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IN THIS ISSUE 20 Meet our Mariamma Varkey Award for Inspirational and Outstanding Teaching winners.

78 Hear what parents using the GEMS Rewards App have to say.

40 Competition alert! Win a day with Level Kids.

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s a proud UAE company we recently celebrated the 46th National Day in an Officially Amazing way. Students from GEMS Cambridge International School - Abu Dhabi and GEMS United Indian School - Abu Dhabi came together to form the “World’s Largest Human Waving Flag” securing the fourth Guinness World Record for GEMS Education. We also celebrated the importance of healthy lifestyles when our schools accepted the Dubai 30 x 30 Fitness Challenge. HE Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crowne Prince of Dubai, challenged the entire Nation and we were happy to accept. We are also celebrating sporting excellence with the addition of former Manchester United player Dwight


Yorke to the ESM Football Academy. At International level, Dwight represented Trinidad and Tobago and is now the a Football Ambassador who will be supporting youth programmes that are designated to grow youth and amateur talent in the UAE. One of most important celebrations recently has been that which celebrates our teachers. Five exceptional teachers were recognised with the Mariamma Varkey Award for Inspirational and Outstanding Teaching at GEMS. Heather Massaquoi of Bradenton Preparatory Academy was named the Most Inspirational Teacher; Suzie Hachez, a teacher at Cambridge International School – Dubai, picked up the award in the category for Special Educational Needs; Anthony Riley of GEMS Royal Dubai School – Dubai received the award for Primary Years; Neez Hashim of Our Own

English High School – Fujairah was the recipient for Secondary Years; and Sharon Robertson, a teacher at GEMS Wellington Primary School – Dubai, was presented with the award for Early Years. We speak to them all to find out their thoughts on a wide range of teaching and educational subjects. No celebration would be complete without celebrating our families. The recently launched GEMS Rewards App has already helped hundreds of our families save and a few families share their experience with us. Throughout the rest of GEMS Family you will read of news celebrating accomplishments of our students be it in debating, basketball, swimming or robotics. Finally from our Family to yours, we wish you all a great holiday season and a Happy New Year.


The GEMS Family Magazine Team GEMS EDUCATION Andy Johnson Benny Thomas Delfin Lardizabal Joel Nerona Melanie Dunn Pablo Arguello Carzar Phil Redhead Ross McAuley Sheetal Khullar Adhvaryu

TPG PUBLISHING LLC Chalitha Fernando Cherri Fawzy Daniel Murad Dorothy Brigoli Eddie Rayner Elvit Ebrahimi Laura Wojciechowski Mahdi Shafiei Nawal Atiq Rod Millington

CONTRIBUTORS ESM (East Sports Management) Academy Plus

CONTACT Tel:+971 4 349 4925 Email:

This magazine is published by TPG Publishing LLC. All material is the copyright of TPG Publishing LLC. All rights reserved. This magazine is the property of TPG Publishing LLC. This publication may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form whole or part without written permission of the Managing Director of TPG Publishing LLC. While every care is taken in the preparation of this magazine, the publishers cannot be held responsible for the accuracy of the information herein, or any consequence arising from it. In the case of company or product reviews or comments, these have been based upon the true and honest opinion of the Editor at the time of going to press.


It is the festive season and we have been celebrating

COVER STORY 10 One Nation, One Flag… And a New World Record LESSONS IN LEADERSHIP 13 Nothing is Over Until You Stop Trying


INNOVATIONS 34 Throwing the Box Out Bonjour, Nĭ Hăo, Salaam, and Namaste! 35 Man n’ Machine Owning the Future 36 Your World… Delivered 37 It’s Everywhere You Want to Be A Future Without Boundaries


STUDENT VOICE 15 When Music is Life 16 Sowing Seeds in the Clouds 18 Making Stuff That Matters FIVE MINUTES WITH 20 Celebrating Teachers Who Change Lives 21 Dreams and Dedication - A Powerful Combination 22 In a Class of Her Own Teaching From the Heart, Not the Book 25 It Takes a Big Heart to Shape Little Minds Helping Students Find Their Wings


PARENT TO PARENT 26 How to Stop Emotions Creating Commotion 27 And So the Adventure Begins 28 Teaching the Next Generation of Leaders 29 A Blessing in Disguise PARENTING 31 An Engaged and Nurturing Environment




Passion, Commitment and


Fun 44 Don’t Go Through Life Without Goals Without Dance, What’s the Pointe? 45 Not All Athletes Wear Shoes 46 Bowled Over by Modern Technology 48 Making Waves on the International Stage Immerse Yourself in Our World 49 The Court is in Session Start Hard, Turn Smart, Finish Fast 51 Do You Dare to Tri? 52 Kings of Swing One Life, One Body, One Chance 53 Respecting All, Fearing None 54 Fitter, Healthier, Happier ACTIVE LIFESTYLE 55 30 Minutes a Day Will Keep Your Body in Shape 56 GEMS Goes Pink! FAMILY HEALTH 59 Diabetes- Don’t Sugarcoat It! 60 Life- More Precious Than a Diamond

FUTURE FOCUSED 65 Learn it, Live it, Pass it On 66 Connecting with a Whole World of Education 67 It’s All About Saving Lives 68 Ask the Counsellor 69 Get Informed! ACADEMY PLUS 71 Building Strong Bodies and Clear Minds LIFE AFTER GEMS 74 Pain is Temporary, Pride is Forever 75 If Opportunity Doesn’t Knock, Build a Door 76 Work Hard, Make it Happen GIVING BACK 77 Save Money, Live Better 78 Saving While You Spend 79 We Rise by Lifting Others 80 Thinking Globally, Acting Locally 81 Together Everyone Accomplishes More 82 Proud to be an Indian Overseas Growing Food Fit for a King 83 Leaving No Child Behind Dream Big- Read! IN THE NEWS 85 Latest News from GEMS all Over the World

THE ARTS 61 A Dance Around India 62 The Voice of WSF It’s Not a Book… It’s a Doorway BEYOND THE CLASSROOM 63 Building Bridges Instead of Walls 64 Be so Good They Can’t Ignore You








he fastest, the biggest, the highest … records are smashed across the planet on an almost daily basis, but few are so patriotic and well-timed as the one achieved by 4130 students from GEMS Education to celebrate the 46th U.A.E. National Day!

“Celebrating this occasion is a proud tradition we will continue at GEMS Education and I would like to thank all the students, teachers and parents who have supported the event with such great enthusiasm.”

across the globe. By creating the ‘World’s Largest Human Waving Flag’, we wanted to pay a tribute to the U.A.E. and the achievements of our visionary leaders. “Celebrating this occasion is a proud tradition we will continue at GEMS Education and I would like to thank all the students, teachers and parents who have supported the event with such great enthusiasm.”

Validated by Guinness World Records officials at GEMS Cambridge

This is the fourth world record achieved by students of GEMS

International School – Abu Dhabi, students from the host school and

Education and the third record that they have created. Previously in

GEMS United Indian School – Abu Dhabi all dressed in the national flag

2016, GEMS students paid tribute to the U.A.E. on National Day by

colours to form the ‘World’s Largest Human Waving Flag’.

creating the ‘World’s Largest Transforming Human Image’, whilst in

It takes hard work, dedication and patience to be the best, but the

2015, they created a record for the ‘World’s Largest Human Sentence’. In

students were determined to show their love and reverence for the

2014, students of 119 nationalities from GEMS Education achieved the

national flag, which is a symbol of much pride for Emiratis.

Guinness World Records title after they sang the U.A.E. national anthem.

Dino Varkey, Chief Executive Officer, GEMS Education, said: “After 46 years, the U.A.E. is one of the most advanced and sought-after countries




The family’s favourite marmalade-loving bear, Paddington, is bringing joy to the cinemas once again in PADDINGTON 2! Paddington, now happily settled with the Brown family and a popular member of the local community, picks up a series of jobs to buy the perfect present for his Aunt Lucy`s 100th birthday, only for the gift to be stolen. To celebrate the release of PADDINGTON 2 in cinemas, DUBAI FESTIVAL CITY MALL is launching PADDINGTON WORLD from November 23 to December 23. Spend AED 250 at Dubai Festival City Mall and visit Paddington World! Take part in free and exciting games for everyone, take photos, meet and greet Paddington, and have the chance to win an exciting family trip to London!
















that he has 100% faith in me and believes I can achieve anything. That is the best feeling in the world. This man is undeniably the most educated person I know when it comes to training and nutrition. I would never have achieved my goal of reaching the Arnold’s without him.” So has Rebecca ever considered bodybuilding as a full-time career? “To be honest, no,” she answers. “I know many people do and lots are successful at it, but education is 100% my passion and calling in life. I love working with children and have a dream to open my own school one day in the future. Bodybuilding is a passion of mine, but has always been a hobby, my release from daily pressures or stresses from work,” she concludes.



love for what you do and a willingness to push yourself where others aren’t prepared to go is a precursor to greatness. That’s why bodybuilder and GEMS Royal Dubai School teacher Rebecca Farrell acknowledges

the maxim that there’s more to life than training, but training is what puts more in your life. “Honestly, from the moment I hit the gym I shut the world out! I put my headphones in and then it’s just me and the weights. It’s like a form of meditation. Seeing results drives me to push more and work harder. The feeling I get when I see my body changing is incredible - to know that I am in control and have the ability to achieve a goal I set myself is amazing. It’s a huge sense of achievement.” All of that hard work has certainly paid off too, with Rebecca recently getting to compete in the Arnold Classic Europe 2017. “It was a dream come true,” she says. “Throughout my 26 week preparation of training and dieting, the only thing that kept me focused and determined everyday was the thought of stepping out on the Arnold’s Stage in Barcelona. It has always been a dream of mine and to achieve that goal and actually be up there with all the other top athletes in the world was incredible. It was an unforgettable experience and I’m so proud of myself for achieving it!”



Rebecca explains that the biggest motivation in her life is her husband, Darren. “I am so blessed to have him in my life and to know

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When Music

is Life


s Friedrich Nietzsche once said in Twilight of the Idols, “Without music, life would be a mistake.” Anirudh Rakesh, a 14-year-old student at GEMS Modern Academy, agrees wholeheartedly with this sentiment. “I can say that music has always been a part of my life. At home, we would play all kind of music. And you know, like the saying goes, I started singing even before I could talk,” he proclaims with a chuckle. Anirudh began his formal training in music when he was just

7-years-of-age at his neighbourhood music centre, GMLC in Sharjah. “Initially, I was learning the keyboard, but started taking vocal lessons a year later; I’ve now completed my 8th Grade of Trinity Rock and Pop vocals. I have also been learning the theory of music as I wanted to learn how to compose, as well as to learn to play the instruments better.” Although not a GEMS student back in 2014, Anirudh took the opportunity to take part in the GEMS singing contest, ‘Best of the Best’. It was a life-changing experience, as he explains: “I was lucky that I got to meet Mr. Kevin Oliver, the Cultural Coordinator for GEMS Education, and later he was kind enough to give me an opportunity to be part of the Global Teacher Prize concerts as part of GESF 2015 and 2016. Soon afterwards, as my family moved to India, I did Grade 8 in a school in Kerala. However, we returned to Dubai in April 2017 and GEMS Modern Academy was obviously my first choice of school. Nevertheless, if it wasn’t for Mr. Oliver, I wouldn’t be here in GEMS Modern Academy now. This change of school led Anirudh to become involved in the production of ‘The Lost’, a pop opera written and directed by Kevin Oliver. “This was the first time I got involved in such a massive production. I was totally in awe and was drawn into the magic of music and drama. The highlight undoubtedly was when I was given the role of one of the leading characters. And, when we got a standing ovation at the end of 55 minutes, it was simply the icing on the cake!”



Sowing Seeds IN THE CLOUDS


ankind has been attempting to control the weather for millennia, with cultures from all four corners of the world having once worshipped rain-granting deities, whereas sci-fi villains have been obsessed with flood and drought since the dawn of the movies. What if, though, we could break apart the clouds that produce rain? What if we really could control the weather? Well, it’s now become possible … sort of … and Khalfan Hableel, a 17-year-old student from Al Khaleej National School – Dubai, has created a solution that saves a lot of money compared to other current systems, whilst retaining the same capabilities and results. The weather modification project that Khalfan presented at the

With the help of his hand-picked team, including his brother (a chemical engineer) and mother (an aerospace engineer), Khalfan tackled the main challenge of the Emirates Awards with consummate ease – ensuring that his chosen project had a positive social affect. “The idea of using a cheaper platform for cloud seeding means that you can perform more operations for the same cost. The goal of cloud seeding is to increase the chance of rain. So, if we have more missions, we have higher chance of rain and everyone benefits. We have the agricultural sector and reservoirs, for instance, whilst people collecting rainwater can produce cheaper drinking water. This is the social impact of the project,” Khalfan says. The judges at the Emirates Awards were quick to recognise this brilliant young student’s innovation and creativity, with Khalfan

Emirates Awards revolves around an unmanned aerial system called

concluding: “It was hard; there were some really amazing projects

‘Stratus’. “I’d like to have a programme in the U.A.E. through the National

with some really great ideas. In fact, there were a total of 500 projects

Centre of Meteorology,” he explains. “They use manned aircraft for a

proposed in the Arab region, out of which 15 got accepted and five were

process called ‘Cloud Seeding’. However, because manned aircraft are

given the finalist awards. I think my age – I was the youngest - played a

used the cost of maintenance and storage is high. I proposed something

big part in me bagging the third prize. I am very happy.”

that’s smaller, requires fewer resources, requires no hanger space, and does not use jet fuel.”



Making Stuff That Matters


ll across the nation, young minds are making great strides in the fields of science and technology, helping to make the world a better place. Mohamed Haneen, of GEMS Millennium School - Sharjah, is one such youngster who, having always been a curious lad eager to know how things work, decided that the best way was to find out for himself. “It all started when I was in Grade 5, dismantling old toys and making something new out of them.” he explains. “In the past few years I have participated in many competitions, and without fail I have come home with a prize.” Recently, Mohamed was one of a group of five students who entered

Following on from this success, Mohamed presented one of his latest innovations, the Power Shoe, at the GEMS Global Innovation Challenge, held in association with Singularity University. “This is a special type of shoe designed to generate electricity by just walking, and can be used for powering personal gadgets such as mobile phones. I won the Special Jury Award and the People’s Choice Award, and was shortlisted out of 200 students for the semi-finals. In the semi-finals, I was invited to pitch about my project for 10 minutes and was then asked a number of searching questions. I was one among the top three teams who got a chance to attend the Singularity Summit in San Francisco, California.” Also invited to be a speaker at the BETT exhibition in Abu Dhabi,

a competition called ‘First LEGO® League’. “We were awarded the trophy

the region’s most senior gathering of education leaders, Mohamed is

for the most innovative idea, which revolved around saving one of the

a regular contestent in science exhibitions and has won many awards

world’s most endangered species, the rhinoceros,who are unfortunately

and prizes for his projects. And he puts a lot of his success down to the

being hunted for their horns.We planned to 3D print a rhino horn using

quality of his formal education, with GEMS Millennium School - Sharjah

its own natural composition.”

committed to creating tomorrow’s innovators by providing a hands-on, learning by doing experience. Smart eh!



Celebrating Teachers Who Change Lives


EMS Education has presented five teachers with the prestigious Mariamma Varkey Award for Inspirational and Outstanding Teaching at GEMS, celebrating their exceptional contribution as teachers in five different

categories. This award recognises teachers who are inspirational and have helped their students and colleagues excel in life-changing ways. Each winner was nominated based on specific criteria, as well as feedback from their peers, students and parents. Read on to find out more about the winners.




Mariamma Varkey Award Winner for Most Inspirational Teacher



et’s face it, very few youngsters enjoy sitting in a classroom first thing in the morning. But the best teachers are the ones whose personalities are so bright that the light bulbs inside their students’ heads are switched on anyway.

As the old saying goes, ‘the good teacher explains, the superior

teacher demonstrates, the great teacher inspires’. And Heather Massaquoi of Bradenton Preparatory Academy definitely falls into the latter category, a fact that was recently recognised when she was honoured with the title of ‘Most Inspirational Teacher’ at the Mariamma Varkey Awards. Currently in her 19th year of teaching and her sixth year in Dubai, Heather teaches music to Grade 6-12 students, with a focus on vocal music (she runs middle and high school choirs), as well as teaching AP music and advanced instrumental. But what inspired her to become a teacher, and more specifically a music teacher? “I have been playing piano since the age of three,” she explains, “so I have always been a musician. However, I thought I was moving into the music therapy field, actually training in that discipline, but whilst volunteering overseas I was thrown into a classroom and that was the start of my teaching career!” So upon returning to Canada, Heather enroled in a teacher’s college and from there trained to be a music teacher. Today, Heather studies classical piano, and has a love for all of the great composers. “They are not my inspiration, but I always enjoy playing Brahms and Chopin. Those are my two favourites,” she says. So what is her inspiration? The response is immediate: “My family. When you start getting older, you start to realise who your parents are and what they do and what impact they make on people. And I saw that from a young age. They are my main inspiration.” Heather also has some very firm ideas on what it takes to be inspirational. “You need to have a drive; you need to believe in something. It’s no good just thinking how to make the most money; you need to recognise what you’re good at, what’s your hustle? Everybody has to have that hustle, mine is teaching. It’s what inspires me, what sustains me throughout life. Simply put, you need to believe in what you are doing and make sure you have all the tools necessary to pass that on to someone else.”



