He stood in the hall, his nervousness graciously contained in the slow pace of his circular movements. His gaze turned towards me as I approached him. I smiled. He averted my gaze and continued in his concerted effort to mentally rehearse the surah he was about to recite. His usually relaxed confidence was temporarily replaced by a slightly anxious anticipation, at the thought of reading surat al Qadr on the school’s loudspeaker before announcements.

Today was his turn. I lay my bag on the table, removed my bulky coat, and waited quietly as the students prepared for what may be the highlight of their day.

He read his surah, and it was one of the most beautiful readings I’ve heard in years! O. in grade two shone. These small challenges, slight encouragements, and reaffirmations of one’s abilities and sense of belonging are the things an Islamic school is made of. Each day sparkling jewels like this remind me of the treasures we possess. Wal7amdulillah!