Ninth Annual Graduation Ceremony of Muslim High School and University Graduates
On Sunday, June 5 th, 2011, the Muslim community of Southern California took to the Knott’s Berry Farm hotel resort to host its 9 th Annual Graduation Ceremony for Muslim high school and university graduates of Southern California. The event, which in previous years has been hosted by the Islamic Center of Riverside and honored Muslim graduates in the Inland Empire, has gained significant popularity and therefore added the Orange County and Los Angeles County areas under its umbrella for its celebration this year.
105 graduates from all across Southern California were honored for their achievements of receiving degrees from high school, college, and universities. A Hifz-al-Qur’an award, given to those who had also completed the memorization of the Qur’an in the past year, was also given this year to four graduates. One of the most honorable graduated, Furzan Azam, was a high school graduate who received numerous scholarships for his academic achievements while also being the recipient of a Hifz-al-Qur’an award for memorizing the Qur’an.
The ceremony began with the recitation of the Qur’an by Furzan Azam and translation by Asma Patel, followed by words of welcome from the Graduation Ceremony committee members, specifically Natasha Radwan, Dr. Makbul Patel, and Dr. Saleh Fateih. The graduates were also given advice by numerous keynote speakers. Islamic Shura Council member Shakeel Syed passionately urged the graduates to commit to a goal and work tirelessly to achieve success, while Orange County’s Dr. Muzammil Siddiqui, who was recently honored with the Community Leader Award by the Orange County Human Relations Commission, constantly reminded the graduates that learning is a never-ending process and greatly encouraged in Islam, and a strong believer is one who is learned not only in aspects of this world but is also knowledgeable in the knowledge of religion. Lastly, special guest Dr. Moiz Beguwala, director of Skyworks Solutions, gave an in-depth insight on practical, real life examples and methods for graduates on how to achieve success in the business world. While encouraging graduates to be leaders and not followers, Beguwala gave real-time statistics on how rigorous the employment process has become on new graduates, and gave graduates specific details on how to approach the job market when it was time for them to do so.
All graduates were then honored individually, and scholarship awards totaling up to $18,000 were given to the recipients in numerous categories, including merit scholarships, essay competitions, film and photography competitions, and Hifz-al-Quran scholarships.
The committee plans to expand its outreach to graduates in the upcoming years, building upon the success of the program from previous years and the demand from the local Muslim community to award and recognize graduates for their academic achievements.