Mariamma Varkey Award Winner for Primary Years

In a Class of Her Own Sharon Robertson, a teacher at GEMS Wellington Primary School – Dubai, has been presented with the ‘Mariamma Varkey Award for Inspirational and Outstanding Teaching in the Early Years’. We spoke to her to find out about her career and what drives her? GEMS Family: How long have you been teaching? Sharon Robertson: I’ve been teaching since 2004. I have taught in England, Australia, Scotland, and now in the U.A.E., where I moved two years ago. GEMS Family: When it comes to teaching what drives you?? Sharon Robertson: I think it’s more to do with what the children are learning than what I am teaching. That is what drives me: you do not know what you are going to get with the children, and then you just start seeing it. For me, it’s focusing on the learning. Everyone’s learning journey is different and their take is different. And you just have to keep up with that. That’s what drives me because it is not boring. It’s energetic and fun. GEMS Family: What do you think sets you apart from other teachers? Sharon Robertson: I am very open to children being children. When I sit with a group of children, it’s all about relationships, behaviour and respect. A successful teacher is about the ideas that aren’t yours necessarily, but ideas that come from the children. I don’t think I am amazing, and I know that if the children aren’t learning then I’m not doing something right. But most of all, I love my job.

Teaching From the Heart, Not the Book The recipient of the ‘Mariamma Varkey Award for Inspirational and Outstanding Teaching in the Primary Years’, Anthony Riley is one of GEMS Royal Dubai School’s most popular and stimulating teachers. We caught up with him to find out what his motivation is and what it is he thinks sets him apart. GEMS Family: How long have you been teaching? Anthony Riley: This is my sixth year of teaching. It’s my fifth year at GEMS, but prior to this I was teaching in Scotland.

Mariamma Varkey Award Winner for Early Years

GEMS Family: When it comes to teaching what is your driving force? Anthony Riley: To be honest with you, I think so many people go to work and hate their job; I think it’s so common these days. I think if I go to work everyday and I am happy, I love what I do, and the job can bring a smile to my face, that’s my driving force. And I absolutely love working with children, they make me smile and laugh and it’s incredibly rewarding. GEMS Family: What is it about you that you think sets you apart from other teachers? Anthony Riley: I think all of the teachers in the school are wonderful and I am really lucky to be working with such skilled and professional colleagues. I am a dedicated member of the school and I genuinely do love teaching. I wouldn’t do any other job. So hopefully my passion inspires other people.


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eez Hashim of Our Own English High School – Fujairah

I say, just pass the examination. I teach them so they know how the

is the recipient of the ‘Mariamma Varkey Award

question is going to be formatted, giving them practice papers with the

for Inspirational and Outstanding Teaching in the

same type of questions. Then, when they get the actual paper, they

Secondary Years’. We spoke to Mrs. Hashim about her

don’t face that much difficulty because they know the pattern in which

career, motivation, and what sets her apart as a teacher?

the questions come.

GEMS Family: How long have you been teaching? Neez Hashim: I began teaching in 1998, but moved to Our Own English High School – Fujairah six years ago. GEMS Family: What drives you? Neez Hashim: My primary motivation is being able to give knowledge

Mariamma Varkey Award Winner for Secondary Years

to those 20 or 100 children that are coming to classes, ensuring that they understand what I’m saying and are then able to pass on the knowledge to someone else. In addition, my mother has given me wonderful support, whilst my own teachers gave me the foundation I needed to succeed in life. GEMS Family: What do you think sets you apart from other teachers? Neez Hashim: As all children have different capabilities, but are all under the same pressure, I don’t ask them to score 100/100; for now,

Helping Students Find Their Wings


orking with children

joy, helping them to rediscover their innate

themselves are very affective, particularly

who have special needs,

fascination with life.

within Cambridge International School. I really

their families and the professionals who support

them is my passion,” says Suzie Hachez, winner of the Mariamma Varkey Award for

GEMS Family: What is the best part of

do feel that the school helps my students find

working with students who have Special

their wings, and shows them how to reach

Education Needs?

beyond their dreams. However, I feel there

Suzie Hachez: The moment where I explain a

needs to be more done outside of school. We

Inspirational and Outstanding Teaching

concept to them in unconventional ways and

need to ensure that these children go out and

in the category for Special Educational

they understand it. That gives me a great sense

have a life like everybody else. Isn’t that the

Needs. “I’ve seen and been involved in some

of accomplishment.

aim of education?

wonderful work across this specialist sector; a long time ago coming to the conclusion that no child is ‘too difficult’ to have a

GEMS Family: What is the most challenging part of your job? Suzie Hachez: When students are ‘closed’.

childhood.” We spoke to Suzie, a teacher at

When they’ve had a bad day. But I’ve formed

Cambridge International School - Dubai, to

such amazing bonds with each of the students

find out more.

that the challenges I face become much easier

GEMS Family: How is teaching for Special Education Needs different? Suzie Hachez: You need to go to their level

to confront. GEMS Family: If you could change one thing about the current teaching methods

and walk with them step-by-step. They get

used for children with Special Education

frustrated sometimes, of course, so you

Needs, what would it be?

have to look for things that give the children

Suzie Hachez: I believe the teaching methods

Mariamma Varkey Award Winner for Special Educational Needs



It Takes a Big Heart to Shape Little Minds


How to Stop Emotions Creating Commotion


here isn’t a set of rules for positive parenting, which is why the Counselling and Learning Support Team at The Millennium School - Dubai recently organised a workshop for parents on this very subject. The workshop was conducted by guest speaker Ms. Nipa Bhuptani, Director of the Applied and Behavioural Training Institute, Dubai, and the founder of Autism Support Network, Abu Dhabi.

the functions of behaviour and the reason children exhibit a certain type of behaviour. In a nutshell, she showed how ‘emotions bring in commotion’ when not handled appropriately. Hence the importance of setting clear rules, demonstrating them, following through, and rewarding them when relevant. The importance of family contribution was addressed and seeking children’s partnerships in decision making was seen as a crucial factor. Another significant topic covered was ‘communication’. Suggestions

Ms. Bhuptani commenced the workshop by talking about the

were made to ask children open-ended questions and use technology

privilege of being a parent and the huge responsibility that comes with

as a medium for interaction. The speaker concluded the workshop by

it. She emphasised the need and advised parents to enjoy their journey

drawing the attention of the participants to ‘mindfulness’ and modelling

of raising kids.

values to their kids.

In an interactive session parents shared their perspective on

Along with teaching children rules and boundaries - a key element

behaviours such as tantrums, attitude, anger and verbal expressions. Ms.

to positive parenting – the importance of showing respect for kids, and

Bhuptani threw light upon the fact that skills such as painting, skating

teaching them to respect others, was at the heart of the message.

and writing should also be considered as behaviours. She spoke about



hether your child is starting school for the first time or you have moved to a new area, you will need to enrol your child in school. Here we take you

through a few of the most pertinent rules in order to make


And So the Adventure Begins

“You should be considering enrolment for FS1 or PRE-K, for the following academic year, when your child turns two.”

the process easy and hassle-free. When should you enrol your child in school? Rule of thumb, you should be considering enrolment for FS1 or PRE-K, for the following academic year, when your child turns two. In the U.A.E., you enrol your child in the academic year prior to when he or she is due to start school. Most schools will open for new applications between September and December, although some schools will only open initially for sibling applications during this period. What are the basic skills your child should possess before being enroled? There are a few basic skills children must possess before they start school, such as being toilet trained. Schools will also look at the following basic skills such as how children communicate, independence (their ability to separate from their parents), their ability to engage with the teacher and other children, ability to follow instructions, and the child’s fine motor skills. What factors should you take into consideration before choosing a school for your child? Choosing a school for your children combines a number of practical and emotional factors that raise crucial questions around geographical considerations, school culture, budget, and learning beyond the classroom. These are just a few of the things you may like to address. How should you mentally prepare your child for school? Many GEMS schools hold specific Early Years events that are designed to help parents find the answer to this question. We would encourage parents to attend these events because it helps to demystify what goes on inside the classroom.



Teaching the Next Generation of Leaders


EMS Education’s schools across the U.A.E. welcomed thousands of students back for this academic year, including over 100 outstanding Emirati students who have been given scholarships through the Mohammed bin Rashid Distinguished Students Programme. Launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice

Academy - Silicon Oasis) agreed, explaining: “I heard about the scholarship programme through the radio. In all honesty, I didn’t expect that my children would be awarded with this prestigious scholarship, but now that they have been my expectations are very high and I believe that my children will be in safe hands. I want them to be thinkers, creators, and independent. I want them to be exceptional in their academic performance, as well as in their extra-curricular activities. I want my children to always aim at being number one and work hard to achieve H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s vision of building educated and knowledgeable youth.” Sir Christopher Stone, Chief Education Officer, GEMS Education concluded: “GEMS Education, in partnership with the KHDA, is committed to supporting the bold vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al

President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, the programme, of which GEMS

Maktoum. We are proud that ten GEMS schools are now working with these

Education is a proud partner, aims to provide opportunities for outstanding

outstanding young people who are set to become the next generation of

Emirati students who wish to join the best private schools, and in doing so gain

Emirati leaders. The Mohammed bin Rashid Programme for Distinguished

access to the highest educational services.

Students is aligned with the GEMS Education values of excellence,

Sawsan Bukallah, whose two sons Hussein and Mohammed Al Asmakh are a part of the programme, shared her enthusiasm and thoughts on the GEMS schools that her sons joined, saying: “I am delighted that I applied for the Mohammed bin Rashid Distinguished Students Programme and incredibly grateful that my children are recipients of this prestigious scholarship. I chose GEMS Wellington Academy - Al Khail because it provides a premium British education that is globally recognised for entry to higher education. I believe that GEMS Wellington Academy- Al Khail will provide my children with an excellent start to their education, embedding the core competencies required to be successful learners.” Rema Laggoun, who has two children at GEMS schools (Mariam Ibrahim at GEMS International School – Al Khail and Meera Ibrahim at GEMS Wellington


innovation and global citizenship, and we are delighted to be part of it.”


EMS Education pledged to be part of the

Students Programme. We, as a family, believe that education is the most

Mohammed bin Rashid Distinguished Students

important thing that you can give your children. My children are high

Programme, to do its part in educating and

achievers, who excelled in their studies. I know the transition might not

bringing out the best of the best Emirati

be easy; however, staff and teachers at GEMS Dubai American Academy

students. Since then, the outcome has been

were very supportive and assured a successful transition that will enable

nothing short of excellent. Here are some comments made by satisfied parents.

my children to adapt to new settings. - Sheikha Ali, mother of Nouf, Hammad, Saif, Shahed Al- Raeesi. GEMS Dubai American Academy

I heard about the Mohammed bin Rashid Distinguished Students Programme from the radio. I encouraged my son and motivated him

I heard about the Mohammed bin Rashid Distinguished Students

to put a lot of effort during the application process to receive this

Programme via KHDA website. I have always wanted to enrol/ take

prestigious scholarship. I was thrilled to know that he was accepted

admission for my two kids in GEMS Wellington Academy- Al Khail. I

following a successful application and based on his academic

feel privileged to know that my children are among those selected to

excellence. I was even happier to know that he will be joining GEMS

receive this prestigious scholarship. I strongly believe that they will join

World Academy - Dubai. I heard good things about the school. It

one of the best private schools in the Emirate and will have great access

provides the best educational services with a strong emphasis on

to the best educational services. Ibrahim and Ghaya have always been

Islamic and Arabic studies. I hope his transition to the new school will be

outstanding in their studies. Also, they succeeded in the entry tests

smooth and easy.

and interviews conducted by the evaluation committee, which qualified

-Fatma Mustafawi, mother of Mohammed Mustafawi . GEMS World Academy-Dubai

them to be recipients of this scholarship. Another thing that I look forward to is parental involvement. It is a major priority and I am very confident that GEMS Wellington Academy- Al Khail will provide.

I was very excited to know that four of my children were given the opportunity to be part of the Mohammed bin Rashid Distinguished

-Mohammed Mutaawa, father of Ibrahim and Ghaya Mutaawa. GEMS Wellington Academy- Al Khail



A Blessing in Disguise



An Engaged and Nurturing Environment

“We encourage a school environment that allows our young people to develop in a supportive and stressfree atmosphere.”

hildren experience much of their world through their relationships with parents, other family members and teachers. As a result, secure, stable, nurturing home and school

environments provide a cushion against the effects of possible stressors and are essential for the healthy development of the brain. They also have an effect on the development of children’s physical, emotional, social, and academic capacities, which in due course will influence their health and quality of life as adults. Promoting stable, nurturing relationships and environments can have a positive impact on the development of skills that will assist children in reaching their full potential. Indeed, a good case has been made to suggest that the relationships with people who care for and about children are the golden thread in their lives, and the quality of a child’s relationships is the lens through which we should view what we do and plan to do (Care Inquiry, 2013, p2). This is certainly the viewpoint at GEMS, where we encourage a school environment that allows our young people to develop in a supportive and stress-free atmosphere. Research points towards the fact that children value relationships with teachers who are reliable, honest, available and interested in them; listen to them; take them and their views seriously; accept and respect them; are ambitious for them; and who are committed to them through the best of times and the worst of times (Oliver, 2010; McLeod, 2010; Dickson et al, 2010; Morgan, 2011; Munro, 2011; Ryan, 2012; Care Inquiry, 2013; CSSIW, 2013). That’s why, with a child-centred approach that focuses on catering to the social, emotional, and educational needs of our students, GEMS is committed to ensuring that the school environment is culturally responsive and shows young people that we genuinely care about their cultural, emotional, and intellectual needs. This means that we create classrooms that are organised and characterised by mutual respect, which makes it a lot easier to teach effectively. At GEMS we are conscious of the importance of a positive environment within our schools, for we understand that when one creates a climate of safety and respect, learning will follow.



S4K’s acclaimed, easy-to-understand MUSICAL adaptation returns to Dubai in February 2018 PERFORMANCES at DUCTAC, DUBAI 25 February – 2 March 2018 DUCTAC BOX OFFICE 04 341 4777 Accompanying WORKSHOPS available Ideal for JUNIOR and LOWER SECONDARY students FOR INFORMATION CONTACT 050 813 2664


S4K’S MUSICAL MACBETH RETURNS TO DUBAI S4K INTERNATIONAL ARE RETURNING TO DUBAI WITH THEIR ACCLAIMED EASY-TO-UNDERSTAND MUSICAL ADAPTATION OF MACBETH – ALONG WITH MACBETH WORKSHOPS, AN AFTER-SCHOOL SHAKESPEARE CAMP @ DUCTAC AND A SEARCH FOR THE SON OF MACDUFF TO PLAY ONSTAGE ALONGSIDE PROFESSIONAL ACTORS FROM THE UK. S4K’s Macbeth returns to DUCTAC, Mall of the Emirates for 10 shows in February and March 2018. Performances are twice-daily at 8.45am and 11.45am from Monday 26 February to Thursday 1 March, with two further public shows on Friday 2 March at 11.45am and 7.30pm Tickets are available from the DUCTAC Box Office at AED 170 (reduced prices for school students AED 150) via or by phoning the DUCTAC Box Office on 04 341 4777. S4K’s MACBETH has proven ideal for those studying the original play in school, particularly those at junior and lower secondary level. It is the story of a noble Scottish warrior who becomes king after hearing the prophecies of three witches, how he murders his way to the crown, and fights to the death to try to keep it - a musical thriller that is “guaranteed to keep kidz of all ages on the edge of their seats”. Chenery & Gimblett’s renowned S4K style blends the original text with easy-to-understand modern dialogue, music, song and dance to create a unique re-telling that is “Eerily atmospheric, genuinely original, truly entertaining and stealthily educational” and has been described as the “ideal introduction to Shakespeare”. SEARCH FOR THE SON OF MACDUFF The Company are keen to recruit a young local actor to play the Son (or daughter) of Macduff alongside the professional UK cast. They need FOUR young children to share the role of the young child who unfortunately is brutally murdered (off stage) by Macbeth’s henchmen in Act IV Scene 2. Each of the Macduff children will get the opportunity to play the scene in the second half of the show with Lady Macduff and question her as to why his father/her husband (Macduff) appears to have become a traitor and run off to England.

