first_imgIn order to fight misconceptions about the Muslim faith and educate people about specific aspects of Islam, the Notre Dame Muslim Students Association (MSA-ND) is hosting its first Islam Awareness Week from Tuesday to Friday of this week.S.M. Moududul Islam, MSA-ND secretary, said the organization began planning the week last semester, using other universities’ Islam Awareness Weeks as models.He said the goal of the week, which is funded by a Graduate Student Life grant, Campus Ministry, the Islamic Society of Michiana South Bend Mosque, the Center for Social Concerns and the Kroc Institute for International Studies, is to provide a series of unified events that allow the Notre Dame community to ask detailed questions about the Muslim faith.“The idea of Islam Awareness Week is to have multiple events within a week so that we can draw the attention of the people here on campus and let them know about Islam, and also to let the people ask questions,” Islam said. “We are having different talks and different … events at which there can be close interaction between the audience and the speaker. It is good to have that forum where you can ask questions.”MSA-ND vice president Md. Itrat Bin Shams said the week would also be an opportunity to learn about certain facets of Islam, such as the pilgrimage to Mecca and the concept of the hijab, in more detail.“[The goal is] to let people know about specific aspects of Islam, some things that are maybe known to us but not to people who believe in other faiths,” Shams said.The week will begin with two events focused on Hajj, the fifth Pillar of Islam, in which Muslims make a pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca. On Tuesday, there will be a screening of the documentary, “Seven Wonders of the Muslim World,” which features seven mosques in the Islamic world and tells the story of seven pilgrims’ journey to Mecca.On Wednesday, during Campus Ministry’s regular “Prayer from Around the World,” Dr. A. Rashied Omar, a research scholar of Islamic Studies and peace building at the Kroc Institute, will give a talk on Hajj.“We always see the image of the Kaaba in Mecca on TV, but we don’t exactly know any people who are non-Muslim who know what is going on there,” Islam said.“So the idea is to have a lecture, and in addition to the lecture we are having a video demonstration on the pilgrimage to Mecca … [Dr. A. Rashied Omar] will be discussing the spiritual aspect as well as the rituals.”Directly following Omar’s lecture will be a dinner titled “I Believe In . . .” which will consist of small-group discussions of each participant’s faith.On Friday, MSA-ND will provide transportation for 12 students to the mosque at the Islamic Society of Michiana for a prayer service.“Some students from Notre Dame can come with us to see how we perform our prayer and also, there’s a speech just before the prayer by the imam, the leader in the mosque,” Shams said. “They can see the whole picture. The mosque, for us, for Muslims, is not only the place for the prayer, [but] it is [also] a community center, so they can see how these things connect with each other.”The week will culminate with a lecture by Hisham Mahmoud, an instructor of Arabic at Harvard University and prominent scholar of Islam on Friday evening. Mahmoud will discuss the importance of Jesus and Mary in the Islamic tradition.Tags: dr. a. rashied omar, hisham mahmoud, Islam, islam awareness week, islamic society of michiana, kroc institute for international studies, mosque, MSA-ND, muslim faith, muslim students association, notre dame muslim students association, SM Moududal Islamlast_img read more

first_imgELLSWORTH — In two decades of the Ellsworth High School swim program’s history, neither the boys’ nor girls’ teams had ever beaten Bangor.That changed Thursday night when the visiting Ellsworth boys notched a 116-54 win over the reigning Penobscot Valley Conference champion and Class A powerhouse. The girls got within just 10 points of closing the gap — the closest Ellsworth coach Jim Goodman said they have ever come to the win.“Our performance against Bangor says a lot,” Goodman said. “This is the first time we’ve ever had such as large team.”Sixteen freshmen joined Ellsworth’s squad this season as the team’s largest-ever incoming class. With talent aging up through the Down East Family YMCA’s youth program, it appears Ellsworth has the potential to achieve other elusive milestones in the coming years, even a regional or state title.This is placeholder textThis is placeholder text“The potential for this year’s program is, well…” DEFY coach Matt Montgomery paused. “The sky is the limit. You can put any cliché in there. It’s just going to be an amazing season.”Goodman said 17 of his swimmers have already qualified for one or more events in the state championship scheduled for February.