DMCI prayer room source of comfortSeptember 22, 2021
School can be a place to celebrate the many parts of us – from athletics to music to sports and yes, our spiritual growth.
Daniel McIntyre Collegiate Institute (DMCI) recently opened a space where students can pray and find community during the busy school day.
“When I arrived at DMCI back in March, I noticed there was a room in the library labelled ‘Prayer Room’. I thought it was awesome that we provided that to our students and wanted to take a look inside. But when I did, I was shocked - it was filled to the brim with storage,” shares Analeigh Novak, the school’s library technician. There was only room to stand in a single spot and it was completely unusable in its current state.
“A team of teachers and students got together and we gathered ideas, made plans, and submitted our proposal. We started working on this in June and it was officially completed this August, just before school started,” says Novak, excitedly.
Along with Analeigh, the DMCI team included Ruby Yudai (visual arts teacher and mural designer), Analee Pangan (EAL teacher), Benjamin Paul (Capstone Teacher), Ghadir Alnajar (2021 Graduate), Christine Blanco (current Grade 12 student), and Kiana Mercredi (current Grade 12 student).
For Ghadir, the addition of this space means feeling more like herself while at school. “I really hope that all Canadian schools take this into consideration, and try to construct a little prayer space for students,” she says. “A prayer room is a very important place to have at schools. For me, prayer is one of the five pillars of Islam. We do not only pray five times a day because we have to, but also because prayers are a source of peace and comfort.”
“This room means so much to so many. Students who, as part of their religion, are required to pray at certain times of the day, which means it might occur during school hours. Having this space for them means that they don't have to do it in the hallway, or in a storage room, or some other tiny corner that they find (which is where they were praying before). It shows that we as a school care about them and support them in all their aspects.”
The Prayer Room opening was announced to the entire staff during the first staff meeting of the year who were encouraged to pass the news on to their students. The Prayer Room is for students of all faiths and religions to pray and meditate. The school community is respectful of the space and fully understands what it is meant for. Analeigh said, “If anyone has any questions, they are more than welcome to come see me and I will help them out in any way that I can.”
The response has been enthusiastic -- everyone loves the Prayer Room and welcomes the gorgeous space.