The opportunity will suit an enthusiastic young performer who has had experience in performing on stage or in class in a Drama production. Producer Carolyn Chenery will select a shortlist of young actors to attend a final audition in January 2018. The final candidates will then be selected and asked to attend pre-show rehearsals with their Dubai Drama Associate in the first weeks of February. When the full company arrive in Dubai – each Young Macduff will then rehearse with the professional cast prior to appearing on stage, either at DUCTAC or at selected school shows around Dubai. For details of how to apply to become Young Macduff visit or contact AFTER SCHOOL SHAKESPEARE CAMP AT DUCTAC During the week of the DUCTAC performances, S4K International will be running a week-long after-school Shakespeare Camp at DUCTAC. Students will explore a series of exercises and modules to create a unique concert of Shakespeare extracts, soliloquies, duologues and episodes from some of the most famous scenes in Shakespeare that will be performed to parents, family and friends on the main stage at DUCTAC on Thursday 1 March at 6.00pm. The Shakespeare Camp will be led by two of S4K’s most experienced Shakespeare Workshop Leaders and overseen by S4K Creative Associate and former Head of Drama at Harrow School, Martin Tyrrell, whom Laurence Fox has often acclaimed is the “man who taught me to act” and who first cast Benedict Cumberbatch in a school production of Feydeau’s A Flea in her Ear. The Guardian newspaper reported that a couple of years earlier, Cumberbatch had joined a Shakespeare [Hamlet] workshop and had spent a couple of hours working on the play’s first scene. Tyrrell remembers the 15-yearold being “so gripped by it. That was when he woke

up to Shakespeare, I think, and the idea of becoming a professional actor.”’ There are only 40 places available at the Shakespeare Camp which runs from Sunday 26 February to Thursday 1 March at 4.00pm each day. Bookings via – the cost is AED 1,000 per student and includes free tickets for friends and family to the “All the World’s a Stage” Shakespeare Concert at the end of the end of the Camp. ALL THE WORLD’S A STAGE - FREE SHAKESPEARE CONCERT The Shakespeare Camp @ DUCTAC will culminate in a FREE concert performed by the students to parents, family and friends on the main Centrepoint Theatre stage at DUCTAC. The concert will include famous excerpts and scenes from the world of Shakespeare including a unique version of “Is this a dagger which I see before me?” All the World’s a Stage - Shakespeare Camp concert is on Thursday 1 March 2018 at the Centrepoint Theatre, DUCTAC, Mall of the Emirates, DUBAI at 6.00pm. (75 minutes) All tickets are FREE and must be reserved during the Shakespeare Camp @ DUCTAC. There are more details via the Shakespeare Camp link on the S4K’s Macbeth website at www.s4kinternational. com/Macbeth2018. MACBETH WORKSHOPS AND MASTERCLASSES Schools can also book Workshops and Masterclasses to complement their visit to S4K’s Macbeth. Twohour workshops by experienced S4K practitioners will take students through the plot, themes and characters of The Scottish Play. Details and costings via


Throwing the Box Out


nnovation is an instrument of entrepreneurship - the deed that endows resources with a new capacity to create success and wealth; it is seeing what everybody has seen, yet thinking what no-one has thought.

Innovation is the central issue in economic prosperity, and the key to our future. As best-selling author, philanthropist and public speaker Sarah Ban Breathnach said: “The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. But above all what the world needs most are dreamers that do.” The students taking part in Innovista 2017 have dreamt big in order

That’s why at Innovista 2017, the annual innovation challenge

organised by GEMS Millennium School – Sharjah, instead of just thinking

to create innovative solutions, and innovation leads to progress. The future looks bright.

outside of the box, they got rid of the box altogether! With a huge participation of pupils from Grades 5 to 11, this year’s event saw over 500 projects and prototypes on display, with students exhibiting working models and innovations capable of making a positive impact on the world. Canon Academy’s Creative Park corner, for instance, drew groups of curious students keen to try their hand at 3D modelling. The Chief Executive Officer of STEMA, Ms. Alaa Shrouf, along with other representatives from STEMA, judged the event. Amongst the outstanding projects were the Humanoid, a Hydraulic Lift, a Rain-Water Harvesting System, Magic with Magnets, Wonder Tiles, Automatic Food Vending Machines, Robots that can play music, dance and … well, the list is endless! The entire finale was captured using the ‘Phantom’, a high functioning drone operated by students of Grades 10 and 11.

Bonjour, Nĭ Hăo! Salaam, and Namaste!


he digital learning team and students of Sheikh Zayed Private Academy - Abu Dhabi (Boys) welcomed the world to its booth at the 2017 World’s Skills Competition, taking visitors on a ‘Welcome to Abu Dhabi Journey’.

Nahyan using LEGO® story-visualizer. Visitors also were able to visit Sheikh Zayed’s Grand Mosque or even the planet Mars virtually with Google Expeditions and VR glasses, whilst Swift Playgrounds showcased the student’s ability to issue commands as they took visitors through a coding experience of collecting gems.

The youngsters worked extremely hard to

Through their learning and LEGO®

create a visual representation of Abu Dhabi

experiences, students are able to build

with LEGO®. This included a creation of Al

upon the 21st century skills of innovating,

Jazira Stadium, with visitors flicking a ball

programming, engineering, publishing,

through a goal to demonstrate probability;

creating, critical thinking, and problem

a model of the famed Yas Marina Formula 1

solving. Everyone was excited at the

track, displaying programmed robotic cars

opportunity to share their learning

moving around the track to follow a line and

experiences with the world and to show how

measure distance; and a timeline of the life

Sheikh Zayed Private Academy students are

of His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al

preparing for the future!


Owning the Future


rganised by the IT department of the junior section of The Millennium School - Dubai, Digistorm was a digital challenge

that went down a storm not only with the competitors, but also with everyone who viewed the extraordinary exhibits created by students from Grades 1 to 4. In fact, it was a genuine display of genius, with


the youngsters working on applications such as Hour of Code, Powtoon, Appypie, Buildfire, Tynker, he 21st century is characterised by constant change, and

Scratch, Animoto, Worditout, Wordle, Scratch, and

educational practices that focus on the transfer of static knowledge


simply cannot keep up with the rapid rate of transformation. That is why acknowledging the importance of innovation and then

The students designed STEM projects around futuristic modes of transport using LEGO® and

applying it is not only beneficial, but also necessary. At The Westminster

MBOT, and all those who came in to observe this

School – Dubai, that means enhancing teachers’ skills through the utilisation

unique event seemed genuinely awestruck by

of the latest technology in order to accelerate changes in processes and

the creativity and confidence on show. One of the

systems that will promote lifelong learning.

parents commented: “The children have really taken all of us by storm. These whizz-kids have

As part of its mission to encourage innovative thinking and practices in every classroom in the school, The Westminster School organised the Annual Innovation Conference, which this year introduced Artificial Intelligence (AI) to over 300

shocked us with their knowledge; encoding their own games is a superb display of their skills.” Digistorm provided a remarkable opportunity

teachers. The conference focused on how, in a highly digitised world, man and

for students to enhance their speaking and IT

machine in collaboration can achieve things that were previously thought impossible.

skills, helping to develop abilities such as critical

Student organisers set the tone of the conference with a presentation on the meaning

thinking, problem solving, and teamwork. There is

of AI, its relevance, and its real-life application.

no doubt that the teachers of the IT department

The keynote speaker at the conference, Mr. Daniel Atkins, CEO of Murdoch University, delivered a brilliant and thoughtful session on AI, which helped to ensure

successfully brought out the outstanding ability and creativity in every child.

that teachers do not miss out on what to expect over the next few years. With support from Murdoch University, Canadian University, Middlesex University, and Canon, five workshops were also held that focused on Robotics, Creative Park, 3D Printing, Augmented Reality, and Gamification. The second day of the conference saw best practices of the academic year being shared with all of the teachers, with the aim of making innovation an everyday practice in the classroom. All the participants got the chance to attend five out of 12 Best Practice sessions, which were focused on cross-curricular links, STEAM, EDUPULSE, LEGO®, One Note, Office Mix, and how to use social media. The explosion of social media and technology has changed the way educators teach, how students learn, and the way teachers and students communicate. The Westminster School is committed to being at the forefront of this revolution.



Man n’ Machine


Your World… Delivered The judges and parents were overwhelmed by the quality of the projects, and it was clear to see the level of effort and passion that all of the students had put into the competition. Meanwhile, representing GEMS Modern Academy as CEBC Environmental Ambassadors, Ananya Kaushik and Gabriela Mathew of IB1, along with Mrs. Anila Das, embarked on a fascinating field trip to the Dubai Solar Show, held at the Dubai World Trade Centre. Held as part of the Water, Energy, Technology and Environment Exhibition (WETEX) 2017, the show exposed the young ambassadors to new technologies and innovations, with the four-hour experience


beginning with a brief talk on Dubai’s very own sustainable city. This

n a time of unprecedented change, it is a truism that if you’re not innovating, you’re not bettering people’s lives. Put simply, innovation is the future delivered. This was a philosophy unquestionably on show at the 3rd Annual Innovation Mela, hosted by GEMS Modern Academy, where the creative and entrepreneurial skills of students were put firmly under the spotlight. This year, it was decided to expand participation in the event, with the competition being opened up to students of all grades throughout the school. This attracted innovators in their droves, resulting in nearly four times the number of participants compared to 2016. And the innovation displayed was truly mind-blowing, with creations ranging from internet apps through to graphic paintings and from electricity generation using husk onto a ‘Vijaya’ solution for farmers who suffer because of droughts.


was followed by a lecture by Mr. David Provenzani, Managing Director of Architaly Green Energy DMCC, who spoke about how the schools partnering with Architaly were installing solar panels to power their campuses, which in turn has reduced their energy bills and carbon footprints. There was then a light lunch and the Dancing Flowers Workshop, held by Indaad and hosted by renowned French visual artist Mr. Alexandre Dang, who explained about the use of solar energy in his work and how the power of a solar panel can make the flowers dance. Last on the agenda was a talk by Energy Company, ENGIE, which is currently preparing to switch from the use of fossil fuels to a cleaner and more sustainable future. Its main objective, electric mobility, was demonstrated through the DiyaOne anti-pollution robot, the EcoResponsibility App, Powerzee, and the EV-Box chargers for electric vehicles.

It’s Everywhere You Want to Be


ight Our Own English High School - Sharjah (Boys)



A Future Without Boundaries rganised by the Singularity University, the Global Summit, which took place in San Francisco, California, covered a broad portfolio of challenges in areas such as nano and 3D printing, bioinformatics, robotics, data

& machine learning, medicine, and neuroscience. A team of four Grade 12 students from GEMS Our Own English High School – Dubai took part in the summit; not only that, they were among the ‘Youth Innovation Finalists’.

students from Grades 11 and 12 (Syed Hammad, Fauzan Farooqi, Luqman Farooqi, Syed Moiz, Ashwin Anil, Rithwik Rai, Sai Sathya, and Eric

Brian) have attended a micro-internship at Esri-Sharjah, a

The team’s innovation was a biometric system that reduces accidents and increases productivity within the construction industry by restricting access and detecting alcohol levels in the bodies of workers.

global leader in GIS mapping software, the most powerful

It all began at the Global Innovation Challenge 2017 with a product

mapping and spatial data analytics technology available.

that was initially called AL-ID (Alcohol Identifier), before being renamed as Bio-Trai. The AICE Accelerator programme then helped the students

The students worked with the Core Raster R&D team and

to learn how best to deliver their business pitch. Finally, it was off to the

the Workflows and Content Product Management team,

Global Summit to explore and improve skills in various fields, including

getting exposed to the process of SW engineering and the

R&D, marketing, and public speaking.

fundamentals of GIS as a science and technology. They also

On day one of the summit the students got the opportunity to

turned their hands to creating some useful geographic tools in

interact with other participants, as well as observing some fascinating

order to discover what spatial thinking and decision making is

projects such as ‘Wendy the Dancing Robot’ and lamps powered by

all about!

mobile chargers. The young team also met Ms. Gigi Read (Researcher at Singularity University) who encouraged them to be the best they could be at the summit. On day two, the team had to deliver a pitch in order to explain BioTrai. This was witnessed by multinational companies such as Trulioo, Hypercubes, and Coca-Cola, all of which showed great interest in investing and collaborating in R&D to implement the finished product within their organisations. There is no doubt that the exposure the team received at the summit was immense, and on day three they even got to attend a presentation by the co-founder and Chairman of Singularity University, Peter Diamandis. In fact, the whole experience of being involved in the Global Summit is one that our quartet of innovators will never forget!



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Carry the festive cheer into the new year with a fabulous gift! Register at

before January 30th, 2018 for a chance to win an unforgettable day at Level Kids including all the below! Breakfast for 2 at La Pâtisserie des Rêves A superhero or princess spa experience for your child at Belle Enfance Salon A shopping spree with our dedicated stylist worth 1,000 AED A one hour photo shoot at Cherished Moments Everyone that registers wins a goody bag. We’re looking forward to seeing you soon! Terms & Conditions apply. Full details are listed on the competition page.



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Passion, Commitment and Fun


ootball legend Dwight Yorke has a new role with ESM Football Academy and GEMS Education as Football Ambassador. He is tasked with supporting the organisation’s youth programmes with initiatives and strategies that are designed to grow football at the amateur and youth levels, and he will also be active in the ongoing efforts of GEMS Education to support youth taking up the sport.

GEMS Family: How do ESM programmes help expat players and parents plan for the future? Dwight Yorke: First of all, I truly understand the challenges of playing football in a small country and really relate to the dreams of young footballers who want to be playing in the major football leagues around the world. The ‘Player Centred Success’ model at ESM Football Academy puts the best interests of the player first. This is done by understanding each and every player’s definition of success and helping them achieve it.

GEMS Family: How do you see your role as ESM Football

GEMS Family: During the recent ESM Football Academy ‘Open

Ambassador evolving during the year ahead?

Days’, what was your message to the parents and players?

Dwight Yorke: I’ll be helping grow the game at the grassroots level,

Dwight Yorke: My message to the players and parents was that we at

reaching out to aspiring young footballers and giving them the

ESM can offer a wonderful opportunity structure, experience, up-to-date

encouragement and opportunity to develop their individual techniques

coaching, concepts and teaching materials, and the vision to produce

in all stages of their development. I’ll also be travelling to many youth

quality young footballers.

tournaments hosted by ESM Football Academy and GEMS Education,

GEMS Family: What coaching level are you currently certified at?

such as the GEMS Sports Series, and to help in making some more

Dwight Yorke: I’ve achieved up to A Licence and next season I’ll be

tournaments happen. This will be beneficial for the sport in the U.A.E.

doing my Pro Licence.

GEMS Family: What are your views on youth football in the U.A.E.?

GEMS Family: Knowing the landscape of football in the U.A.E., what

Dwight Yorke: I have seen how football academies like ESM have become more professional and more organised in their approach.

one piece of advice would you give to our aspiring players? Dwight Yorke: Whether its football or any other interest you’re

This means that the landscape for the sport is changing. Everyone

pursuing, dedication is a trait you must build on. But more importantly

realises that it is no longer about money, but rather about passion and

have fun!

commitment to a cause.



Don’t Go Through Life Without Goals The most successful club in the history of Italian football, having won 52 domestic trophies and 11 official international competitions, Juventus needs no introduction. Ranked the second best club in Europe during the 20th century based on a statistical study series by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics, this Turin-based club has fans the world over, including quite a number at GEMS Wellington Primary School – Dubai! Juventus Football Academy has been running teams at the school for a little over a year and has proved to be very popular among the pupils. Year 4 student Rayan Palermo is an excellent case-in-point, one of many examples of the success stories that demonstrate how extra-curricular clubs provide multiple benefits for students in schools across the GEMS network. Since joining the club, Rayan had had the opportunity to develop his football skills and techniques with specialist coaches, learn the discipline of playing a team sport, and interact socially with other players through social events organised by Juventus. Rayan has developed an immense passion for the sport since becoming involved with Juventus, commenting: “I enjoy playing football and really value the experiences I have had at the club. The coaches have taught me many

different skills and I feel like I am becoming a better football player with each session I go to.” “I am proud to belong to the Juventus Academy,” he continues. “Teamwork has made me understand how important it is to respect and work together with my friends so that we can be winners. I train twice a week, and at weekends we play matches in our league. We always try to win and I am always proud to shout ‘Forza Juventus!”

Without Dance, What’s the Pointe? Dance isn’t just dance, it’s magical, something that sets you free. That’s why Turning Pointe, one of the leading dance providers at GEMS schools across the U.A.E., is truly passionate about its work, with its teachers loving to see the joy on students’ faces as they pass this life skill on to the next generation of dancers. One talented GEMS student who’d vouch for this is Hannah Moore, a student of Dubai American Academy - Dubai. “The fact that I can take dance classes in my own school is wonderful. It’s so convenient being able to take two different curriculums in the very same place, allowing me to learn all the academic work that I will need in my future life, as well as learning about what I am most passionate about - dance,” she explains. Turning Pointe believes dance classes should be sociable, encouraging students to explore movement possibilities with their friends while promoting confidence in their abilities without judgment or over-competitiveness. Dance classes often give students the opportunity to mix with children from outside the group they usually socialize with too, widening their social circle and creating friendships based on mutual interests that tend to last for many years. Hannah agrees: “Turning Pointe has many amazing teachers; they are kind, but at the same time strict so that we can improve our dancing. Personally, I like the way that Turning Pointe is in my school because it gives me a ‘brain-break’. After having to sit down all day, dance is my refreshment, the way for me to revive before doing anything else.”


