Blissful Breaking

Students break fast for Ramadan together at Fast-A-Thon

After listening to the guest speakers, the participants of Fast-A-Thon broke their fast together by enjoying catering from Pita Inn.
« of 4 »


On April 6 from 6:45 to 8:30 p.m., the Muslim Student Association (MSA) hosted a Fast-A-Thon at school for students to come together to celebrate Ramadan. Fast-A-Thon is an event to raise religious and cultural awareness. 

During Ramadan, Muslims fast for 29 to 30 days and break their fast at sundown. At Fast-A-Thon, the students shared a communal break of their fast, after which the Muslim students took part in the sunset prayer, Maghrib.

With food from Pita Inn, Nothing Bundt Cake and Costco, MSA worked to coordinate multiple aspects of the event such as celebrity appearances and a group prayer to enhance the students’ experience.  Byefarzy, a local Muslim TikTok creator with 2.7 million followers and 176 million likes, was invited to attend the event and did a meet-and-greet with Stevenson students. Abdul Shaik ’25, a member of MSA, emphasized the benefits of listening to these speakers during Fast-A-Thon.

“Fast-A-Thon gave me the opportunity to celebrate my heritage at school, which is especially hard for Muslims given all the restrictions,” Shaik said. “There’s a lot of confusion around Islan and being Muslim that makes it harder to practice. But this event gave me a feeling of belonging in an area where I was able to express myself to people who understood my struggles.”

For Shaik, religious prejudice in the form of uneducated jokes and remarks create a difficult environment to pray and speak about his beliefs in school. But as MSA executive board member Ammar Kathib ’24 expresses, the weekly MSA meetings can help students navigate religious expression by engaging in discussions and building community. 

“Self-expression is hard, especially as high school students, and it’s important to have groups and places where you can open up about yourself,” Kathib said. “MSA serves as that safe space for students, and the events we put on [are focused] on cultivating that environment further.”

During the Fast-A-Thon, students heard speeches from Iman Azfar Uddin, a pastor from the Islamic Foundation North in Libertyville, who spoke about Ramdan and its importance in the Muslim culture. For Jean Rebarchak, AP U.S. History teacher and MSA sponsor, it felt like an entire community was coming together. 

“I think it’s important that everyone makes an effort to understand different cultures and practices,” Rebarchak said. “It’s so important to be culturally aware, and with all the diversity at Stevenson, students should take advantage of that.” 

According to Rubarchek, over 120 students attended Fast-A-Thon, with it being one of the largest events MSA has put on in recent years. With Fast-a-Thon being amongst other MSA events, such as participating in Night Market, Kathib hopes to continue holding Fast-A-Thon to create a more understanding and aware student body.

“[Fast-A-Thon] helped showcase what communities of students at Stevenson can band together to do, and from here, we have much more ambitious projects planned,” Kathib said. “I’m even more excited to see if we can find more local celebrities to spotlight.” 

Kathib believes that Fast-A-Thon can pave the way to create a medium in which many different cultures can be appreciated. For MSA members like Shaik he appreciates the Stevenson community for showing up to Fast-A-Thon.

“To me, it almost felt like no matter where you were in life, a famous person, or a normal high schooler like me, we all are united through our unique customs and community, and [we] can rely on that wherever we go,” Shaik said.