Second Annual OUSD Middle Eastern Student Honor Roll Celebration Set for Friday Afternoon, May 22 for Hundreds of Students
Oakland, CA — Oakland is coming together to celebrate nearly 300 high achieving Middle Eastern 6th-12th grade students on Friday afternoon, May 22. Like other similar gatherings, this celebration is happening entirely online, but the organizers are ensuring it will be a fun and memorable event for all who join.
“The number of high achieving students we are honoring has grown from 250 last year, to almost 300 this year with GPAs of 3.0 and above,” said Munera Mohsin, OUSD Middle School Regional Family Engagement Liaison. “Recognizing our culture and traditions gives our students a sense of pride, and motivates them to aim high and achieve their goals. This Second Annual celebration is historic. It is, of course, not how any of us imagined any graduation, promotion, or honor roll celebration would look. We wish we could celebrate together but the universe had other plans. Regardless, we are thrilled we can celebrate our students under any and all circumstances.”
The OUSD Office of Equity, in partnership with the Yemeni American Youth Center and Middle Eastern staff across the District, formed the Middle Eastern Student Achievement Committee. Together, they organized this joyful celebration that after just one previous such event, has already become another proud tradition for students, families and staff. OUSD is holding this virtual celebration for the more than 900 students across the District who come from Arabic-speaking families, knowing well the impact it has on the young people, their families and the community as a whole.
Middle Eastern, and specifically Arab and Yemeni students, have historically not been accurately tracked in OUSD’s data systems because there has not been a racial/ethnic computer code for them. However, thanks to the advocacy of the Middle Eastern Student Achievement Committee and our Asian Pacific Islander Achievement (APISA) community, our Enrollment and Technology Services departments have now implemented relevant ethnicity codes for students and families beginning in the fall of 2020.
84% of newcomers who speak Arabic are from Yemen, and they are the third largest group of newcomers in OUSD. 47% of Arabic speaking students in OUSD were born in the United States. “This is a community that has both deep roots in Oakland, and many new faces who arrived more recently,” said Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell. “An annual celebration for these students was long overdue by the time it began last year, and it has already become an important tradition. I am proud to take part and give these young people the accolades they deserve.”
The celebration will feature messages from Superintendent Johnson-Trammell and Mayor Libby Schaaf. It will also include inspirational student, parent, teacher and community messages, plus reminders about the importance of staying focused and engaged with distance learning during the Holy Month of Ramadan. As many of our Middle Eastern families prepare for the end of Ramadan on Saturday evening, May 23, OUSD’s Office of Equity, and the Middle Eastern Student Achievement Committee want to wish everyone Eid Mubarak, which means “have a bountiful/blessed holiday.”
The 2020 Middle Eastern Student Honor Roll Celebration is being produced in partnership with Where Media Meets. For more information, please contact [email protected] or visit
WHAT: Second Annual Middle Eastern Student Honor Roll Celebration
WHEN: 4:00 p.m., Friday, May 21
WHERE: To view the ceremony live or after it ends, please visit any of the following web pages:
● Office of Equity Youtube Page
About the Oakland Unified School District
In California’s most diverse city, Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) is dedicated to creating a learning environment where “Every Student Thrives!” More than half of our students speak a non-English language at home. And each of our 83 schools is staffed with talented individuals uniting around a common set of values: Students First, Equity, Excellence, Integrity, Cultural Responsiveness and Joy. We are committed to preparing all students for college, career and community success.
To learn more about OUSD’s Full Service Community District focused on academic achievement while serving the whole child in safe schools, please visit OUSD.org and follow us @OUSDnews.
This post based on a press release from OUSD to Zennie62Media.
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