The former Winston-Salem school holds 42nd founding reunion

The former Winston-Salem school  holds 42nd founding reunion
September 03
00:00 2015

In above photo: Carl Russell Community Center (submitted)

Special to The Chronicle

Sister Clara Muhammad Elementary and Secondary School (SCMS), 1500 Harriet Tubman Drive, operated in Winston-Salem from January 1973 to June 1988.

On May 23, for the first time in 42 years, former teachers, principals, the founding director, parents, the now adult students and their children and even their children’s children converged on the Carl H. Russell Community Center to honor the 42nd Founding of the Winston-Salem Sister Clara Muhammad School.

Nearly 100 attended, coming from near and far.

Though everyone had aged as the years have gone by, the sheer presence of so many was a rallying indication that the courageous, determined, and committed spirit that founded the school had not diminished, organizers said. They said that it was evident that what is right and good seeks its own level and is redirected for posterity.

As a result, another gathering is being considered for the very near future.  There were others that were not able to come the first time but are excited about the next time.

Over the 15-year period, annual enrollment at the school ranged from 15 to a high of 62 students of both Muslim and Christian faiths.

The school had an accelerated curriculum was designed for a student who entered at 3½ years old to complete pre-kindergarten through high school at SCMS and graduate in 11 years.  The school operated year-round.  Though the school was co-ed, in the early years male students attended in the morning and female students attended in the afternoon.

Families paid a modest tuition payment for each child; other financial support was obtained strictly from the charitable efforts and support of the believers and friends of the sponsoring Masjid Al Muminum of Winston-Salem.

There were six high school graduation ceremonies, namely Classes of 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1984, and 1985.   Graduates attended and or graduated with undergraduate degrees from Bennett College, N.C. A&T State University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and University of North Carolina at Greensboro; some went on to obtain graduate degrees.

The school was directed by Imam Irvin Shakir (spiritual leader), from 1973-1988.  School principals were Sister Gail McCarthy (Jan. 1973-Spring 1974); Sister Kathann El-Amin (1974-1979) and Sister Judy Rashid (1979-1988).

Instruction was given by the director, principals and teachers Imam Denard El-Amin, Brother David and Sis. Betty Muhammad, Brother Donnie Hilliard, Sister Maryum Karim, Sister Betty Hasan, and Sister Rasheeda Fareed.

Volunteer teachers were Sister Jennifer (El-Amin), Sister Gertrude Umrani, Brother William Slade, Sister Gail Anderson, Sister Arrneda Hummings, Sister Angela Saleem, Brother Leonard Abdullah, Sister Wylene Hameed and, Sister Khaliah Hasan.  All fulltime teachers and many of the volunteers were college graduates.

In a statement, organizers said: “Former parents, former students and former administration are indebted to the Winston Salem Community who helped us establish a legacy of excellent private education for 15 years.  Let us give thanks and pray for one another.  Stay tuned until we meet again, by the permission of Almighty God.”

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