EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

November 23, 2012

Islamic Academy students win geography bee

By Yadira Betances
ybetances@eagletribune.com

---- — METHUEN — Hard work paid off for five students from The Islamic Academy for Peace who won first place at the Jowdy World Geography Bee for the second time in the school’s 11 year history.

They won the first time in 2007 and came in second place three years in a row, from 2009 to 2011.

“Before, we were so close and finally we can say we did it,” said Leena Hamad, the team’s captain. “It feels good knowing you accomplished something”.

Jowdy Challenge is a series of contests, entertainment, and food, made possible by the continuous support of Theresa Jowdy, in memory of her husband Edward Jowdy. The Jowdys suggested a contest to promote geography education. Students had three rounds of 35 questions.

The students compete against area public school as well as Catholic schools including St. Michael School in North Andover and Blessed Bellesini Academy in Lawrence.

Teacher Amanda Cudmore was the geography bee coach. Cudmore tested fifth- to eighth-graders at the school using questions from the geography bee and students with the top five scores were chosen to participate. They were: Leena Hamad, the team’s captain, and Nadha Illikkal, both eighth-graders; Mahdi Hamad, fifth grade; Moumina Khan and Kelthoum Fathi, both sixth-graders.

“Knowing we survived one round helped us do better on the second one because we became more confident,” Moumina said.

In addition to world geography, there was a series of questions on sites in Lawrence, including City Hall, Campagnone Common, the soldier’s and sailor’s monument dedicated to Lawrence men who died during the Civil War, the Casey Bridge, and the Ayer Mill Clock.

In addition to preparing for the competition after school, Cudmore said students also took work home to study.

“The students worked very hard and were willing to put a lot of time to prepare,” Cudmore said.

Students said they not only learned about history, people and places, but the importance of teamwork and how to manage their time wisely.

Principal Fatima Mezdad could not be more proud.

“It starts at the top. We have teachers who are very dedicated, passionate and tireless about their work. The parents also play a major role in preparing the students for the competition and of course the students are confident, dedicated and kept challenging the judges,” Mezdad said.

Geography is not the only subject students from the Islamic Academy for Peace excel in.

Samina Mian, 8, was a finalist in the Constitution Day Essay Contest sponsored by the New Hampshire State Supreme Court and The Eagle-Tribune. Samina’s essay was about privacy laws and the Bill of Rights and if they applied to social media. Samina was honored at an awards ceremony and reception at the courthouse in Concord.

The Islamic Academy for Peace is located at 125 Oakland Ave. The private Islamic school opened in 2001 with prekindergarten through eighth grade. In addition to math, science and English, students learn Arabic and Islamic studies. Children recite the mid-day prayer at school daily and middle school students go to Selimiye Camii Mosque for Friday prayers.

Celtic concert raises money for mission trip

METHUEN — An evening of live Irish music featuring Brian Kingsley and the Celtic Cross Band takes place Dec. 1, from 7-10 p.m., at St. Theresa Church of Our Lady of Good Counsel, 22 Plymouth St.

Tickets available at the door. Donations accepted to benefit the mission trip to the Dominican Republic. Natalie Slabcynski, Elizabeth Friedrich and Colleen Braga will go on Dec. 29 to Jan. 5.

The young women, all members of Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish, will work at an orphanage for children with disabilities and distributing food to Haitian refuges.

Braga, Slabcynski, and Friedrich, all juniors at Lowell Catholic, are among 12 students who will be going on the mission trip through Mustard Seed Communities. Mustard Seed established the orphanage in 2001 in Cangrejo, on the outskirts of Puerto Plata, a town known for its resorts visited by tourists from around the world.

The group will be working at Hogar Immanuel, an orphanage caring for 12 disabled children and Batey La Union, a village near Sosua garbage dump where many Haitian refugees live.

The trip costs $1,800 for each student. In addition to financial contributions the students are collecting toiletries, school supplies, medicine and other items. Donations can be dropped off at Lowell Catholic High, 530 Stevens St., Lowell or by contacting Linda Slabcynzki at lslabczynski@gmail.com; Mark Friedrich at mfriedrich@lowellcatholic.org and Christine Ferrara at cmferrara@cbs.com

Religion listings

Atkinson Congregational, 101 Main St., Atkinson: Tomorrow, the church celebrates its 240th anniversary during the 10 a.m. worship service.

Chabad Lubavitch, 310 N. Main St., Andover: ”Kabbalah of You” A Guide to Unlocking Your Hidden Potential” Thursdays through Dec. 6, 7-8:30 p.m.

Church of the Transfiguration, 1 Hood Road, Derry: Members of the church and Etz Hayim Synagogue lead an interfaith discussion on the book, “Have a Little Faith,” Dec. 19 and Jan.16 at noon.

Corpus Christi parish at Holy Rosary, 35 Essex St., Lawrence: Anointing of the sick takes place today following the 4 p.m. Mass. Those who want to be anointed should sit in the front benches. “Why Catholic” a course based on the Catechism, the Catholic church and scripture meets Mondays at 1 p.m. and Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m.

