A traditional education wasn’t the best fit for Sulaiman Mustapha.
The Sylvania resident had big ideas from a young age. At 12, he experimented with magnetic model cars. At 15, he designed a helmet that used magnetic technology to lessen a blow to the head. At 17, he and a group of his peers founded a company, One Degree, to foster innovation.
He was an accomplished kid, but he didn’t believe he was reaching his potential in school.
“Every day I’d go to school, and it was the same thing over and over and over again. I just felt like: What am I doing here? I’m wasting my time,” he said.
Mr. Mustapha, now 20, decided to open a school in the fall of 2016 to give students a place to embrace big ideas.
The Bounty Collegium, located near Sylvania’s main library branch, enrolled 11 students this year in grades 7-9. Next year it will expand to grades 6-10, with plans to grow to grades 6-12.
The school is a family endeavor. Mr. Mustapha’s mother, Amal Abu Karam, is the principal; his grandfather, Mamdouh Abukaram, teaches the Qu’ran, Islamic studies, and Arabic; and his brother, Abdurrahman Mustapha, teaches English.
The Bounty Collegium boasts a nontraditional education rooted in Islamic principles. The curriculum is largely based on Finland’s educational model and focuses on hands-on learning. Students learn the basics — math, science, English, writing, social studies, art — both in the classroom and through real-life experiences.
“What we do here at Bounty is bring education to life. We never want a student to say: Why am I learning this? We’re always bringing in practical applications of the subject areas,” Mrs. Abu Karam said.