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IN THIS ISSUE 11 The Mozart of Madras and

1000 girls hit 17.6 million views.

18 Something special at two of our schools.

73 GEMS Education partners up with Canadian University Dubai to offer scholarships.


Anniversaries, Awards and Recognition


he year-long celebration of GEMS Our Own English High School - Dubai’s 50th anniversary is going to be quite something, with a wide array of activities, initiatives and events taking place throughout 2018. The school will celebrate its past successes, rejoice in achievements of the current students and staff, and look confidently towards the next half-a-century and the future leaders being educated there. GEMS Dubai American Academy is also celebrating a very special year. The school turns 20 this year. Today recognised as one of the only “Outstanding” American curriculum schools in the U.A.E., it has many fans out there and we hear from three of them, who share their experiences of this extraordinary school. Another recent celebration saw

Nargish Khambatta, CEO and Principal of GEMS Modern Academy - Dubai, being presented with the inaugural GEMS Exceptional Head of School Award. Celebrating the achievements, hard work and leadership of some of our most respected educationalists, the awards saw several of GEMS Education’s finest heads of schools nominated, and we congratulate them all within the pages of this issue of GEMS Family. There has been success on the sports field too, not least when more than 250 ‘athletes’ gathered at GEMS Wellington Academy - Al Khail for the GEMS Sports Series - GEMS Triathlon. There were people of all ages and abilities competing over what was a sprint course format, which meant that the race was shorter and much more spectator-friendly than other triathlon events in the U.A.E. Oh, and they

all got to the school by 6.00am to run, swim and cycle just for the fun of it. Now that’s dedication! And it is with great pleasure that we reveal that GEMS is now certified to the recognised global standard for health and safety management systems: BS OHSAS 18001:2007. This standard was introduced globally in order to help organisations demonstrate sound occupational health and safety performance. We look at what it means to you as parents and how it relates to your children. As usual, there is a cornucopia of other stories and news items within these pages, and we hope you enjoy reading them. Don’t forget, if you have any GEMSrelated stories, get in touch - we’d love to hear from you!



The GEMS Family Magazine Team GEMS EDUCATION Andy Johnson Benny Thomas Delfin Lardizabal Joel Nerona Melanie Dunn Pablo Arguello Carzar Phil Redhead Reem Hindieh 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



3 Anniversaries, Awards and Recognition COVER STORY 8 Celebrating 50 Years 10 A Lifetime of Service A Family Tradition 11 1000 Girls and the Mozart of Madras 12 Making Your Child’s World Better For 20 Years BRAND CAMPAIGN 15 Every Child is a Genius


LESSONS IN LEADERSHIP 18 Learning Today… Leading Tomorrow 20 Exceptional Head of School Named at Inaugural Awards Ceremony

INNOVATIONS 30 Inspiring Transformation 31 Do Your Best, Beat the Rest 32  Coffee Lids and Rubber Bands Go Global! 34 Empowered by Innovation 35 From Concept to Form  Take your Dereams off the Shelf 36  Transforming the Classroom  The Sky’s the Limit for These Young Adventurers 37 Becoming One with the Virtual World 38 Building Innovation into Every Design More Sustainable Solutions 39 Life in the Fast Lane

STUDENT VOICE 22 A Genius with a Heart 23 Serve it, Win it, Love it A Song in Her Heart 24 A Star in the Making PARENTING 26 Identifying Sporting Genius NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK 28 New Duo Inspired to Impact Lives

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.




40 GEMS Triathlon Sees Hundreds Getting Active Together 41 Young Athletes Make Big Impression at GEMS Netball Cup 42 GEMS Modern Academy - Dubai Do the Double at the GEMS Cricket Cup 44 The Case for Camp 46 Rising Soccer Stars Begin U.S Scholarship Journey 47 Want to Come Second? Follow Krtanja The Magic of the Cup 48 A Footballer’s Journey From the City Seven Athletes, Nine Medals 49 Talking With His Racket, Playing With His Heart 51 Penalty Shootout Decides Final Stand Tall and Play Ball! 53 Everyone’s a Winner! Going the Distance ACADEMY PLUS 54 Recognising Musical Genius

