BURNSVILLE, Minn. — This year, there's a new way students can proudly show their school spirit at William Byrne Elementary. For the first time, hijabs featuring the school mascot are being sold alongside t-shirts, ensuring everyone at the school is able to wear something displaying school pride.
The hijabs, which cost six dollars apiece, come in two sizes and two colors. Some even have sparkles on them.
"Every student deserves the opportunity to express their school identity and have that feeling of belonging," said Carla Valadez, a parent volunteer and spirit wear coordinator.
Valadez said last year, at a community event, she was approached by the school's Somali cultural liaison, Maryan Ali, who suggested the Parent Teacher Organization find a way to offer their Muslim students who are girls a way to join others in wearing something with Buster the Bulldog on it.
"I was of course so grateful that [Maryan Ali] identified this need in the community," Valadez said. "I worked with the whole PTO, and this immediately became a very important initiative for us."
Valadez worked alongside other PTO members and Ali to secure vendors to produce hijabs in royal blue and navy blue, as well as a screen printer.
Thursday, they sold their first custom hijab to 10-year-old Nawal Mohamed, who got one in two colors.
Mohamed's father, Said Ali, said he's grateful the school now provides this spirit wear for his daughter.
"If we get different colors, we might get more," Ali said. "It's really good to have it."
Valadez says it was a joy to see the looks on the girls' faces when they tried the new hijabs on for the first time.
"It makes this work meaningful," she said.
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