During spring break, while some students traveled across the globe and others caught up on their sleep, the Stuyvesant Muslim Student Association (MSA) participated in the Muslim Interscholastic Tournament (MIST) of the New York region. The event took place at Hofstra University from Friday, April 6 through Sunday, April 8 and New York City schools, including Bronx Science School of Science and Brooklyn Technical High School, attended. “Noor Al Stuy,” Stuyvesant’s team name, means “The Light of Stuy” in Arabic. This year, the MIST competition in New York, with 48 participants from Stuyvesant and 413 members in total, was more than double the size from last year.
Students competed in different events, including debate, culinary arts, basketball, writing, and knowledge of the Quran. The theme for the competition, which varies each year, was “Family: Reconnecting Our Hearts to Home.” Students signed up for individual and group competitions, gaining points for each competition won.
This was the first time SPARK and MSA advisor Angel Colon attended the competition. He was excited to learn the different aspects of Islam. “I was going into it with an open mind,” Colon said. “I knew I was going to come out of it with new found knowledge in better understanding the importance of the Muslim community: love for Islam/Allah, their beliefs and cultural/religious concerns and anything else that I was allowed to sit in, witness and observe.”
Although the competition was based on Islamic concepts, non-Muslim people were welcome to attend and participate in competitions. “People from schools all over New York came to compete and learn about Islam at the same time,” junior and MSA events coordinator Menna Elaskandrany said. “Muslims and non-Muslims joined together to create bonds of friendship that went beyond the competition, especially between the three specialized high schools—Stuyvesant, Bronx Science, and Brooklyn Tech.”
Non-Muslim students had non-religious affiliated workshops and competitions available for them, including fashion, basketball, and poetry. The first day of the three-day competition consisted of art workshops, the MIST quizbowl, debate rounds, and a math Olympics. The second day saw most of the group competitions, such as the science fair and the individual competitions, which included poetry and Quran tests. On the third day, there was a basketball tournament for each gender, a talent competition, and the award ceremony, where the top three teams were announced.
This year Stuyvesant placed second, a step down from winning first place the last two years. Yeasmin believes it may be because there were many underclassmen competing this year. “People weren’t as experienced,” she said. “But it’s great knowing that in the future, Stuyvesant will hopefully continue to have competitors who now are experienced and can help next year’s newbies.”
For senior Miraj Alam, this was still an enjoyable experience in his last year at Stuyvesant. “I really enjoyed all the energy, and camaraderie that one could feel at the competition,” he said.
“I didn’t know what to expect of MIST, but after experiencing it my expectations were exceeded. Prior to MIST I have never been in such a unique Islamic gathering with so many people my age,” freshman Razwan Miah said. “I am very excited for next year.”