BEYOND THE CLASSROOM 68 Empower Women, Develop the Nation 69 Advice You Can Bank On LIFE AFTER GEMS 71 Because the Action Never Stops FUTURE FOCUSED 73 Booking Your Passage to the Future 74 Future Scientists of the U.A.E. 75 Opening a World of Opportunity Through English GIVING BACK 78 Say Yes to Saving Money 79 Nurture Nature to Save the Environment 80 A Winter Fun Palace 81 Modern Mothers Making a Spectacular Difference Give a Little, Help a Lot IN THE NEWS 82 Latest News from GEMS all Over the World

ACTIVE LIFESTYLE 59 It’s Our World, Take Care of It 61 Wake Up, Shake Up! FAMILY HEALTH 62 What Winter Does To Your Health 63 Why Put Off Feeling Good? Show Your Rare. Show You Care THE ARTS 64 The Yellow Brick Road to Creative Genius We Are the Champions! 65 Bringing Music to Life Dancing Like a Panther 66  The Artwork That Is a Symbol of Peace Art is Where Work Meets Love 67 Chasing the Dream … In Harmony










EMS Our Own English High School - Dubai is celebrating its 50th anniversary by threading activities, initiatives and events throughout the year and across the entire school. This gives the school the chance to celebrate its founding, reflect on its success, revel in the sense of community it has built over the past five decades ... and look forward to the next 50 years.

For this, it is harnessing the energies and loyalty of the whole school community; parents, students, alumni and staff are all pulling together to acknowledge and celebrate this important milestone in the life of the school. You are all part of our past, present, and future. It was with this school that GEMS Education began.








inding good employees is challenging for any business. Even if you manage to find good personnel, retaining them is another challenge. Yet GEMS Our Own English High School - Dubai has managed to attract and retain a very professional and motivated person for over 36 years - Mathukutty Varughese, who is currently a Systems Administrator in the Accounts Department. Mathukutty first joined the school back in 1982 as a Grade 1 teacher,

moving into administration just two years later, at the behest of then Principal Mr Henderson. Since then, he has been performing a number of key roles within the Finance Department. And it’s all gone by so fast, as he explains: “I still remember starting work at the school in 1982, as if it was yesterday. I also recall that we were the first school in Dubai to embrace new technology - and computers were quite expensive in those days!” He also has fond memories of working and interacting with the Varkey family, which was actively involved in the day-to-day running of the school back then. “They knew each and every employee, as well as students of the school. Mrs Mariamma Varkey used to visit the school every single day. They were accessible to one and all. All were treated equally and with warmth and affection” Mathukutty says. The school has moved its location twice during Mathukutty’s time, from its initial location in Bastakiya and Karama to Oud Metha in 1982, and then from Oud Metha to the current location in Al Warqa in 2011. “Moving to the Oud Metha campus was very exciting, and I remember Mr Sunny Varkey himself purchasing all of the furniture. And today, on our state-of-the-art campus in Al Warqa, we still have some of that furniture!” he concludes.



he big day is almost here - your child’s first day at school. But what can they do to prepare themselves for this important milestone in their life? Well, as far a six-year-old Areej Fatima is concerned, it all came down to receiving advice and support from a former student and a current teacher of GEMS Our Own English High School - Dubai ... her mother and grandmother! When Areej walked through the gates of GEMS Our Own English

High School - Dubai on the first day of school last year - she was following in the footsteps of two generations of her own family; Mrs Sidra Rashid, her mother, and now also English teacher at GEMS New Millennium School - Dubai, and her grandmother Mrs Ghazala Dar, who has been an Urdu teacher at GEMS Our Own English High School - Dubai for over 33 years. Areej loves going to school, and enjoys bumping into her grandmother from time-to-time: “I get pleasure from seeing ‘nanno’ in the corridor,” she proclaims happily. “I do bump into my granddaughter at school sometimes,” Ghazala laughs, adding, “now all the children in her class call me nanno (grandma) as well!” Sidra, Areej’s mother, decided to train as an English teacher thanks to the extremely enjoyable time she had at the school back in the late 1980s and early 1990s. So it’s no surprise the Areej headed to GEMS Our Own English High School - Dubai, too. Sidra and Ghazala stated that not only did the family consciously decide to enroll Areej, but she herself chose to attend the school. “When she was four-years-old, I took her to the school for a visit. She instantly told me that that was where she wanted to go to the school,” concludes Sidra.