Dancers achieve new skills through commitment, dedication and exploration. The sense of achievement when mastering a new movement increases self esteem, confidence, and enhances the student’s mental understanding of their physical capabilities. Dancers also understand the importance of long-term commitment and how to use a group environment to support and develop each individual within the team.

It has been a great start to the 2017/18 swimming season at Hamilton Aquatics, which is committed to building an unparalleled sporting tradition one stroke at a time.

Already during this academic year, Adam Kandil, an 11-year-old student at GEMS Wellington Academy - Silicon Oasis, and Youssef El Dawya, a 13-year-old student at GEMS Wellington International School – Dubai, have broken Egyptian age group records. Both Adam and Youssef swam in short course (25m) meets hosted by the U.A.E. Swimming Federation, which is where the new records were created. Adam is now the Egyptian age group record holder in nine separate events, including the 50m, 100m and 200m Freestyle, 50m and 200m Backstroke, 50m and 100m Butterfly, and 100m and 200m Individual Medley. To underline how big an achievement this is, these records had not been beaten since 2011. After winning multiple medals at the Irish National Open Championships in July, Youssef swam the 200m Individual Medley in 2:26:01. This was a staggering eight seconds faster than his personal best, resulting in an Egyptian national age group record. This has been a fantastic achievement for the swimmers, parents and coaches, and also shows how, as a club, Hamilton Aquatics is dedicated to improving the standard of swimming within the U.A.E. By participating in a physical activity that develops dedicated and motivated individuals, Adam and Youssef have proven how at a young age it is possible to be a high achiever in both sport and academics.

Athletics with a Dash of Passion It’s not the will to win that matters - everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that is really significant. And with track and field athletics there are countless transferable skills across so many other sports, with running, throwing and jumping being some of the fundamental movement skills required for long-term athlete development. In fact, athletics gives each individual the mental and physical attributes to become a successful sports person whatever their chosen activity. One such promising GEMS athlete is 17-year-old Adil Amin, who’s a student of GEMS World Academy - Dubai and trains with FUNdamental Athletics, where the coaches continuously urge him to become a better athlete. “In my school, I participate in the cross-country and track and field teams, while also competing in the NESAC competitions,” Adil explains. “In these competitions, I come out as the winner in my events, and I am so grateful for these successes because every single run helps me to become a better person and a better athlete. I am a good runner now, and with the direction I’m going in with my training, plus the constant support from my coach and parents, I am certain I will continue to do well in the future. “My experience within FUNdamental Athletics has been a very positive one. The coaching is excellent, and I admire how much my coaches strive to see me becoming a better athlete, although that frequently means introducing me to difficult and tiring training sessions. However, these sessions are made easier through the motivation provided from my coach and the other runners

“The training sessions are very well planned and give me the best possible chance to continue to improve. The coaches have all been athletes themselves, at an international level, so this gives me confidence that I am being led in the right direction.” Adil Amin is a young man who practices with a purpose and runs with a passion; a potent mix that keeps him ahead of the pack!



Not All Athletes Wear Shoes


Bowled Over by Modern Technology


our memory is a brilliant but flawed system, and if you or your child’s coaches are using it to improve your child’s game, you may be working on the wrong things. The problem lies in our ability to recall cricket performance. Many cricket coaches think they remember things as they happened, but this is rarely the case.

With this in mind, the ESM Cricket Academy, which is now in its second year, has turned its main centre at Cambridge International School - Dubai into a smart training ground with the installation of a BOLA Bowling Machine and PitchVision One, the latter being a stateof-the-art cricket analysis system that combines motion tracking and video analysis. James Bowring, Managing Director at ESM, said: “Player development is the main focus at ESM Cricket Academy and quality coaching will

Without technology, everything is based on a coach’s memory, which

always be our topmost priority. The system has been designed to add

is never as strong and reliable as what actually happened. Not even the

academic benefits to any cricket playing environment and we’re excited

best coaches have the ability to recall everything, and there’s no doubt

to bring this to our players. Each player has their own unique profile to

that technology speeds up technical improvements in a child’s game.

build a library of performance outcomes and videos both locally and

Indeed, recent developments in sporting technologies have created a


variety of products aimed at improving and increasing performance. As a result, the health and wellbeing of cricketers can now be maintained and observed, and injuries treated, through the utilisation of technology.

From smart-nets and video analysis, your child has an unprecedented chance to use technology to get the most out of their game. To find out more, contact the ESM Cricket Academy at or get in touch on 04-3697817.




Making Waves on the International Stage

This year has continued in the same triumphant manner, with Asma being the first female at GEMS Founders School to be awarded the H.H Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Excellence Award. Shortly after, the Absolute Swimming Academy announced that ‘Asma Moolla of Performance Squad (PS 1) has been selected to compete at the Commonwealth Trials at Kings Park Pool in Durban, South Africa’. It’s been quite an academic year for Asma so far, and we’re only halfway through it! In the pool, Asma has made impressive times for the following events: 50m Freestyle - qualifying with a time of 31.58; 50m Backstroke - qualifying with a time of 37.76; and 100m Freestyle - qualifying with a time of 1.07.70. Her coach Wasim Tifflin is quite naturally extremely proud of her achievements, with Asma’s fellow swimmers at Absolute Swimming Academy being equally delighted with her performances. It’s a lot of hard work, but Asma has shown great discipline on and off the pool deck as she strives for ever-quicker times, and we all wish her the very best in South Africa. Bring it home, girl!

Asma Moolla has been with GEMS Founders School since its inception, and in 2016/2017 was selected as the Sports Captain, representing the school in several sporting and cultural activities.

Immerse Yourself in Our World Children have a natural and healthy curiosity about the world around them; they want to know how things work, explore, learn, and satisfy their sense of adventure and wonder. Young minds are always open to new experiences. Two-thirds of our world is underwater - forever unseen and undiscovered by most people. But scuba diving can bring this amazing environment and all of its wonders within our reach. Introducing young people to scuba diving can bring a host of positive benefits to their lives, and can even change the direction of their lives for the better. Scuba diving increases physical fitness and stamina. For children who are perhaps less adept at traditional school sports such as football, rugby, netball or hockey, scuba diving can provide a healthy and exciting alternative to these ‘ball sports’. Research suggests that children between the ages of two and 12 spend an average of 17 hours each week in front of a screen! Scuba diving is a way to get young people outside and interested in the world around them. The East Coast of the U.A.E. offers stunning dives in the Indian Ocean, where there is a huge variety of fish, turtles, sharks, rays, soft and hard corals, and even beautiful nudibranch. Improving team-building skills, developing character and social development, scuba diving is also a very sociable sport. Divers, young and old, come from all walks of life and are bound together by a common interest and passion. It is easy to make friends among divers.


How to get involved? Well, Divers Down U.A.E. offers two programmes as afterschool activities: The PADI Seal Team programme is for younger divers (from the age of eight) looking for action-packed fun in a pool through five different ‘Aquamissions’, whilst the PADI Open Water Diver course is composed of a number of sessions in controlled, confined water before those skills are taken into open water. Children can start this course from the age of 10. There’s no better way to discover the secrets of the deep; a serene, slow-motion world that is silent, eerie, and mysterious.

The Court is in Session Everyone has the fire, but champions know when to ignite the spark. And at The Millennium School - Dubai, Inter-School Basketball Tournament it was the host school and GEMS Our Own English High School - Dubai who really caught fire out on the court.

Start Hard, Turn Smart, Finish Fast Michael Phelps may collect medals like they’re going out of fashion, but he’s not the only swimmer dominating the pool, with 13-year-old Aakash Deep Singh, a student of The Millennium School – Dubai, enjoying success in both the Junior National Aquatic Championship and the CBSE National Swimming Championship. Aakash Deep picked up two bronze medals in the 50m and 300m backstroke at the fiercely contested 44th Junior National Aquatic Championship held in Pune, clocking times of 30.11 seconds and two minutes and 18.51 seconds respectively. Despite being at the lower end of his age group, Aakash Deep swam like a true champion and received plaudits from competitors and spectators alike. He then stamped his authority on the CBSE National Swimming Championship, held at Rishikul Vidyapeeth School, Sonepath, India. It was a remarkable feat in which he won five Gold Medals and claimed the title of Individual Champion, coming in first in the 50m and 100m Backstroke, 100m and 200m Freestyle, and the Aquathlon for Boys in the U-14 age category. This exemplary performance by Aakash Deep was achieved by continuous training sessions under professional coaches. His goal is to represent India in the Asian and Olympic Games.

Mr. Michael Guzder, Executive Principal of The Millennium School and VicePresident -GEMS Indian Schools, was full of praise for the young swimmer. “At The Millennium School we are thrilled to see young pupils like Aakash Deep rising to the top and excelling in their field. We will be holding a special assembly where he will be awarded the Prefectorial Badge, a memento and the school blazer, which I hope will inspire other students to do just as well in their own chosen fields.”



A total of 22 schools competed across two categories: a knockout-style competition for the U-19 boys and a league format for the U-13 girls. Following a fiercely fought contest, The Millennium School U-19 boys beat Delhi Private School, Sharjah, in the final by quite a wide margin of 73-39, whilst GEMS Our Own English High School - Dubai lifted the trophy in the U-13 girls’ category. The MVP (Most Valuable Player) awards were presented to Anandajith Vinod and Adhil Afsal from the boys’ team and Joanna Mariyan Varkey for the girls, with Taniya Jabbar and Jaison Johny being presented with the Most Promising Player Awards.

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Do You Dare to Tri?


or mere mortals, the miracle of triathletes isn’t that they finish, it’s that they had the courage to start! But the rewards for all of the training and hard work tend to be swift and satisfying, as times improve and goals change. Juliette Janne d’Othee, a 12-year-old student from GEMS World

Academy - Dubai, is one such triathlete, ‘catching the bug’ at just 7-years-of-age whilst living in Switzerland, where it is quite a popular

qualify for the Junior European Triathlon races (ETU) and later for the International Triathlon races (ITU) and the Olympics. That would be a dream.” Juliette has already had one dream come true at the ITU in Abu Dhabi. “It was really nice to see the elite triathletes competing; it was very inspiring. Just to be able to race partially on the same track was lots of fun. And then getting some pictures and autographs are great memories.” As with any successful athlete, Juliette has a great support team,

sport. “The city I was living in was organising a kids’ triathlon; I

including her parents and friends. “Everyone is very supportive. My

competed and just loved it,” she says.

parents are always there to take me to training, and they are very

Having moved to Dubai two years ago, Juliette, who has made it to the

encouraging. So are my friends. My dad has even started to train with

podium in every single event since arriving, is now starting to compete

me and has been doing some triathlons himself. And now my little sister

over longer distances – 750m swim / 20km bike ride / 5km run. “I will

has started to train and to enjoy triathlon, too. It’s becoming a real

keep on training and having fun, and maybe in two years’ time I will

family affair!”



Kings of Swing Zafar Raja, the COO at GEMS Education, has cricket in his blood. A descent of the Indian subcontinent raised in Yorkshire, England, it would almost be illegal not to! So it is no surprise that around 18 months ago he first started to consider the idea of a GEMS staff cricket team. It took a little while for the idea to take root, but around six months ago matches began to be played in earnest. “At the moment it’s just one team, males only,” Mr. Raja explains, “but we have big ambitions – we want to be the best corporate team in Dubai.” Of course, that not only takes talent, it also requires a great deal of passion. “Every Saturday morning the entire team gets up at 5.15am in order to travel to Ajman, where we start playing at around 6.30am. To do that on a weekly basis you really do need passion,” continues Zafar. This is not just a ‘knock about’ either, this is serious competition; with the GEMS staff team taking part in external tournaments. “Recently we beat the team that was just above us. We were ranked second until we played them, but then we climbed to the top of the table with that victory. No.1 in the table!” Mr. Raja reiterates proudly.

One Life, One Body, One Chance A person who is fit is capable of living life to its fullest extent, a fact not lost on two Grade 12 students from Our Own English High SchoolSharjah (Girls), Anzlan Salam and Heena Hotchandani, who have been recognised at the U.A.E. Teen Sports and Fitness Awards 2017. Held at the Arabian Ranches Golf Club, Dubai, under the patronage of His Excellency Dr. Abdulla Al Karam, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Director General of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), the awards were conceived in order to reward excellence in young athletes and sports achievers across all areas of fitness. Run in association with Abu Dhabi Sports Council, the National Olympic Committee, and Dubai Sports Council, there were a number of awards presented, with none more celebrated than ‘Outstanding Athlete Achievement of the Year’. In the Under 19 Female category it was Anzlan Salam who had her school friends from Our Own English High School – Sharjah (Girls) on their feet cheering, winning second place in a fiercely competitive contest.


Then it was Heena Hotchandani’s turn in the spotlight, a young cricketer who came third in the ‘Fittest Teen of the Year’ Under 16 Female category. Heena developed her passion for cricket from a very young age and was coached under the guidance of Robin George, the school coach, before and after school hours. She has played in quite a number of tournaments, including the ADCB Little Masters and the Indoor Cricket World Cup. At the ADCB event, Heena won the ‘Most Promising Player’ award, whilst at the Indoor World Cup she was the MVP in the U.A.E. squad, with her total number of runs being 102 in eight games.


“Sport teaches you character, it teaches you to play by the rules, it teaches you to know what it feels like to win and lose - it teaches you about life.”

Respecting All, Fearing None It was a day when inter-house rivalry and sporting prowess came together in a wonderful carnival atmosphere at the GEMS Our Own English High School – Dubai Inter-House Athletic Meet 2017. A great morning of spirit and sportsmanship was enjoyed by all who attended, with the planets aligning perfectly for Jupiter, Mars, Saturn and Neptune houses, all of which savoured considerable success in both track and field events. The event commenced with a fitting quote from tennis legend Billie Jean King: “Sport teaches you character, it teaches you to play by the rules, it teaches you to know what it feels like to win and lose - it teaches you about life.” Then came the U.A.E. and Indian national anthems, followed by Executive Principal Mr. Thomas Mathew declaring the meet open by commenting on the many sporting achievements of the school, including the fact that the Badminton and Chess teams had qualified for the Nationals. The school’s Sports Captain Miss Sanuja Sanil led the players in Oath. She then welcomed the gathering and encouraged the participants to compete with utmost sportsmanship, citing Rocky Balboa: “Every champion was once a contender that refused to give up.” At the beat of the drums the Captains hoisted the school and house flags, and the games proceeded. A total of 455 students took part in the Inter-House Athletic Meet, with the overall Championship results seeing Jupiter romp home with 412 points, Saturn a very close second with 410, Mars third with 406, and Neptune fourth with 339. Well done to each and every competitor; as ever, you are a credit to your school.



Fitter, Healthier,



he Dubai 30 x 30 Fitness Challenge took the nation by storm after Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum challenged everyone to commit to the 30 x 30 Fitness Challenge. This included getting his message across

on Twitter, where he challenged companies too, and being a top education provider, GEMS Education had the honour to be one of them. Enthusiastic and driven, we happily accepted the challenge! GEMS Education held several sports tournaments and fitness activities over the 30 days, kicking off at GEMS Royal Dubai School. The fitness challenge encompassed all forms of physical activity, including team sports, walking, running, cycling, workouts and much more. The aim was clear - to inspire the residents of Dubai to embrace a fit and healthy lifestyle by committing to a 30-minute workout regime for 30 days, in a social and enjoyable manner through a diverse range of physical activities. To celebrate the 30 x 30 Fitness Challenge further, GEMS Education collaborated with popular Indian rapper, BlaaZe, to create the ‘30 x 30 anthem’. Together they created a unique rap song promoting fitness and included a dance choreographed by students. Approximately 400 students from GEMS New Millennium School - Al Khail and GEMS Heritage Indian School - Dubai took part in creating the anthem, enjoying themselves tremendously as they sang and danced their way towards a fit and healthy lifestyle.





ven though the 30 x 30 Fitness Challenge has come to an end, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t continue to stay fit! You don’t need to be at the gym and you don’t need any fancy equipment. All you need to do is follow the five exercises in this 30-minute workout plan.

#1 Squats

#2 Plank-ups

Stand with your feet apart so that they are in

Start in a low plank position, with your toes

line with your shoulders. Keep your weight in

and forearms grounded, keeping a straight

your heels and proceed into a squat, the same

line from your heels, waist and spine. From

way you would sit on a chair. Stand back up

there, step up from your forearms onto your

and repeat as many times as you can within

palms, into a high plank. Return to low plank

a minute.

and repeat this for a whole minute.

