On Thursday night at the Peterson Event Center, a throng of people leapt to their feet, tilted their heads and let out a roar.
The roar was not one of anger or pain, displeasure or frustration. No, this was a sound, laced with joy, ricocheting with pleasure, and filled with exhortation.
It came from the fans of Imani Christian Academy as they watched the Imani Christian Academy Saints become the WPIAL Boys Basketball Champions. The roar was deafening, the fans were excited, and the players, well, they were ecstatic. You see, in the peels of the crowd there was more than just the joy of the moment.
If you listened closely, you would have heard much more….
You would have heard a story of a school founded by a man of God whose response to urban violence and death was to create a school that would save souls by demonstrating the love of Jesus. A school where the staff pulled kids off the street and into school. In the voices, you would have detected the stories of graduates whose lives were saved, and whose destinies were altered because Imani’s teachers were committed to healing the whole child instead of trying to teach over brokenness.
If you listened closely, you would have heard how this Christian School expanded to include students who found in it a refuge from the perils of other school environments, and thrived while under Iman’s care. If you took a moment, you would hear the stories of how uniformed students, from the urban core of Pittsburgh are defying the odds of place and poverty and making something extraordinary happen for their lives. In the roar of the crowd, you would have heard this….. and more.
For the cheers that day were not just for the team. The cheers were for the community. They were for the single mom or dad who works two jobs so their son could attend Imani. The applause were for the aunt, the uncle, the grandmother or grandfather or the “raise”, that drove their children and their children’s children to Imani and picked them up every day because they knew that Imani would do right by them.
The applause were for the students who fled the violence and the danger, and found at Imani a haven for their dreams and a home for their aspirations. The cheers were for those who got down on their knees, and lifted their hands to the heavens and sent their children to Imani because they felt God’s presence when they walked into Imani’s doors.
The cheers were for the teachers, who get paid the least, but give the most and live on smiles and hard fought academic gains. The cheers were for the unseen board member who wrote the checks, called their friends and helped keep the doors open.
Last night, at the Peterson Event Center, a throng of people leapt to their feet, tilted their heads and let out a roar. The sound passed from person to person, it pushed through the roof and headed toward the heavens.
The roar… it was the sound of gratitude.
The sound of Imani Christian Academy, past and present, thanking the Almighty God for his continued grace and mercy and a WPIAL Boys Basketball Championship.