Harrislam competes in and hosts MIST NY 2023

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For the 14th consecutive year, Townsend Harris High School students competed in the New York Muslim Interscholastic Tournament (MIST) against many other high schools in the state, assuming the role of this year’s host for the first time. The annual three-day tournament, created and organized by MIST New York, consisted of various competitions including academic, recreational, and trivia events in addition to sports, games, and art contests. The THHS team, Harrislam, won numerous awards, with junior Sadeea Morshed winning first in the “overall competitor” category for a record-breaking second year in a row.

The school team, Harrislam, is an extension of the THHS Muslim Student Association (MSA) and has been participating in MIST since 2009. This year, Harrislam and its members won numerous competitions, including placing first in the MIST Quiz Bowl bracket. They also received trophies in Science Fair, Logic and Algorithms, Poetry, Photography, Quran Memorization, Culinary Arts, Social Media, and Super Smash Bros. Additionally, participants in MIST received ten hours of community service for their hard work and preparation.

Sophomore Lamiah Tasnim said, “I was very proud of my team for winning so many trophies. It made the experience of it all just so much more worth it. The team’s success wouldn’t have been possible without all the hard work and dedication everyone put into it.”

Sophomore Shayra Shoshi, a MIST Coordinator and a Science and Tech Copy Editor for The Classic, said, “I think how much we supported each other and how much time and effort each competitor put into practicing and preparing for their competitions got us to win. It’s always amazing to win this many awards while having a small team.”

“Although MIST is just another successful school competition, it’s also different because it incorporates both cultural and religious aspects of academic high school life. There’s no other competition and event like it. Our team was small this year… so I’m looking forward to next year when we’re [larger and] even more prepared so that we will be ready to become one of the top three teams in the New York City region,” Assistant Principal and Harrislam coach Ellen Fee said.

This year, junior Sadeea Morshed, a MIST Coordinator and a Managing Editor for The Classic, was awarded First Place Overall Competitor for the second year in a row after winning awards in three other individual categories. She is the first and only competitor to achieve this in the history of MIST New York. “It was very fulfilling to be recognized for my hard work, and I dedicate my achievements to my family, friends, and finally, myself, for being able to stick to my goals regardless of the stress I faced along the way. We all worked really hard as a group to get to where we are, and I’m proud of everyone for it,” she said.

Senior Hana Arafa, the Co-MSA-President and a Managing Editor for The Classic, said, “MIST means community and connections. It has allowed me to meet so many different people and bring people from our own school community together as we support and cheer [for] one another [at] competitions. It truly provides a warm and safe environment for Muslim students in THHS and the greater school community to feel welcome and learn about one another through educational and social activities.”

Sadeea said, “The experiences you make at MIST are truly unrivaled. In every waiting room you enter and on every stage you perform, there will be people smiling, applauding, and making friends with you. Everyone is making new memories, and being a part of that is what makes MIST so exciting and almost like a second family.”

The MSA has been preparing for MIST since November, and tryouts took place throughout the months of December and January. Various interest meetings, practices, Q&A workshops about competitions, and bake sale fundraisers were held to help get participants ready for the tournament. Hana said, “Along with the other board members, I planned tryouts, bake sales to raise funds for our outfits, and MIST-specific meetings. We also held an extra day during the February break when members could come to rehearse for their competitions to ensure everyone [was] ready.”

The MIST organization as a whole aims to connect and educate students across the nation, both academically and culturally, through shared passions and interests. It enriches the communities of the schools that participate in it and creates a meaningful impact on students by teaching them about Muslim cultural and religious traditions. Anyone can participate in the competitions, regardless of religion or background.

Ms. Fee said, “[A] sense of community is so important to human development, and MSA and MIST both embody that special sense of belonging to something bigger.”