Faith Lutheran, 360 S. Main St., Andover: The Rev. John Heydenreich leads a “Walk through the Bible” study focusing on key stories and what do they mean, Dec. 2 and 9, 5-6:30 p.m. Youth director Tom Schauer hosts “Tom’s Teen Time” for high school students to talk about topics and issues related to teens. The group is watch a film series on “The Hunger Games,” “The Avengers” and “The Way” for discussion and reflection on its Christian and social themes.

First Presbyterian, 346 Broadway, Haverhill: Book study is reading Rob Bell’s “Velvet Elvis” Wednesdays at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 9 a.m.

Island Pond Baptist, 26 N. Salem Road, Hampstead: Women’s Bible study, a DVD series discussing the works of noted Christian writer and speaker, Elisabeth Elliot every Thursday from 9:15 to 11:30 a.m.

Londonderry United Methodist, 258 Mammoth Road, Londonderry: Adult Sunday School class titled, “What Does it mean to be United Methodist” is Sundays at 10 a.m. The video series focuses on the roots of the United Methodist church and the Wesleyan heritage.

New Creation Healing Center, 80 Route 125, Kingston: Service focusing on the healing of the Father image is Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. There will also be prayers for people with physical and emotional needs.

North Parish Unitarian Universalist, 190 Academy Road, North Andover: The parish is sponsoring a study group on immigration as a moral issue Thursdays from 7 to 8:30 pm. Contact Deb Olander at debolander@comcast.net.

Our Lady of Good Counsel, 22 Plymouth St., Methuen: Bible study focusing on “Year of Faith” as proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the opening Vatican II and the 20th anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The group meets Wednesdays to Nov. 28 and Thursdays to Dec. 6 all from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

St. Augustine, 43 Essex St., Andover: Catholicism series explores “Amazed and Afraid, the Revelation of God Become Man, Part 1,” beginning the week of Nov. 25, the series will be offered Wednesday mornings and Thursday evenings.

St. Christopher Episcopal, 189 East Road, Hampstead: The church is hosting “Rhythms of Grace” a worship and faith formation program for children with autism-spectrum disorder and other special needs, Dec. 1 at 2 p.m. An informal study of the Bible for mothers will be held Tuesdays from 10-11 a.m.

St. James, Winter Street, Haverhill: The Rev. John Walsh leads a Course on “My Life with the Saints” Tuesdays at 7:15 p.m. City-wide youth Mass is tomorrow at 5 p.m.

St. John the Baptist, 120 Lincoln Ave., Haverhill: Members of the Marian Society devoted to Our Lady of Fatima pray the Rosary Wednesdays at 8:30 a.m. The Rev. John Walsh leads a Course on “My Life with the Saints” by the Rev. James Martin, Wednesdays at 9:45 a.m.

St. Jude, 435 Mammoth Road, Londonderry: The book club discusses Mitch Albom’s “Five People You Meet in Heaven” Nov. 28 at 7 p.m.

St. Luke the Evangelist, 12 Amesbury Road, Newton: A time of prayer and thanksgiving will be offered tomorrow at 6 p.m. as members celebrate the conclusion of the Solemnity of Christ the King and the liturgical year with vespers and benediction.

Sts. Mary and Joseph Parish, 40 Main St., Salem: The program, “Exploring the Catholic Faith” where participants reflect on the Sunday gospel and discuss it, will be offered Sundays, 7-8:30 p.m. through Easter.

St. Michael, 196 Main St., North Andover: The Rosary will be recited Dec. 1 after the 8 a.m. Mass to prepare for Advent.

St. Patrick, 118 S. Broadway, Lawrence: “Life and Faith” adult faith formation series focusing on the sacraments will be held Thursdays from 7-8:30, through April. Bible study for people in their 20s and 30s meets weekly to discuss the Passion and Resurrection narratives of Jesus, Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m.

St. Peter Episcopal, 3 Peabody Row, Londonderry: Centering prayer group meets Wednesdays at 7 p.m. for silent prayer and contemplation.

St. Thomas Aquinas, 26 Crystal Ave., Derry: Charismatic prayer group meets for praise, thanksgiving and love through the Holy Spirit, Mondays 7-8:30 p.m.

South Church, 40 Central St., Andover: Monday night prayer group meets 7-8:30 p.m. to listen to each other and God through silence, centering prayer and compline. Bible study on the Book of Acts meets Tuesday 2-3:15 p.m.

Unitarian Universalist, 15 Kenoza Ave., Haverhill: The Rev. Frank Clarkson and Kimberly Cloutier Green lead “Tending the Sacred: Holy Longing, Holy Listening” using contemplative prayer and spiritual direction Nov. 28 and Dec. 5 9:30-11:30 a.m.; Nov. 27 and Dec. 11, 7-9 p.m.