Waiting for Contents #3 Tuck jumps

#4 Push-ups

#5 Chest-to-floor burpees

Stand with your feet in line with your

Start in high plank position, with your toes

Stand with feet shoulder width apart; bend

shoulders and prepare your knees for a

and hands grounded (slightly wider than

the knees taking your hands to the floor. Kick

jumping motion. Jump and curl your knees

shoulder width apart). Gently push your chest

your feet back as far as you can and lower

up to your chest, and try to land softly on

closer to the ground, bending your arms and

your chest to the floor. Reverse those steps

your feet with slightly bent knees. Reposition

then push back up into a high plank position,

until you are standing upright again on both

yourself and repeat for a minute.

keeping your back straight. Repeat numerous

feet and then repeat.

times for a minute.

After every four minutes of work, rest for one minute for each exercise. If you follow this correctly, this plan should take you no longer than 30 minutes a day and is bound to leave your body feeling toned and energised.





reast cancer can prove to be a life-changing experience for many people; whether it touches their lives directly or indirectly. While everyone’s journey is different, survivors should be vocal about their experiences in order to give strength and inspire those who are still suffering. Similarly, it’s crucial for people to spread awareness about the disease, knowing that this information could potentially save a life. October, as many of us know, is officially considered to be the month

for ‘Breast Cancer Awareness’, where countless activities and events take

Academy took up the responsibility to donate theirs. The girls and boys from Grade 11 grew their hair for over a year and donated it to Pink Caravan, a local charity that strives to spread awareness about the disease and to help those affected. The hair-cutting ceremony took place in the school quadrangle and due to the immense enthusiasm, the Principal, teachers, parents and administration staff also volunteered to donate their locks. Truly a team effort. The Millennium School - Dubai The Millennium School - Dubai played their part at their own Pink Day,

place to spread awareness about the disease, what it entails, and even

where staff, students, former students, parents and the Principal came

offer free examinations. This year, GEMS schools didn’t hold back from

together to support the Breast Cancer Awareness Drive, particularly the

contributing to the cause and doing their part in creating awareness.

Hair Donation Drive. A total of 44 individuals participated in donating their hair to Friends

GEMS Modern Academy GEMS Modern Academy never shies away from going above and

of Cancer Patients to assist children locally, as well as in the U.K and the U.S.A., who have lost their hair to the disease.

beyond at any event. This year, students executed their ‘#GrowForPink’

Several students also came dressed in pink and gathered on the turf

campaign, an initiative that encourages students to spread awareness

to form the pink ribbon – the classic symbol of spreading awareness of

even after October. It started off as just a simple idea, but led to the

breast cancer worldwide. They also carried slogans and walked around

entire school community pledging to raise awareness about Breast

the sports field to spread the message of early detection and protection.

Cancer throughout the year! Traditionally, female students have donated their hair to cancer patients for wigs. However, this year even, the boys at GEMS Modern


The school also arranged for guest speaker, Dr. Jasbir Chhattwal, Head of Gynaecology and Obstetrics at Zulekha Hospital, Dubai, to give a talk to female seniors on various aspects of the disease.

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DIABETES – DON’T SUGARCOAT IT! Dr. Mohammed Sohil Al Hossni Specialist Endocrinologist and Metabolism

“High blood sugar is the major underlying cause of microvascular complications, affecting up to 80% of people who have had diabetes for 20 years or more.”


here is no cure for diabetes, but having a healthy lifestyle

The development of clinical Diabetic Retinopathy is complex and is the

can reduce its impact. Eating a healthy diet and taking

result of many interrelated factors (duration of diabetes, level of sugar

enough exercise is right at the top of the list when battling

control, and blood pressure control), which cause two basic changes

this disease, and during National Diabetes Month the

within the retinal vessels, namely abnormal permeability and vascular

government has focused attention on the need to slow what is now a growing ‘epidemic’ in the U.A.E., including Diabetic Retinopathy. Diabetic Retinopathy (diabetic eye disease) affects blood vessels

occlusion with ischemia and subsequent neurovascularization. It is therefore important to screen patients with diabetes regularly for the development of retinal disease. Type 2 screening for Diabetic

in the light-sensitive tissue called the retina that lines the back of

Retinopathy should be done shortly after the diagnosis of diabetes

the eye. It is the most common cause of vision loss among people

is made, followed by an annual dilated eye examination. For Type 1,

with diabetes and the leading cause of vision impairment and

screening for Diabetic Retinopathy should be done five years after the

blindness among working-age adults.

diagnosis, then a yearly dilated eye examination.

High blood sugar is the major underlying cause of microvascular

In order to prevent or to reduce Diabetic Retinopathy it is vital to

complications, affecting up to 80% of people who have had diabetes for

keep control of sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure. An HBA1C of

20 years or more. However, at least 90 % of new cases could be reduced

7%, LDLc of100 mg/dl, and a blood pressure reading of 140/85 can

if there was proper treatment and monitoring of the eyes, for the

reduce microvascular complications such as retinopathy, nephropathy

chances of developing diabetic retinopathy rises the longer a person

and neuropathy by 40-60%. It is also important to avoid smoking

has had diabetes.

and tobacco products (including secondhand smoke), to exercise

Diabetic Retinopathy is divided into two major forms: NonProliferative (NPDR) and Proliferative (PDR), named for the absence or

regularly, and to have a yearly eye examination carried out by an ophthalmologist.

presence of abnormal new blood vessels emanating from the retina.




“After starting to experience chest pain six years ago, 74-year-old Mr. AA tells us about his heart condition and how he finally agreed to cardiac catheterisation.”

Dr. Fekry El Deeb

Consultant Interventional Cardiologist


used to feel chest pain when walking or climbing stairs, and

there was one more solution, albeit an uncommon one – treating the

my doctor recommended cardiac catheterisation. I admit

diseased artery using a diamond drill.

that I was afraid and asked if I could be treated medically? So initially I took medication and tried to live a healthier

Dr. Fekry explained the need to remove the hard calcium on the walls of the arteries to prepare them to yield under the pressure of a

lifestyle. Unfortunately, and despite my best efforts, I failed with

balloon, and eventually implant stents as the final treatment. Using

the latter and the chest pain remained.

a diamond drill was the only way to grind these calcium specks and

Then around a year ago, my chest pain became more frequent

remove them.

and I finally accepted the fact that I would have to have a cardiac

This was a success, and I started to walk around two hours later,

catheterization. At Zulekha Hospital in Dubai, Dr. Fekry El Deeb,

and what a feeling it was! For the first time in many years I could

Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, explained to me why and

walk fast with no chest pain. Again, I was advised to get exercise and

how this procedure is done and, as there was no other way forwards, I

change my lifestyle. Sadly, I failed once more and had to repeat the

accepted the inevitable.

cardiac catheterisation. The only difference this time is that I started

To my surprise, the procedure was very simple. I did not feel any

to exercise regularly and cut out fatty foods.

pain at all and was wide awake during the entire 10-minutes it took.

I would advise anyone with chest pain or discomfort to talk

However, I discovered during the procedure that three of my arteries

to their doctor about such as procedure immediately, as cardiac

were so hard and calcified that the doctor recommended open heart

catheterisation is often the only option you if want to resume a normal

surgery. The following day, though, I was informed that it was now


too late for open heart surgery. I was devastated. Yet I discovered that



ance is an ancient and celebrated cultural tradition in India, with countless classical dance forms and innumerable folk dances: every single one can be traced to a different part of the country, with each form representing the culture and ethos of a particular region. This time-honoured tradition was illustrated magnificently during ‘Incredible India’, a class dance competition held at GEMS Millennium School – Sharjah.

The Principal, Ms. Teresa Varman, thanked the parents, acknowledging that the show would not have been possible without their solid support. She also applauded Ms. Vishakha Varma for choreographing the dances and ensuring a very high quality of performance.

All 282 students of Grade 3 danced their way into the hearts of a delighted audience, performing folk dances from the different states of India, from Kashmir to Kerala through to Gujarat to Assam. Indeed, the school auditorium vibrated with the sounds of cheering and applause, including that of the Chief Guest, Mr. Abdul Aziz Issa Elias, a member of the school’s Local Governing Body and the former Head of Quality Assurance at the Ministry of Education, Sharjah. He was highly appreciative of the spectacular show and had words of admiration for the teachers who worked so hard to ensure its success.

400649.indd 1


10/10/17 1:39 PM



The Voice THE ARTS



o you have any budding radio presenters, producers or technical engineers at your school? Well, they do at GEMS Winchester School- Fujairah where, with the aid of Mr. Short, a new teacher from the U.K., they have launched their very own radio station as part of the GEMS Winchester School- Fujairah Enrichment Programme. Run by the students for the students, the station has quickly become a focal point for the school where youngsters can express their views in a safe, unimposing environment that promotes inclusion and community. So while Mr. Short helps set up the equipment, supports and supervises the various shows, the students do everything else themselves, including recording the jingles, setting up the samples, interviewing guests, and writing and recording the entire broadcasts. It’s an initiative that has taken the School by storm, particularly the popular ‘shout-out’ segment, which gives students and teachers the opportunity to post their shout-outs in the WSF Radio box, which are then read out live on air. In addition to great music and shout-outs, Andrew from Year 4 hosts a series of fascinating interviews with teachers and principals, with the first episode featuring an interview with Ms. Ranju, the Vice-President of GEMS Education. Andrew, with fellow student Fares, also presents a comprehensive review of books, TV shows and movies, whilst an informative weekly school news programme hosted by Ishfar and Hamza features the latest news headlines from the U.A.E. and around the world. Whether it’s discussing important issues or sharing the music they love, WSF Radio gives the students a voice within the school. All episodes are recorded and published on a weekly basis and can be found on YouTube by searching for WSF Radio U.A.E. This is also where you can leave any suggestions or questions – and all comments are welcome.



n exciting mixture of ideas, imagination, events, and workshops, the Our Own English High School – Sharjah (Boys) Literary Festival attracted a large gathering who shared one passion: a love of writing, reading, and books. The festival, organised by the school’s Literary Club, was honoured to have a trio of respected judges at the event - Ms. Mehak Srivastava, Journalist, BNC Publishing, Dubai, and alumni, Steve Lobo, Student Brand Ambassador of Interns ME, and George Zacharia, a first-year Medical College student. Their task was not an easy one though, as the standard was uniformly high across-the-board. The competition saw students challenge each other in Elocution, Mono-acting, Recitation, Marketing a Product, Turn Coat, Twist in theTale, Radio Jockeying, Mad Ad, Pick and Talk, Spell Bee and Storytelling. The festival showcased the good reading practices of the students and saw a number of new and diverse ideas and perspectives. It concluded with the closing ceremony, when congratulations were passed onto the winners and a student each from the junior and the senior sections were awarded the titles of Junior and Senior Rhetorician respectively.



he students of Grades 9 and 10 at GEMS Modern Academy have planned, orchestrated and executed three editions of the Concursos – a unique programme that brings them together with their peers and SEND students for a day of fun-filled activities. The name ‘Concursos’, which means

One of the organisers of the first event,

The programme has been growing in size

Caelan, remarked: “H.H. Sheikh Mohammed

and scope and students are increasingly keen

Bin Rashid Al Maktoum declared this year

to sign up as volunteers.

as the ‘Year of Mindfulness’. This vision has

“Concursos gives us a sense of satisfaction

made us want to reach out to society and

that only an event like this can provide. It

attempt to bring happiness to the lives of our

teaches us empathy, the virtue of patience,

neighbours. We have had three sessions in the

and the importance of mindfulness. We are

last six months, during which we brought in

humbled to have had this opportunity and we

several students from Al Noor Training Centre

hope to continue this tradition as a part of our

for Children with Special Needs. Our own

legacy,’’ explained Grade 10 student Janani

‘convergence’ in Latin, was chosen for this

students have been volunteering with the aim


exercise to encourage bonding with people

of making a small difference in the lives of our

from different backgrounds, allowing them

new friends, even if it means only spending

the need to show people compassion and

to get to know each other and work towards

a couple of hours with them periodically. We

empathy, without wanting anything in return.

one common goal. The Concursos programme

performed activities and fun-filled games

The old adage holds true now more than ever:

is the first of its kind in the Grade 9 and 10

such as musical chairs, puzzles, face painting,

people may not remember what you did, or

phase of the school, and has become an

vegetable painting, puppet shows and more.

what you said, but they will always remember

integral part of the group’s evolving sense of

But I think it’s the dance sessions that were

how you made them feel.


everybody’s favourite!’’

The primary message of Concursos is



Building Bridges Instead of Walls





o obtain admission into their dream universities, students from all over the world want to gain as much experience in the corporate environment as possible; and what better way than through an internship? That’s why at GEMS Modern Academy – Dubai they have launched MODINTERN, a one-of-a-kind internship programme for students of Grades 11 and 12.

This year more than 100 students interned at 25 firms across Dubai, which included such blue-chip names as Frost & Sullivan, Apparel Group, Emirates Hospitality, ENBD, and IMG Worlds of Adventure. There were opportunities in everything from retail, medical, accountancy, education, banking and hospitality through to journalism, marketing and software development. And whichever industry the individual students chose to explore, they were able to reproduce the corporate experience and, in doing so, developed an array of skills in areas such

In the second year of this programme, students were given the

as communication, problem solving, critical thinking, and writing. They

opportunity to attend internships in a variety of companies, with

also learnt the significance of cooperation, acceptance of fellow workers,

16-year-old Sanjana Nair, for instance, spending three weeks with Prime

supervision, and being responsible, punctual, and realistic.

Medical. “All in all, it was a fantastic experience that allowed me to step

With employers looking for candidates who can easily transition from

into the shoes of a professional doctor and discover if it was a life and

being students to full-time employees, internship experience is more

career I wanted to live.”

important than ever, with the MODINTERN programme helping young

Sahil Domadia, a 17-year-old student, enjoyed a similar experience with ABB Industries, which specialises in the field of electrical engineering. “During the week I was there, I not only learned about the various products and motors sold by ABB, but also the different departments of the company, such as Finance, Law, and Human Resources. The internship was a truly amazing experience that I will never forget.”


people to take the knowledge that they have gained in the classroom into the workplace.


rs. Kia Nicole Beguesse, M.Ed., LPC, Secondary Counsellor at GEMS World Academy – Dubai, recently attended the regional conference of the International Association of College Admission Counselling (IACAC), of which GEMS is a corporate member. Here, she shares a few of her thoughts about the event, which was held in Abu Dhabi.


Learn it, Live it, Pass it On PowerPoint contained information I was actually enthusiastic to present. The audience could feel my exuberance and were eager to renew their membership or become members. It was great to receive so many compliments on my performance. It only gave me more confidence for the next presentation (which was in fifteen minutes). This I undertook with Sonja Bhan from King’s Academy, Jordan, speaking on the subject of ‘Rising Seniors: Getting Them Ready for the Final Stage’. Sonja and I are from different schools, but many of our It was a privilege to attend my first IACAC MENA conference, which

techniques remain the same. However, we did highlight our differences

not only gave me the opportunity to learn, but also to impart some of

and the presentation was received with a wonderful round of applause.

my own wisdom and experience to other professionals.

It was an experience that has definitely motivated me to present in the

The Welcome Dinner was amazing. Gathering with like-minded people is always a treat, and I was thoroughly impressed with the people

future. The entire conference was rewarding and I highly recommend it for

attending the event. The conference did not disappoint. From sessions

every counsellor, but especially for GEMS counsellors wanting to expand

to speed dating, my brain was on overload. That evening I was more

their network of international university partners, as well as learning

than ready to head back to my room and practice my first presentation

how to improve their craft in order to help GEMS students navigate their

on the benefits of membership of the IACAC.

‘best fit’ for university options after their high school graduation.

I arrived on campus next morning and met my co-presenters. The



Connecting with a Whole World of Education


ave you ever wondered what the GEMS Education advantage is for your child? To sum it up in a logical and systematic way, I believe it revolves around the value of the education that your child gets, school-leaving results that speak for themselves, and now a myriad of opportunities for entry to international universities and colleges.

Keeping with this connectivity, GEMS will announce a programme involving internships soon. In our endeavour to create a difference that only GEMS can offer, we are now in the final stages of launching our global college and career counselling hub for university and study abroad services. This will provide total in-house services for college advice, academic guidance, career exploration, study abroad efforts, scholarships and funding, as well as structured standardised testing options for all our

Interestingly, 2017 for us here at GEMS has been a year of connectivity at a number of different levels. Firstly, we have enhanced

students to benefit from. So we continue to move ahead at full speed, together as parents,

our relationships with institutions of higher education, paving the way

school staff and community partners, committed to providing services

for GEMS students to gain a competitive advantage to access these

through leadership, teaching and learning opportunities in a wide

universities and colleges through our GEMS UniConnect programme.

variety of ways. GEMS leads by consolidating our world-class services

These custom strategic partnerships ensure clear, direct entry

that encompass a wide array of both existing and new concepts, in

into courses and programmes of choice, along with a vast array of

combination with teaching and learning - because that is what we do

scholarship options to ease the burden of college admissions.

well at GEMS, every day, on a global scale. -Robert Wilson, Consultant, Higher Education Initiatives



“The Future Scientists Project’ has selected GEMS students, starting from Grade 10, to be enroled in a medical science research programme.”

