Just over 10 years ago, a group of Muslims purchased a 7-acre tract in east Fort Worth for $83,000.
They planted a fig tree on the property as a symbol of things to come.
That little tree didn't make it.
But the dream did not wither. It has blossomed beautifully and is bearing much fruit.
The land was to be the home of a new school, established a year earlier, and its founders wanted it to become a model institution, representing an idea that Muslims have cherished for centuries: superior education.
Now, Al-Hedayah Academy has a 12,000-square-foot building to house its elementary school and a 15,000-square-foot facility for its middle school, multiactivity hall and dedicated worship area.
Short-term plans call for building a soccer field and bleachers in July, a learning resource center with an Islamic library and language laboratories in December, and a cafeteria building with commercial kitchen and reception area in 2005-06.
Trustees also envision trails and a jogging area on its wooded lot, outdoor tennis and basketball courts and an upper school building.
The school has 180 students in kindergarten through eighth grade who look like a mini-United Nations. Their families come from countries including every Middle Eastern nation, North Africa, India and Pakistan, and, of course, the United States.
Last week, the school celebrated receiving its accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, only the second Islamic school in Texas to be so recognized...