grader. I had been in both a public and a charter school before. But when I came to this school, it was much different.

The class sizes are quite small, and the teachers are more one-on-one with the students. Although all the standard subjects are taught, they are equivalent to either a grade above or  an honors class in a public school. I’d never received more attention at any other school compared to ILM Academy and I understood my subjects more clearly. The teachers are quite passionate when it comes to teaching and they want us all to succeed. They want us to fulfill all our goals that we set in the long run. They worked with me, and even if one student did not understand the concept, they went back and reviewed. This is how devoted they are; compared to public schools, I find it amazing.

Everyone at the school is quite close to one another and very connected to the Islamic community. The teachers interweave lessons on Islam into their regular teaching. This is in addition to the Deenyat, Islamic Studies, period. Therefore, I got educated both ways. Here I learnt about all aspects of Deen; from Qur’an Tafseer to Hadeeth and Duas.

In short, Ilm Academy is a very unique school and I will miss coming here after eighth grade.