It’s All About Saving Lives


e are delighted to present a feature on Gulf Medical University, Ajman, written by its Chancellor, Professor Hossam Hamdy, PhD, an internationally renowned medical educator and paediatric surgeon who has established several medical colleges throughout the Middle East.

in the Middle East and beyond, GMU has recently developed its 2022 strategic plan, putting research and innovation as the top of its strategic goals. This includes an initiative that has been established between GMU and GEMS. ‘The Future Scientists Project’ has selected GEMS students, starting from Grade 10, to be enroled in a medical science research programme, preparing them to be future researchers and providing them with practical skills and knowledge in genetics,

Gulf Medical University (GMU) was established in 1998, making it the oldest private university in the Gulf region that specialises in the full spectrum of health professionals’ education. The founder,

molecular imaging, and cutting-edge medical research. We are extremely excited to be starting this programme very soon. In my 50 years of experience as a surgeon, educator, scientist

Mr. Thumbay Moideen, had a vision, believing that nothing is nobler

and administrator, I have witnessed the development and progression

than saving lives and improving health - and GMU has certainly

of thousands of medical students who are now working all over the

stayed true to that vision. Today, it has several distinguished colleges,

world. The decision to pursue a career in a medical and health related

incorporating Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, and Health Sciences,

domain is not easy. It is a long journey in which lifelong learning is

the latter offering excellent programmes in Physiotherapy, Nursing,

a commitment. At the same time it is a profession that carries many

Imaging and Medical Laboratory Sciences.

rewards. Making a contribution to the advancement of health sciences

Due to its reputation, GMU has more than 1,300 students from 80 countries and admits 350 students each year in different specialities.

and saving lives makes all of the hard work worthwhile. At GMU, we are delighted to be working with such a leading

It is the only medical university that owns its hospitals, clinics,

educational institution as GEMS, which will allow us to share our

laboratories and pharmacies, in Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al

experiences and expertise with parents, students, and teachers. Last

Quwain, Fujairah, and Hyderabad. This allows it to provide the best

but not least, we would love to have readers of GEMS Family Magazine

training in a modern healthcare environment.

visit our campus in order to meet our faculty and students. You’ll be

Becoming the first academic health system in the private sector

made very welcome!



Ask the Counsellor


ompiled by Dr. Kierstan Connors, Associate Director for GEMS College & Career Counseling Worldwide.

Which curriculum is best for my student to gain acceptance into top international universities? Given the holistic application review process for acceptance into international universities, there is really no single dominant curriculum or pathway for admission success. Rather, it is the student’s academic

When should I start the college planning process for my child? It is never too early to start the ‘College Thinking’ process for any

choice and major of studies that drives the college admission process into acceptance – worldwide. A student in any curricula who builds

student, because we know the ‘end game’ is higher education and

their four-year high school / secondary resume, should focus on taking

university admission. This ‘end game’ is tied to secondary course work

advantage of the most rigorous options/courses available for their

and a four-year high school resume of excellence. If a student is in an


IB, a British National or Indian curriculum school, course choices are

At times, since we at GEMS offer international students different

made for two-year periods in secondary and supported by national

options that are quite focused (IBDP or A-Levels), students will have

exams. A student should think about their end game goals – such as

to supplement their academics with standardised exams - such as

medicine, engineering, software development, architecture, etc. – and

the SAT I and II, TOEFL, IELTS, ACT or AP classes - if they want to

work backwards as to what courses and curriculum is best suited to

gain admission to more technical or competitive courses in select

explore this major / course option in university. Then classes before

universities. They also need to focus on their out-of-the classroom

A-Levels or IBDP course work, or AP’s, can be chosen with a better focus

resume of extra-curricular activities, service to their community, and

and more tailored ‘end game’.

support of their school in leadership programmes that add to their

In addition to academics, extra-curricular activities and community service should be developed over a minimum of a four-year

holistic experience as a high school student and community member. If you have further questions or want to review our GEMS College &

period, to develop a comprehensive four year high school resume of

Career Counseling services on a global scale, please contact your GEMS

quality programmes and experiences that focus on college and career

School’s College & Career Advisor or contact our Global Services Center

exploration, and best yet, tie in to the university course work / major

through Dr. Kierstan Connors at our Corporate Offices in Dubai.

of choice. Universities today want a depth and breadth of experience outside of the classroom for their undergraduates, not just superstars in the classroom and on exams.



Get Informed!


ood career guidance is critical if young people are to raise their aspirations and capitalise on the opportunities available to them. That’s why at GEMS Wellington International School – Dubai they provide an easy-to-use and powerful platform that provides the best guidance for all of their students. Penelope Chidgey, Careers and Higher Education Adviser, fills in a few of the details

student benefits greatly by consulting with the Careers Adviser, who can guide them through the many higher education and career options available. In this time of globalisation, when there is a myriad of career options available, students rely on good advice and guidance to develop their knowledge, confidence and skills. It is easy to be overwhelmed by the prospect of change, and for most students the immediate concern is how to choose the right course and university. Choosing a university isn’t easy, with so many different experiences,

Have you ever thought about the career guidance you received

subjects and courses on offer. Because of this, we hold a significant

at school? Was it helpful, inspiring, thought provoking? I don’t know

number of events throughout the year, inviting universities from

about you, but for me I still remember being sent to see the Careers

around the world. These include global university fairs, presentations

Adviser and, after a two minute interview, he asked just one question:

from alumni of leading universities, plus events for students and

“What are you going to do when you leave school?” My answer was a

parents considering universities in Canada, Australia, the E.U., and the

very abrupt “I don’t know,” which is probably the same response that


many young people would give today. But, instead of receiving well-

For Year 11-13, we have also organised mock tests and reviews

informed, impartial advice and guidance, I was given a leaflet about

for the ACT, SAT and PSAT. What’s more, we are very excited to have

working in an office and sent on my way!

assembled Oxbridge alumni living in Dubai to take part in mock

I believe every young person should be entitled to good careers advice, and at GEMS Wellington International School we offer high

interviews for our Year 13 students applying to Oxford or Cambridge. We are delighted that GEMS Wellington International School

quality ‘Careers and Higher Education’ advice and guidance, starting in

students from the class of 2017 have gone on to attend a variety of

Year 8 through to Year 13.

top class universities around the world. We wish each and every one of

Students often find themselves at a crossroads when they reach Year 12, the question usually being: “What next?” At this point, a

them continued success as lifelong learners, and look forward to the class of 2018 making us just as proud!



+971 2 599 0000

Etihad Airways flight attendants and Flying Nannies have seen it all when it comes to air travel, so who better to turn to for advice on flying with kids? Flying Nanny Ashleigh Mae Walter gives us her top tips to make the experience a pleasurable one for the whole family...

You’ve worked hard all year and that dream family holiday is just around the corner. The packing is under control and now there’s just the small matter of a flight with young children to get through...

As an Etihad Airways Flying Nanny, flying is a thrilling experience for the vast majority of children I have the pleasure of meeting. But, for some, it can be a daunting experience and the excitement can become too much. However, with our help and a little careful planning of your own, the dreaded ‘Are we there yet?’ question will be replaced with an excited ‘When can we do it again!” Firstly, make sure you know the essentials when you book. Young guests between seven days old and two on the date of travel are classified as infants and travel free. If an infant celebrates their second birthday after the outbound flight, make sure you book a child ticket for the return leg. Guests between two and below 12 on the date of travel are classified as children but if they turn 12 while away, a child fare applies throughout the journey.

Etihad’s Kids Pack

All Etihad Airways aircraft are fitted with baby bassinet positions where a specially designed carry-cot can be installed for use by a small child or infant. They have been carefully designed to accommodate infants below 10 months old and who weigh less than 10kg. They are available on a first-come, first-served basis in Economy Class and Business Class so book early to reserve one. Make sure you also request a baby or child meal at the time of booking or 24 hours before departure.


oversee some creative drawing. It’s not unknown for a child to return to their seat looking like a lion– with mum and dad’s permission, of course – courtesy of some creative face painting! If a parent is travelling solo, I can also stay with children while they go to the bathroom or simply stretch their legs for a bit. On inbound flights to Abu Dhabi, a new collectable character bag for three to eight year-olds contains an activity booklet, crayons, card games and a colour-in mask. They feature special Etihad Airways characters created just for the airline: Kundai the Lion, Zoe the Bee, Jamool the Camel and Boo the Panda.

When it comes to packing your hand baggage, a few games, books or a small gift like a new toy to keep your child occupied are always good ideas. Be sure to pack an extra feed/meal for your baby in your hand baggage to cover unexpected delays, as well as wet wipes for cleaning sticky hands and faces. Sweets to suck or chew when the air pressure changes, as well as your child’s favourite cuddly toy or blanket, will help keep little ones happy. Remember to bring a change of clothes or extra layers as the temperature onboard may vary. Describing what will happen at the airport to your child in advance will really help them feel part of the adventure. At check-in, luggage tags will be placed on push chairs or strollers and you will still be able to use these in the airport. They will be placed in the aircraft hold at the departure gate shortly before boarding. On arrival, push chairs or strollers will either be returned at the aircraft door or should be collected at the luggage carousel. Guests arriving at our home in Abu Dhabi are welcome to use one of our complimentary strollers, which are available in the terminal, close to the gate. They’re bright orange in colour, so you can’t miss them! Our dedicated lounges in most major airports offer Family Rooms equipped with fun entertainment for our young Premium Class guests. Here, qualified nannies can watch over your little ones, allowing you time to relax and enjoy the lounge facilities.

Once it is time to board, families with young children will be called first, giving you extra time to get settled onboard. It’s here that I and my fellow Flying Nannies first get to meet you and your little ones, offering additional assistance – such as putting up the baby bassinet, helping with an infant seatbelt or placing luggage in the overhead storages - if required. Like all Etihad Airways Flying Nannies, I was trained by the world-renowned Norland College in the UK so you can rest assured that your youngsters will be in good hands. I come fully prepared with an extensive range of fun items to engage and interact with children, including Origami, games, flight certificates, and magic tricks. I even have a ‘Flying Nanny stamp of approval’ to reward children for their inflight activities. I always try to spot when being stuck in a seat means that restlessness is brewing in a child. One of my favourite diversions is a trip to the galley to see how the meals are prepared or to

From Abu Dhabi, packs include a unique suitcase board game which allows parents and children to play together, a foam lion character, colourin postcards, crayons, and a handy waterproof travel wallet. Having a different pack on each leg ensures that children are kept well entertained on both journeys. For older children aged nine to 13, a more mature activity pack is guaranteed to puzzle and delight, containing Sudoku, mazes, lined notes and jointhe-dot games. These packs also contain an Abu Dhabi themed pencil case, pencil, a dual-function bookmark and ruler, and a notepad. Tech savvy youngsters can also enjoy a range of films, television programmes, games, and childfriendly albums and CDs through the dedicated ‘Just 4 Kids’ section on the Etihad Airways E-BOX inflight entertainment system, all of which can be enjoyed on the touchscreen and/or handset. So, when it comes to keeping your children entertained and creating a memorable and enjoyable travel experience for the whole family, make sure you plan ahead, come prepared, and let me and my fellow Flying Nannies give you the helping hand you deserve.


Building Strong Bodies and Clear Minds


oju Kai Karate is more than just a sport. It provides plenty of benefits that youngsters can use to their advantage in everyday life, from developing leadership skills through to building both mental and physical strength. Across several GEMS schools, students aged between four and

18 have the opportunity to attend Academy Plus classes, which are delivered by qualified Japanese graded instructors and have multiple world champion Frank Brandon as the programme’s Technical Director. We recently caught up with Mr. Brandon, first asking how he got involved in the sport. “I started when I was four and my father was my teacher,” he explains. “He has been doing karate now for 50 years, so I couldn’t have asked for a better instructor. I first went to Japan when I was 10 years old and I was one of the last people to be graded by the ‘old man’, Gogen Yamaguchi, one of the last really famous Grandmasters to ever live. I got graded black belt, the youngest practitioner to ever get black belt at that age.” When talking about the current exposure of Goju Kai in Dubai, Mr. Brandon says that it is important to help people understand what Goju Kai is all about. “It’s not just about winning medals; it’s about becoming a part of a global family that goes back centuries. And although there are a lot of karate classes in Dubai, Goju Kai is unique. There is a level of discipline and a standard of performance that all GEMS students would benefit from, not only regarding karate, but in their everyday lives.” One such student who has benefitted from Goju Kai is 14-year-old GEMS Wellington International School - Dubai student Caitlyn Bradley. She first heard about the discipline when Adam-Paul Del Carme and Frank Brandon visited the school to give a demonstration. “I had had an interest in karate for a while, and after watching the demonstration I decided I wanted to start doing it. I train once a week after school, but also attend the two weekly summer camps,” she says. Caitlyn’s parents have been very supportive of her passion, while she credits her Sensei (her teacher – the term literally means ‘one who has gone before’), Adam, as the person who keeps her motivated. “I am more confident, fitter, and feel more independent now that I practice Goju Kai,” Caitlyn says, “and it was wonderful to be graded by multipletime world champion Frank Brandon. I felt very comfortable with him because he made me feel relaxed and at ease. He’s a lot of fun, too.”







on’t drown, don’t fall, and don’t walk – those are the essentials of a good triathlon competitor! Of course, there is a little more to it than that, as Jumeirah College alumnus Thomas Delgarno explains: “I had been training for a year prior to 2017 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final Sprint Age Group Championships in Rotterdam, but the serious work began after my initial attempt to qualify for the Great Britain team, when I undertook four months of solid training to prepare for the final qualification race in Redcar, U.K., with the end goal being the World Championships.” Thomas has been competing in triathlons for more than five years now, and loves

knowing that he’s the fittest version of himself. “Sprint triathlon is fast and furious, covering a 750m swim, 20km cycle, and 5km run. It’s really exciting, and a genuine adrenaline rush that makes you push yourself physically and mentally,” he says. And competing for Great Britain and wearing the official kit was a thrill he will never forget. “It was one of the most surreal moments of my life! Running down the blue carpet towards the finishing line with crowds five deep showed me how much I love the sport and how hungry I am to improve on my performances. Most importantly though, I was happy I could make my family proud, as I couldn’t have done it without them. Furthermore, having great PE teachers at Jumeirah College that were so enthusiastic about triathlons really inspired me to give it my all, especially Mr Forsythe who has been a fantastic role model. It really was a team effort. I achieved joint-seventh in the ITU World Sprint Championships 16-19 age group and was the fourth fastest GB team member overall. The level of competition was immense with some extremely fast running in my age group.” In his second year of studying marine biology at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, Thomas has already qualified for the 2018 ITU World Sprint Age Group Championships in the Gold Coast, Australia. This success is fuelled by a tremendous amount of hard work and commitment, but this is something that Thomas thrives on: “I love training in a team. I would much rather head to the running track for a hard Monday night run with a group of close training partners than go for a night out. “When I’m fit, I’m happy.” “It never gets easier, it only gets faster,” as U.S. cyclist Greg LeMond once said. And Thomas’s determination to swim strong, cycle fast and run like the wind makes him a good bet for a medal ‘down under’ next year.





hinking of starting your own business? Then take inspiration from Our Own English High SchoolFujairah alumnus Zaid Rahman. His story is hugely inspiring and should be celebrated by all would-be entrepreneurs. Zaid has been fascinated with how things work for as long as he

can remember. However, the 2007 launch of the iPhone took this fascination to an entirely new level, encouraging him, at the tender age of just 12, to fully embrace the world of technology. He first launched an online publication in which he predicted Apple’s recent move into online payments, before going on to create his own digital agency,, with a friend. As Zaid matured, he began to regularly tour the Middle East and beyond with the school debate team. Although a highly successful and enjoyable experience, he did struggle with class attendance and the knowledge gaps that resulted from this. Rather than complaining though, Zaid created a solution to his problem by co-founding Pilot Labs, an interactive digital learning platform designed to give deeper insights to teachers on how individual students are learning in real time. It achieves this by analysing the answers to certain questions, allowing teachers to recognise if a student is lacking understanding in a certain subject. Today, at the still young age of 22, Zaid lives in Silicon Valley in California where he is the co-founder and CEO of, an artificial intelligence company that helps anyone learn anything. Founded in 2015, Volley had some pretty impressive seed investors too, including Mark Zuckerberg, the co-founder of Facebook, and GEMS Education! So it’s no surprise that Volley has become so successful, putting knowledge within reach of everyone whilst improving learning engagement, driving growth, and slashing costs for clients. As if all this were not enough, Zaid is also the first person from the U.A.E. to be awarded the prestigious Thiel Fellowship, presented by entrepreneur and investor Peter Thiel, the founder of PayPal.

“Zaid lives in Silicon Valley in California where he is the co-founder and CEO of, an artificial intelligence company that helps anyone learn anything.”

