As a Muslim student at WHS, being a minority among the majority can often feel isolating. However, as a member of the Muslim Student Association, I have been able to find an environment where I can meet other students who share similar struggles of navigating cultural and personal identities. Over my time at WHS, I’ve come to learn that ethnic clubs have improved and diversified the school by helping students of different cultures like me.
Due to the small number of Muslim students in the school, student involvement in MSA has wavered over the years. With the combined effort of French teacher Sophie Kulas and other students, MSA was remodeled last year and new members began to join. MSA has also modified its main purpose as a club, which is to provide students with a place to meet each other and discuss issues that come with being a Muslim minority.
In my participation in the club, I am able to discuss my personal challenges with the contradiction between Muslim customs and Western values. This difference in cultures has forced me to change my behavior and my demeanor based on my surroundings. At both my Arabic and English schools, I had trouble assimilating due to the language barrier in these environments. In my Arabic school, I would be ridiculed for my accent. In my English schools, I had speech problems due to the different pronunciation of words. These communication challenges with peers of both communities led me to feel alienated in these two environments.
Despite my challenges with juggling these two cultures, I eventually learned to feel less alone in my experience at school. In my current involvement with MSA, I have learned from others who experience similar struggles in being a part of different cultures. At a time when I am forming my identity, MSA continues to help me love and accept my cultural differences. I believe it is imperative that MSA and other ethnic student unions continue to prevail at WHS for the purpose of helping other students in my position.