April 2021 Ribaat Student of the Month – Evonne Saleh
Evonne Saleh grew up in North Dakota but currently resides in Minnesota with her family. They love the beautiful landscape and enjoy activities together like hiking, camping, and biking. Evonne and her family have also adopted a local park in their city that the three of them clean together for community service. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication with an emphasis in Journalism and a minor in Coaching. As of now, she is home full time, raising her daughter. Evonne volunteers as a board member for her homeowners’ association and heads a tree and landscape committee to help care for her neighborhood.
In January 2020, Evonne took her first Ribaat class. She had been trying to study Arabic on her own but wanted more structure. She met Dr. Tamara Gray at Daybreak Bookshop in 2019 and learned about the Ribaat Arabic Program.
“It sounded wonderful, and after doing some research I decided to start with one grammar class,” recalls Evonne, who has really enjoyed the program and teachers so far. “Everyone from the teachers to admins to classmates has been so supportive. Now just over a year later, I’ll be completing both the Level 2 Arabic conversation and grammar classes this semester.”
This past semester, Evonne also branched out to the Companions class. It feels like ‘coming full circle’ for Evonne to be learning from Dr. Tamara Gray herself, as she introduced Evonne to the program in the first place.
“I really enjoy Dr. Tamara’s weekly lessons and perspective,” Evonne shares. “She gives so much more life and context to the stories we read in the textbook Stars in the Prophet’s Orbit (s).”
According to Evonne, Ribaat classes have had a positive influence on her. She finds that everything she learns is presented in a way that integrates concepts from other facets of Islam.
“It could be anything from an interesting connection of Arabic root letters or the positive examples of character traits of the companions,” says Evonne. “I also appreciate how polite, kind, and helpful everyone is both in live classes and in the chat groups. It’s evident that the women involved in the program care deeply about their deen and one another. As someone who converted to Islam as an adult, I appreciate learning from a diverse group of educated women from all walks of life. It’s important to me, so I am better equipped to educate my own family. I love that Ribaat has provided a unique opportunity to achieve my own goals while connecting me with wonderful women from all over the world.”
Evonne hopes to continue her Arabic studies into Level 3 and beyond as she finds the Arabic language to be ‘beautiful and interesting.’ She would also like to pursue the Ribaat Teacher Certification over time. In her free time, Evonne enjoys trips to the library for new books, soaking up nature, and leading an active lifestyle with her family.