Building a start-up is hard, because as a founder you don’t just have one job; you’re leader, recruiter, product developer, salesperson – the list goes on. So you need to be flexible, a quick learner, and be able to put into practice sound business processes. And this underlines the lesson that all budding entrepreneurs need to take on-board: great ideas don’t just knock at your door; you have to pursue them. Zaid has done just that.





n alumnus from the ‘Class of 2004’, Lionel Lobo is an archetypal entrepreneur; he not only has ideas, he makes ideas happen and never ever gives up. “No-one should be afraid to fail, as each time they do they are one step closer to achieving their dreams,” he explains. Lionel, as well as being an entrepreneur, is a software developer and freelance consultant. “I’m currently working with SME’s and other enterprises to innovate and develop software applications to improve business processes. I also developed Hey Witi, a real-time search cataloging app that allows businesses to advertise their current products and services. I first came up with this idea when I was studying at the American University in Sharjah. I couldn’t find specific products and services that I wanted, so I needed to create a solution for this problem. Hey Witi is that solution.” Educated at Our Own English High School – Sharjah and another school, also in Sharjah, Lionel clearly enjoyed his formative years. “I still remember my teachers at Our Own English High School, and they all made an impact on me. Mrs. Bushra, for instance, was my third grade teacher and she made sure we had a balance of everything from studies to recreation. She was such fun, but in a way it seems a little unfair only to mention her, because the other teachers throughout my life have been rather special. They have taught me how important the teaching profession is. “I would like to share one of my favourite memories. It was in kindergarten, and we had a fancy dress competition. I still remember seeing so many of my classmates wearing wonderful, creative clothes that represented people from different walks of life. It was fantastic, and our teachers were there with us every step of the way, leading, assisting and encouraging.” Lionel was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree from the American University of Sharjah, as well as picking up two SAP Certificates under the Dual SAP Study Programme. “I also used my extra credit for studying Management Information Systems, which I really enjoyed. In fact, my entire education,


from kindergarten to university, was a joy, putting me in a great position to be able to follow my dreams, which are to create more software solutions that solve real world problems and benefit society,” Lionel concludes.


ith the GEMS Rewards app our families now have the opportunity to save in their every day lives.

Furthermore, with referrals and co-branded credit card usage, GEMS Rewards is designed to allow participants to save towards school fees in a few different ways. GEMS families can explore cash-back opportunities on student referrals and through the co-branded credit

GEMS Rewards is a unique app that allows participants to enjoy

special offers and cash-back opportunities across various categories,

card, in addition to enjoying incredible savings and discounts across various experiences.

such as, beauty, dining, entertainment, and travel. With over 300

It couldn’t be easier to get involved either. Simply download the

brands and in excess of 1000 offers, its slick and simple interface

GEMS Rewards app from your preferred app store and follow the simple

means that it has quickly become a ‘must have’ for the discerning

instructions to login with your GEMS ID. Then browse through an

digital wallet.

extensive list of deals and discounts from across the U.A.E. You can

User-friendly and flexible, GEMS Rewards is designed to cater to the entire GEMS community, including parents, students, and teachers.

redeem your selected offers instantly and start saving! So don’t delay, download the app today and start to enjoy a wide

And because one account can be accessed across up to eight different

range of privileges and benefits; it’s available via the Apple Store and

devices the entire family can get involved, allowing everyone to enjoy

Google Play.

the countless savings on offer.

For more information, simply log on to



Time to Start Saving


Saving While You Spend

“I recently purchased 12 donuts for my family and received an additional 12 absolutely free! It is very simple to use, too. All of the options and categories are clearly listed, so it’s easy to follow and find exactly what you are looking for.” - May Estrada


et the most out of life with the GEMS Rewards app. With a wide range of perks and privileges all at your fingertips, from the small to the showstopping, there will always be something that takes your fancy. Here’s what some of the satisfied GEMS Parents had to say about the app. “If it wasn’t easy I wouldn’t continue using the app. I did not

subscribe to Entertainer this year, and I don’t feel I will next year as this is a great alternative. It has made me aware of other companies and beauty shops I wouldn’t have usually considered.” -Jane Muff

“There are some deals you cannot find on other apps, and they are not the usual buy ‘one get one free’ type of offers either. We’ve used the app almost every weekend since it launched. It has helped us enjoy more weekend activities than before without the worry of overspending - this is a big deal when you have three kids!” - Pablo Arguello

“Jane, May and Pablo all gave the app a score of 5/5. Happy customers indeed!”




We Rise by Lifting Others lways looking to help those less fortunate, and to offer their assistance wherever they can, the students of GEMS and Our Own English High School - Fujairah have, as a part of the Year of

Giving, gathered up essentials such as rice, oil, sugar, soap and toothpaste through a collection drive amongst the school community. It was humbling to see students from every class contributing products in huge quantities, which were then packed in hundreds of bags to be distributed among 700-plus labourers at the Fuj Eng Labour Camp and the support staff of the school. The labourers were overwhelmed by this magnificent gesture, as the students, who visited the camp along with some teachers and the headmaster, gleefully handed over the packs



Thinking Globally, Acting Locally


he 17 goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development were adopted by world leaders in 2015 at an historic United Nations summit. These new goals universally apply to all, with countries throughout the world committing themselves to mobilising efforts

to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities, and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind. To support and spread the word about this important and noble endeavour, the students of Our Own English High School - Sharjah (Boys) participated in the World’s Largest Lesson, with activities that included everything from thumb painting, collage making and murals through to assemblies, yoga classes and case studies. Organised by the school’s Social Studies department, the objective was to get the youngsters to think about the different ways in which they can contribute to these goals, and in doing so underline the fact that with empathy, passion and creativity young people really can make the world a better place. The 2030 Agenda is a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity, and the students discovered that there are many things they can do to help shape the world’s approach to growth and sustainable development without even leaving the classroom.



Together Everyone Accomplishes More


he Millennium School has been awarded the

techniques. In line with DEWA’s vision, The Millennium School is

Conservation Award for ‘Distinguished Educational

working towards a sustainable future.

Institution in Conservation’, initiated by Dubai

Meanwhile, yet another ‘Year of Giving’ initiative from The

Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) to reflect its

Millennium School - Dubai has witnessed the Student Council

keenness to raise awareness among students on the

organising English and I.T. classes for the support staff of the school to

rational use of resources. The school was presented with a trophy and AED 15,000.

empower them with linguistic and technological skills. The classes, which were both an hour long, saw a total of 25

The central aim of the award is to celebrate best practice in

learners take part; nine for English and 16 for IT. The English class took

reducing electricity and water consumption. The Millennium School

in a number of everyday subjects, including how to introduce yourself,

not only raised awareness about the conservation of electricity and

basic greetings, small talk (weather, films, family etc.), and terms for

water, but changed 70% of the school’s fluorescent lights bulbs to LED

referring to certain times, days and seasons. School-based situations

lights, which produced a significant reduction in the school’s electricity

were also covered, with such things as how to respond to a parent on a


bus and the correct way to enter a classroom.

Additionally, watering plants in the vegetable garden by reusing

The IT class incorporated a brief introduction to the various parts

the condensate of air conditioners and innovative schemes such as the

of a computer and an initiation into the MS Word interface, including

‘Hydroponics Project’ have also helped to reduce the use of water.

how to carry out simple commands such as bold, underline, italic,

Adhering to the school motto, ‘We Choose to Care’, a number

highlighting, font and font size, and colour of text. Participants, who

of changes were implemented that make a real difference to the

were each provided with a laptop for the class, were then asked to type

environment, even in small ways. The school is aiming to reduce

out personal details and enhance the text using the commands they

its carbon footprint even further by adopting new and innovative

has learned. They were then taught how to save the file.



Proud to be an Indian Overseas


ith the fourth installment of the prestigious NRI

Continuing his education in India where he is currently studying chemical engineering, Abhinav said it was a big honour winning the prize: “It was a major surprise. I never thought something that I started back in 2014 would turn out to be such a huge success. We are now planning the fourth edition of the ‘Clean-up Sharjah Campaign’ and I’m surprised that so many people are still approaching me and supporting the initiative ... it’s a true blessing.”

(Non-Resident Indian) of the Year Awards. Created in order to recognise the exceptional achievements of Indians living overseas,

awards are presented in six separate categories: Entrepreneur, Professional, Start-up Founder, Student, Artist, and Philanthropist. And this year 18-year-old Abhinav Singla, who graduated in 2016 from Our

Own English High School – Sharjah (Boys), bagged the NRI of the Year Award 2017 in the Student category, following his successful environmental campaign in Sharjah. He launched the ‘Clean-up Sharjah Campaign’ in 2014 to make Sharjah a cleaner and greener city. The initial month-long campaign was focused on four main objectives - recycling, clean-up, plant seeding, and awareness spreading. “I received a lot of support from students, more than I had ever expected. We had recycling drives in which we collected a large number of items for recycling and deposited them with the local waste management company, Bee’ah,” explained Abhinav.

Growing Food Fit for a King


ou don’t have to call Versailles home to create a stunning green space; something that was underlined recently when schools throughout the U.A.E. competed in the Grow Your Food contest run by Dubai

Municipality. It was a fiercely fought contest too, with a huge increase in the

number of competitors in 2017, rising to around 1600 from 250 last year, competing in four categories: educational institutions, government and private companies, centres for ‘people of determination’, and residents. And as Eman Ali Al Bastaki, Director of Food Safety Department, explained, the most surprising category was the schools, which were outstanding in their dedication towards sustainable environment. “They used methods to reduce food waste by having Bokashi bins, using organic pesticides, fertilizers, and recycling methods.” The participation from educational institutions increased from 15 schools to 50, and together they cultivated in excess of 300kgs of crops, which included more than 50 different varieties of fruits and vegetables.


GEMS Our Own Indian School - Dubai was awarded first prize in this category, with student Jennie Joseph commenting: “We started off with vertical gardens and graduated to hydroponics. Now we have tyre gardens, bottle gardens, and recycled hydroponic gardens. We have 47 varieties of fruits and vegetables and 117 varieties of plants.” GEMS Modern Academy students, who picked up second prize, said their success came from teamwork, with students, including those with special needs, teachers, non-teaching staff and parents all pulling together to create a garden that really is fit for a king… French or otherwise!

Leaving No Child Behind



n the words of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President of the U.A.E. and Ruler of Dubai, “Challenges are in reality our chance to create new solutions.” And this is a maxim that the students of The

Kindergarten Starters – Dubai have clearly taken on-board, having raised AED 132,000 over the past six months to build a school in Malawi, one of the poorest countries in Africa. The Malawi Project, based on the Sustainable Development Goals of Education and the Eradication of Poverty was built into lessons from Kindergarten to Grade 5. The learning derived through the project has impacted almost all students and filled them with a resolve to do more. The youngsters performed odd jobs, gave up their favourite movie or food item, and raised money through art auctions and the Makers Market to raise what is an amazing sum. Through their actions, these young people are changing the world for hundreds of children and adults who will now have access to education. The construction of the school will commence in 2018, and students and staff will visit the site once it is completed.

Dream Big – Read!


t is often said that reading is dreaming with your eyes open,

Taking advantage of the digital age, Vibhali spread the word about

an adventure that never ends. Or as American author Stephen

her campaign through social media. She forwarded the poster she had

King put it: “Books are a uniquely portable magic.” Both

made to her friends on WhatsApp and they forwarded it to their friends,

statements pretty well sum up 11-year-old Vibhali Shetty’s

which, she said, attracted “many people” to donate their old books.

attitude to reading, which goes a long way to explaining the hard

Vibhali hopes her campaign will encourage both the staff and

work and commitment she put into collecting more than 400

visitors at the Indian Association, many of whom are students, to pick

storybooks, which were then donated to the Indian Association in

up a book and read. “Reading is such a good habit. I love reading. It’s

Sharjah in an effort to get residents to read more.

one of my favourite hobbies. I hope more people will read now,” she said.

Vibhali, a Grade 7 student at Our Own English High School – Sharjah (Girls), managed to collect a grand total of 432 books from friends and relatives in just 10 days after she uploaded posters about her campaign, ‘Share Our Wor(l)ds’, onto her Facebook account. “When I went to the association, I noticed that they had a shortage of books. They needed new ones and better ones. So, I decided to do a campaign,” Vibhali explained. “And I was really happy to see so many people, including friends and relatives, donating books in response to the campaign. They were also happy to be part of such a good cause.” Initially, the campaign did not enjoy a huge response. However, once word got out the whole campaign began to snowball, with Vibhali’s mum, Suraksha Shetty, explaining how her family got the momentum going: “My cousin’s kids are all grown and they weren’t using their old books, so she donated 100 of them. Then things really began to take off!”


His Royal Highness Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, honoured 14 students from GEMS Cambridge International School - Abu Dhabi with the ‘Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award’ (iDEA) Bronze Award, for their entrepreneurial and digital skills. iDEA, instituted by the Duke of York, aims to equip young people with digital and enterprise skills. And wherever they are – on the bus, at school, or in their bedroom - students can access resources to inspire them for their future careers and help unlock their potential. During his visit to the school, the Duke of York also unveiled a plaque and inaugurated the iDEA Labs, established by the school for its students. “The aim of the iDEA programme is to help young people become digital citizens, wherever they are in the world. I was delighted to meet so many imaginative students at GEMS Cambridge International School and to hear how they are improving their digital literacy skills on the programme,” he said. Over at GEMS Wellington International School – Dubai, the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award encouraged 14-24-year-olds to learn practical skills that are valuable to their personal and professional development. More than 100 students at GEMS Wellington engaged in over six weeks of this exciting programme through a series of fascinating and structured sessions, including camp craft, cooking, navigation, team building, first aid, and keeping an online record book. All of the students enroled on the Duke of Edinburgh programme at GEMS Wellington International School are working towards either Bronze, Silver or Gold level awards. Whatever the level, though, it is a huge achievement and shows dedication, commitment and life skills, all of which are vital both in school and later in life.


Nothing Can Stop a Great iDEA! GEMS Cambridge International School - Abu Dhabi GEMS Wellington International School - Dubai



On Top of the World! Cambridge Assessment International Education has announced the winners of the Outstanding Cambridge Learner Awards in the U.A.E., with 31 students from GEMS Education schools being named for their exceptional academic performance. The awards programme, which celebrates the success of students taking Cambridge exams in over 40 countries worldwide, saw two U.A.E. pupils receive ‘Top in the World’ honours, while 19 students were awarded ‘Top in the Country’ distinctions across various topics. Securing the Top in the World in Mathematics was Nida Tanveer from The Winchester School – Jebel Ali, with Simone Sanchia Fernandes from Cambridge International School - Dubai topping in Business. “I didn’t believe what I had heard. It took me a few moments to realise it. I was ecstatic! Above all, I felt that my hard work had paid off,” said Nida Tanveer. She also shared what she felt her secret for success was: “I thank the school for recognising the students’ potential and selecting me for fast-track Maths. My teacher, Ms. Jisha, was always ready to help, and my father taught me that Maths is a very practical subject and practice is the only way to get better. At home, my elder sister helped me along the way. She achieved an A* for Maths in her IGCSE and has always been an inspiration for me.” Other award winners from GEMS schools included students from Cambridge International School - Dubai, The Cambridge High School – Abu Dhabi, The Winchester School – Jebel Ali, The Westminster School – Dubai, Wesgreen International School, GEMS Westminster School – Ras Al Khaimah, Our Own English High School - Al Ain, and GEMS Wellington International School – Dubai. It was for the first time that GEMS Westminster School – Ras Al Khaimah had participated in the examination series and one of its students was ranked among the top in the country. Akram Tarik, CEO and Principal, GEMS Westminster School - Ras Al Khaimah, commented: “I am absolutely delighted for Imnah Varghese from Grade 10, who achieved the highest examination result in IGCSE English as a Second Language within the U.A.E. “Her IGCSE result reflects our aspiration and determination for outstanding student success, which is shared by all in the GEMS community, and I am exceptionally proud of Imnah and our staff here at GEMS Westminster School.”


The Winchester School – Jebel Ali - Dubai Cambridge International School

Not Just Kids, But Future Leaders IN THE NEWS

The kids have taken over at The Westminster School - Dubai! Okay, it was only for one day, but it gave them a chance to gain an insight into the world of work and lend a fresh perspective to the day-to-day running and decision-making processes of their school. This special occasion, which began with a gathering to commemorate World Teachers Day, saw the school taken over by 1,120 student teachers, whilst five students took over the administration of the school, 10 students represented the Executive Senior Leaders, and 73 students took on the roles of Subject Leaders. And as a tribute to all of the ‘regular’ teachers, leading department store Marks & Spencer laid on a makeover session, as well as giving a presentation on how to groom oneself in a manner that enhances one’s personality and improves happiness and well-being. Watch the event online on

The Westminster School - Dubai

When Words Fail, Music Speaks An annual event hosted by the Student Council at Our Own English High School – Sharjah (Boys), Battle of the Bands was packed to the brim with enthusiastic music lovers, all cognizant of the event’s motto, ‘Music is to the Soul, What Words are to the Mind’. It’s always a special event, but this year even more so, with a twin celebration to commemorate the 10th anniversary of not only Battle of the Bands, but the Student Council, too. This was observed with the cutting of a mouth-watering cake and the presentation of a video entitled ‘Down Memory Lane – Student Council’. Back on stage, the theme of this year’s Battle of the Bands was ‘Classic Rock’, with four bands competing for several awards. Eventually it was decided that the trophy for the ‘Best Band’ should go to ‘Version 2.0’ from Grade 11. The ‘Best Performer’ and the ‘Best Guitarist’ awards were bagged by Benji Cherian Mathew (Grade 11) and Sriram Gireeshan (Grade 12) respectively. In addition to performances by the bands themselves, the audience was treated to – and was amazed by - ‘The Intrepid Troika’, a group of Council members, who opened the show with a bang by playing some pretty unique and unorthodox musical instruments.