“Generally, we have a few qualifiers this early in the season,” Goodman said. “But never this many.”While Ellsworth has produced at least one individual state champion in each of the past 10 years, the Eagles have never had the depth to win a team PVC or state championship. Still, Ellsworth’s eight boys managed to place second at PVCs last season behind Bangor, which typically boasts a team size of roughly 30 male and female swimmers each.Talor Hamilton, an Ellsworth senior and three-event state champion last season, said he remembers his freshmen year at his first PVC meet, where he observed that Bangor’s team took up three entire benches.“And we were this tiny team taking up a quarter of just one,” Hamilton said. “Size-wise, it was really intimidating.”This season, though, eight boys and eight girls have joined Ellsworth’s squad as freshmen, nearly doubling the team’s size to 33. With swimmers limited to competing in just two individual events at the state meet, larger teams have greater opportunities to earn points.“When you have the depth, you can take those critical third, fourth and fifth places at the championship meet,” Goodman said. “Most of these kids, I can plug and play them wherever thanks to the DEFY program.”But size is not everything, as the Bangor boys’ team still remains almost twice the size of Ellsworth’s.Two-event state champion and senior Cooper Holmes described beating Bangor as “kind of awesome.”“They’ve destroyed us my whole high school career,” Holmes said. “This is the most competitive I’ve ever seen our team.”Ten of the 16 incoming freshmen have their names printed somewhere on the DEFY team record boards that surround the YMCA’s pool. Most have also already qualified for the state championship.“These are all kids who started out 8 years or younger with DEFY,” Montgomery said. “They got the fundamentals, and now, they can swim about anything.”Two of those talented freshmen are the younger siblings of Talor Hamilton and Cooper Holmes.Both Sidney Hamilton and Camden Holmes said their older brothers got them involved in the sport at young ages.“I’ve been swimming my whole life,” Camden Holmes said. “I’ve looked up to these seniors since I was 8 years old. Now, I’m swimming with them.”Camden Holmes set a high school team record Thursday with Cooper Holmes, Talor Hamilton and junior Sam Alvarado in the boys’ 400-yard freestyle relay (3:23.67).Sidney Hamilton set that same record Thursday (4:08.41) with fellow freshmen Ellie Clarke and Miriam Nelson as well as junior Arianna Peterson. A competitive swimmer since age 7, Sidney Hamilton said her brother has always been her inspiration.“I live with Talor, and I’ve seen how he’s grown,” Sidney Hamilton said. “The seniors are all motivation for us to get better and go faster. We’re just fighting to get up to their level.”Over the past 10 years, Montgomery said the DEFY program has increased from 45 swimmers to 135. He attributes that growth to younger swimmers looking up to the older ones.“The programs work hand-in-hand,” Montgomery said. “If we didn’t have a strong high school program, we wouldn’t keep swimmers in the water because they wouldn’t have something to strive for.”The Ellsworth boys’ and girls’ 400-yard freestyle relay teams set new team records on Thursday at Bangor. Members of the girls’ team are (front, from left) Ellie Clarke, Miriam Nelson, Arianna Peterson and Sidney Hamilton. Members of the boys’ team are (back, from left) Sam Alvarado, Camden Holmes, Cooper Holmes and Talor Hamilton. PHOTO BY TAYLOR VORTHERMSEllie Clarke is just one of DEFY’s most promising swimmers joining the high school ranks this season. Goodman said he expects Clarke to break records and place among the state’s top eight in the 50-yard freestyle.“I think DEFY has gotten me here,” Clarke said. “If I had just started high school swim, I don’t know where I’d be. DEFY has made me the swimmer I am.”Clarke and Sidney Hamilton also said the year-round club offers an easier social transition into high school.“When I got into high school, I felt sort of misplaced at first,” Sidney Hamilton said. “Then, a lot of the older swimmers were there to support us.”“They already have friends when they join the team,” Talor Hamilton added.Talor Hamilton and Cooper Holmes both said the most special state title they notched last year was in the 200-yard medley relay with Hayden Sattler and Alvarado.“Training really hard all year long, you develop a bond,” Cooper Holmes said. “So it’s kind of nice to win as a group. As a team.”Find complete results from Thursday’s Bangor vs. Ellsworth meet here. Taylor VorthermsSports Editor at The Ellsworth AmericanTaylor Vortherms covers sports in Hancock County. The St. Louis, Missouri native recently graduated from the Missouri School of Journalism and joined The Ellsworth American in 2013. Part 1: Invisible, incapacitating concussions are sidelining high school athletes – July 19, 2016 EHS names new boys’ soccer coach – July 13, 2016 Latest posts by Taylor Vortherms (see all)center_img Part 2: When the injury is inside your head, some “don’t get it” – July 26, 2016 Bio Latest Postslast_img read more