Our Own English High School - Sha

rjah (Boys)



Taking the Pledge The annual exhibition of Our Own English High School – Sharjah (Girls), OWNEX 2017, is a visible manifestation of student learning, exhibiting not only progress made by students in school, but also their 21st century skills of research, collaboration, technology and creativity. The overarching theme of this year’s event was the support pledged by all stakeholders in realizing the UAE Vision 2021, with one of the most popular exhibits being ‘The Pledge’, where an outline of the U.A.E. map was displayed under the banner ‘I Pledge my Support for the U.A.E. Vision 2021’. Other highlights of the exhibition included Labour of Love, with Kindergarten children distributing goody bags with a message to spread happiness; Ruhaniyat Islamiyah, the school Islamic Festival highlighting the Year of Giving (importance of Zakah); Save Girl Child, a dance drama; Mushaira, a recitation of famous Urdu poets; and Mazj Al Hadartian, a representation of India and the U.A.E. joining hands. An endless stream of visitors graced the event, including parents, GEMS dignitaries - Sir Christopher Stone Chief Academic Officer, Mr. Michael Guzder, Vice President, Indian Schools, and others from GEMS - plus Ms. Cursty Hoppe from Which School Advisor, and Her Excellency, Mrs. Hessa Al Khaja, Director of Sharjah Educational Zone. Also in attendance were Mr. Karam Safar Mubarak, Head of Educational Inspection; Mrs. Moza Mohammed, in charge of activities; Mrs. Nadia Al Sayed, Awards Coordinator; Dr. Mohsen Al Jenedi, Head of Media Department in Sharjah Parents Council; Mrs. Badria Ibrahim Al Mouini, Vice Head of Sharjah Parents Council; Mrs. Moza Khalifa Zayed, Head of Activity Department in Sharjah Parents Council; and Mr. Mohammed Rustumani, Member of Sharjah Parents Council.


Our Own English High School – Sha

rjah (Girls)

GEMS Our Own English High School – Sharjah (Girls)

The Indian Independence Bill, which carved out the independent nations of India and Pakistan, came into force on August 15th 1947. And the question being asked of the GEMS Our Own English High School – Sharjah (Girls) team during the preliminary round of the Interschool Debate competition was ‘has Indian achieved enough after 70 years of independence’? The debate, held at GEMS Our Own Indian School – Dubai, in collaboration with the Indian Consulate, saw the team, consisting of Diya Shilin and Mariya Nadeem, qualify for the final round with arguments that were both erudite and well presented. Taking place within the same venue, the final saw debaters from all over U.A.E. competing for several prestigious awards, with heated arguments and ferocious rebuttals on the topic ‘India at 70 - Indian women are empowered’. Both girls from the GEMS Our Own English High School team picked up honours: Diya bagged the ‘Best Speaker’ award (Against the Motion) and Mariya secured First Runner-Up (For the Motion). It was a proud moment for the school to witness two of its students, yet again, proving their mettle in an interschool competition.

The Secret of Being a Champion Family Conference 2017, the flagship edutainment intervention of DestinationSuccessUAE, was recently held at the Hotel Holiday International Sharjah, featuring a panel discussion on the topic ‘What do champions do differently?’ And at the heart of the conference was the Tri Vanquisher contest, in which teams from schools across the region represented by parents, teachers and students battled for glory, including those from Our Own English High School – Sharjah (Boys). While Students competed in the speech segment on the topic ‘Life Hacks - How to Convince Parents’, teachers spoke on the subject ‘What my Most Challenging Students Taught Me’. The last segment of the contest, for parents, was a quiz on the theme ‘The Last 90 Days’. This closely fought contest ensured that the audience was on the edge of their seats throughout the half-day event, with Our Own English High School – Sharjah (Boys) performing admirably to come in third overall.

Our Own English High School – Sha

rjah (Boys)



Gladiatorial Combat of the Intellect

Leave Bullying to Bulls, Become Human Bullying can take many forms, from physical or verbal abuse to bullying via text messages or the Internet (cyberbullying). Whatever form the bullying takes, it is completely unacceptable. That’s why at GEMS Wellington Academy – Silicon Oasis they have a zero approach to bullying of any kind, with everyone being fully committed to ensuring that all the Academy’s students are educated in ways that help to prevent and respond to bullying. In order to ensure that its students are empowered to take action against bullying in all its forms, the Academy celebrates AntiBullying Week every year. This year the theme was ‘All Different, All Equal’ which was inspired by the Anti-Bullying Alliance charity in the UK, and included a dedicated curriculum day with a variety of workshops and activities. There was also a ‘Mix It Up’ day to promote antibullying and celebrate the diversity within the academy’s own multi-cultural community. In a 2017 survey undertaken by the leading international anti-bullying charity ‘Ditch the Label’, research suggested that teenagers face an epidemic of bullying: 43% of respondents said they had been bullied and 32% said they witnessed it several times a week. Although incidents of bullying at GEMS Wellington Academy are very rare, education on specific issues such as the safe use of the Internet, social media and cultural understanding plays a key role in ensuring that incidents are kept to a minimum.


GEMS Wellington Academy – Silicon Oasis

Take learning to new and exciting heights! Learn amazing facts from design to construction, interestingly recreated in a children’s documentary. And don’t forget to say hello to Mr Burj, who will test your knowledge and whisk you through fun adventures with interactive games. For school bookings and inquiries, Call 800 ATTHETOP (288 43 867) or email

Talks About Life... and Being a Penguin ‘Ideas Worth Sharing’ is the slogan for TED, and everyone certainly enjoyed the words and wisdom from the speakers at this year’s GEMS Wellington International School - Dubai TEDx event. The ‘x’ in TEDx stands for ‘independently organised event’ and the whole school is extremely proud of its Year 13 TEDx organisers, who have worked for several months to bring this special evening to fruition. Year 13 Team Leader, Adam Khan-Qureshi, said: “Leading TEDx has developed my perspective on leadership and what it really takes to work as a team. This experience has forged stronger friendships, skills, and lifelong memories, and is one of the highlights and privileges of our Sixth Form year.” Speakers included Primary and Secondary students, teachers, parents, and other guests from the community. One of the youngest speakers, Year 6 student Amna Al Fardan, proclaimed: “It was kind of terrifying waiting backstage, but I loved this opportunity, it was fun… I think the audience enjoyed it too because they laughed during the right parts of my talk!”

Under the theme of ‘PressPlay’, there were talks about the formula for happiness, reinventing the wheel of education, life as a TV episode, compartmentalising the ego, playing out the layers of our character, solo backpacking at aged 17, being a penguin when you grow up…and many more! These talks will be published by TED on their TEDx YouTube Channel, and you can find them by searching TEDxYouth@WIS.

GEMS Wellington International School - Dubai

You Hold the Power to Heal An initiative of Gulf Medical University - Ajman, MASE is the biggest annual inter-school medical and science exhibition in the U.A.E. Aimed at providing a platform for students to display their creative talents, it is also designed to instil in them an interest in medical and science-based careers. Over 42 schools participated in the two-day event, with around 5,000 students involved in various categories. Amongst these were Grade 11 students from Our Own English High School - Sharjah (Girls), who picked up two prestigious awards: Ramsha Khan and Nidhi Paithankar came first in the Project category, whilst Marwah Tonse and Eman Mulla were second in the Poster category. All of the girls received trophies and cash prizes. MASE gave inspiration to all of the school’s students by encouraging them in critical thinking and design thinking, as well as imparting valuable lessons in teamwork and projectbased learning. Overall, it was a wonderful occasion, allowing the students to showcase their skills and discover many new concepts and ideas.


Our Own English High School- Sharjah (Girls)




et into the festive spirit by visiting the Winter Wonderland Village open daily from 13 December 2017 to 7 January 2018 and enjoy roasted chestnuts, gingerbread treats, and a host of other festive delights. There are fun games and an outdoor cinema for the kids, too. We’ve even invited Santa Claus to unwind and feast on his Christmas favorites. Alternatively, why not dine at any of our several restaurants, all hosting festive themed dinners from 20 December all the way to 7 Jan 2018. Visit Frosty’s Chalet at Sports Café, where you’ll find an a la carte festive menu, or Feliz Navidad at Shooters, with tex mex inspired festive dishes served amidst an enchanting setting overlooking the shooting range. After the angels sleep, head to Mushref Bar up on the 7th floor where you can sip on a cocktail or two as the band entertains you with Christmas songs. JA Jebel Ali Golf Resort will take you on several ‘festive trips’, from themed culinary nights at Ibn Majed, over to La Traviata, where you will be transported to Italy to enjoy a traditional Mediterranean celebration. Let’s

not forget La Fontana, where Santa’s sleigh will take guests on a journey around the world with a series of themed culinary nights. On Christmas Eve, an exquisite festive buffet will be served under the stars at Palmito Garden, with a traditional roast turkey and all of the trimmings, plus an extensive array of fresh seafood, mince pies and Christmas puddings. While White Orchid serves it’s very best Asian fusion dishes amidst an enchanting white-themed surrounding. Sleep in, unwrap your gifts then join us for a Christmas Day brunch where you’ll eat, drink and be merry. Our duo brunch at La Fontana and Ibn Majed, will feature delicious festive buffets with live cooking stations and live entertainment. The fun continues to Boxing Day and beyond, with a brunch on 26 December in Sports Café and a Sunset Beach Party at Anchor Bar on December 28 with food stands and a live band. End the year with a bang at the New Year’s Eve Gala Night at 4 Elements Beach Club, transporting you

to the glittering Moulin Rouge, recalling the fashion and style of Paris during the Belle Époque. There will be sensational live entertainment, and of course a dazzling firework display to welcome 2018. Other New Year celebrations are on offer at Ibn Majed, with an international buffet, and at Sports Café, where guests can enjoy an a la carte menu overlooking the marina and the little ones enjoy a special kids’ buffet. On the first day of 2018, get together with your family and friends to set your resolutions over a relaxed brunch in La Fontana with a sumptuous buffet and a special selection of drinks complemented by fantastic tunes played by La Fontana’s very own in-house band. The festivities don’t end at JA Jebel Ali Golf Resort until January 6th, marking the Orthodox Christmas where you can enjoy Russian delicacies at live entertainment at Ibn Majed. For reservations, timings or more information, please call +971 4 814 5604 or e-mail, or visit

Chess the Gymnasium of the Mind Former Austrian chess player Rudolf Spielmann once said: “Play the opening like a book, the middle game like a magician, and the endgame like a machine.” He would therefore have been proud of the 550 students from 46 different schools across the U.A.E. who came together to compete in the CBSE Cluster Chess Tournament, for when many of these young chess masters saw a good move, they looked for a better one. Held within the confines of Our Own English High School – Sharjah (Girls), the tournament highlighted confidence and concentration coupled with critical thinking and strategic planning, with the host school winning the overall championship for the fourth consecutive year. Our Own English High School participated in the Under 11, Under 14, Under 17, and Under 19 categories, with the Under 19 and the Under 17 teams both claiming first place, whilst the Under 11 team achieved a very laudable second place. Their prize for excelling during this fiercely competitive tournament was the opportunity to participate in the CBSE Chess Nationals, held at Sarala Birla Public School, Jharkhand, in eastern India.

Driven by Success Nissan’s Senior Vice President of Global Design, Mr. Alfonso Albaisa, visited GEMS Dubai American Academy as part of the company’s ‘Roots of Design’ campaign, a grass-roots outreach programme that engages high school students from around the world in order to encourage them to pursue careers in the arts, design and creativity. Speaking to students about a possible future career in design, Mr. Albaisa said: “Today, we are at an inflection point for automotive design that is being driven by the emergence of new technologies. Meeting the opportunities of the moment requires not just a new approach to design, but also demands that we look everywhere for the next generation of design talent. After launching this campaign in London, I am proud to make Dubai the first stop in this worldwide effort to engage students, their teachers, and their parents in an ongoing conversation about the creative professions in design that they might not even be aware of. Our ‘Roots of Design’ programme plants seeds for the next generation of designers and artists everywhere.”

Our Own English High School- Sharjah (Girls)

Mr. Albaisa shared the story of his career to a packed auditorium, giving a first-person account of the huge opportunities that a career in design can offer. He provided an overview of the history of automotive design along with Nissan’s ‘Intelligent Mobility’ vision and how it is shaping the company’s design philosophy. He also spoke about the future of the industry, artificial intelligence, and ever-increasing automation. Following the talk, Mr. Albaisa attended a Grade 12 design class where he reviewed work and provided guidance and encouragement to some of the school’s most talented students.

GEMS Dubai American Academy


Grandparents Fill the World with Love GEMS New Millennium School - Al Khail

No-one can do for children what grandparents do. Grandparents sprinkle stardust over the lives of youngsters, making everything a little softer, a little kinder, and a little warmer. Put simply, a grandparent is someone with silver in their hair and gold in their heart. So what better way to celebrate than expressing love, respect and gratitude on ‘The International Day of Older Persons’, with GEMS New Millennium School - Al Khail taking the opportunity to host what turned out to be a rather special ‘Grandparents’ Day’. Principal, Ms. Fatima Martin, welcomed the gathering, followed by a ‘rhythmic welcome’ by Grade 3D students and a folk fusion performance by the girls of the Middle School, which epitomised traditional values, heritage and culture. The little stars of Kindergarten, the ‘apple of their grandparents’ eyes’, deserve a special mention. The various programmes so lovingly performed by them included a rendition of songs by KG2 and a soulful Grandparents’ Day poem written by Naman Verma. The event ended on a high note, with every family walking away with their own sapling from the school’s terrace garden, with the little ones’ handprints on the pot.

Connecting People, Changing the World Global citizenship is a primary characteristic of the 21st century and learning through experience is undoubtedly the most thorough way to appreciate it and get involved. That is certainly true of the students at Our Own English High School – Sharjah (Boys), whose opinions shared through online dialogues on various topics helped the school achieve the Generation Global Silver Award. The award followed the school’s video conference with Lviv Law Gymnasia, Ukraine, on the topic of Wealth, Charity & Poverty. This conference gave the students a fantastic opportunity to connect with the wider world. The aim of the activity was to build a dialogue by speaking and listening to each other. It was an enriching experience for the students as it helped them to understand and discover how different lives, cultures and beliefs function. Always believing in the concept of global citizenship, Generation Global has helped the school to breathe further life into its vision.


Our Own English High School – Sha

rjah (Boys)

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Why Put Off Feeling Good?

GEMS Wellington International Sch

ool – Dubai

At GEMS Wellington International School – Dubai, fitness is not a destination; it is a way of life. That’s why the school’s PE team decided to enrich the curriculum with several new sporting and recreational opportunities. As a result, students now have the chance to experience surfing and stand-up paddle at Sunset Beach, whilst cheerleading is led by the U.A.E. All Stars in the Dance Studio. Students also have the opportunity to develop their netball skills with the Netball Development Club, which targets youngsters who may have missed out on team selection, but are wanting to work on their fitness, skill-set and knowledge of the game. There is also an option for secondary students to train with leading coach Marco from Du Gym. Students who attend this session will have the opportunity to learn the traditional skills of general gymnastics, as well as learn new skills in the art of acrobatic gymnastics. The continued focus on swimming continues to prove very popular too, with eager early morning swimmers getting into the pool from 6:30am. Finally, a bonus ECA is being offered to parents twice a week with yoga in the Dance Studio.

Expand Your Mind, Change Your World

Our Own English High School - Sharjah (Boys)


A team of Grade 12 students from Our Own English High School - Sharjah (Boys), consisting of Madhav, Abhimanyu, and Akhil S, emerged as second runner-up at Brain Sim 2017, one of the biggest interschool competitions in the U.A.E. Organised by the Dubai-based SP Jain School of Global Management, this competition challenges the students’ decision making abilities in a real-time computer simulated business scenario. The simulation task revolved around taking the roles of innovation directors of a sunglass company which, pressurized by market forces, were having to develop ecofriendly products. The challenge was to get the the members of the company to adopt the proposal in the least amount of weeks possible, since every move made to gather support put the directors at risk of losing credibility and time. In order to achieve this, the students demonstrated exceptional innovation, critical thinking, and decision making skills to emerge victorious from a field of 26 schools across U.A.E.

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GEMS Family Magazine Issue 15  
GEMS Family Magazine Issue 15