Over 17.6 million views worldwide!

t has received more than 17 million views: the ‘Maa Tujhe Salaam’ recording by the 1000-strong girls’ choir from GEMS Our Own English High School Dubai not only helped to kick off celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the school, but also gave the young singers the opportunity to perform for the Indian music maestro himself, AR Rahman. And to the delight of everyone, Rahman, an award-winning composer, singer-songwriter, music producer and philanthropist, also known as ‘the Mozart of Madras’, paid a surprise visit while the choir was singing, Maa Tujhe Salaam, one of Rahman’s most popular compositions at Bollywood Parks, Dubai. This wasn’t a question of just turning up and singing though. It took two months of rigorous rehearsals, led by Mr Kevin Oliver, Cultural Director at GEMS Education, before the choir put in a performance that received huge coverage in the media, and social channels globally.



ades 4, 5 and ches.

d excellent phases in ce, DAA, gain ranked s.

Innovative vision and commitment to state-of-the-art development will be displayed as Dubai hosts EXPO 2020.


International Benchmark Assessments

2015 - 2016 DAA’s comprehensive curriculum was noted and commended for its ability to be “…effectively adapted to engage and meet the academic and personal needs of all groups of students. It prepared them well for their life in the 21st century”. This year marked the fifth consecutive outstanding classification by KHDA.

2015 - 2016

2016 - 2017







Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)








Dubai American Academy celebrated its thirteenth graduating class of IB diploma students in 2017. Our internationally-minded, compassionate and reflective learners continued to exceed international benchmarks. The international pass rate in 2016 was 79%, the pass rate achieved by GEMS DAA IB students this year hit 95.8%. Many students exceeded an average score of 40 (out of 45). Alexandra Haines from DAA secured an impressive 44. This year marked the sixth consecutive year that DAA was ranked outstanding by KHDA.

2017 - 2018

2017 - 2018

2017 - 2018

Our biggest move yet! DAA moved into the new Nations Academy campus on Hessa Street and Sheikh Zayed Road. Continuing to offer a highly-distinguished world-class education, our future-focused learning experiences continue to empower students to become the next generation of innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders capable of challenging, influencing and sustaining the world they will inherit.

Our innovation hubs continue to develop by leaps and bounds as we embed our Future-Fluencies in all that we do. Forward thinking and purposeful facilities, along with innovative learning experiences provide our students with growth opportunities beyond measure.

Pepper, our humanoid programmable robots joined our campus this year. DAA, in collaboration with Exponent Technologies and the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority announced that it will be one of two schools in Dubai to officially launch a Drones Education Program for students, the first of its kind in the Middle East.

DAA alumni continue to spread across the globe with a total number of graduates approaching 2,000 since our first graduating class of 2003. 67% of all graduates to date have graduated with the IB Diploma.

KHDA Inspection result






Grade 12 Graduating Students ATES AND DU




EMS Dubai American Academy is also celebrating a537very special school year in 2018 - it is the 20th anniversary of its founding! The school plans to engage students, staff, families and the community through a series of initiatives and events, all designed to commemorate the beginning of what is today one of the only ‘Outstanding’ American curriculum schools in the U.A.E. PISA is taken by a sampling of 15-year-olds (Grade 10) in 72 countries


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Making Your Child’s World Better for



The next PISA will be held in March 2018

Jim Hardin, Head of School, 2014-2017

1998 - 2018

Tammy Murphy, Head of School, 2017-2018

Parents are equally as effusive. Mary Mahfouz, who has children in Grade 6 and KG2, said: “GEMS Dubai American Academy is in my blood. This is the best environment that my kids have ever been in. There is a culture of kindness and they work on character, and there is really a lot

So many people have such wonderful memories of the school, with

of learning with fun, which is such a baseline for the school. I’ve had

Rachel Punter, a teacher at GEMS Dubai American Academy between

the best teachers ever and we are like a family. My kids never complain

2003 and 2007 proclaiming: “I was a High School science teacher

about going to school; they can’t wait to start the day. They are getting

and Diploma Programme chemistry teacher for four years. This was

the right education, right curriculum and the right knowledge that they

at a time when we were building ‘the culture of kindness’ under the

will use their whole life. This is a real community that you will never

sterling leadership of Tony Mock. The science department built a strong

forget wherever you go.”

curriculum that allowed students to achieve their full potential. Staff

We’ll leave the last word to Reine Assaad, President of GEMS Dubai

and students developed connections that are alive and well to this day!

American Academy’s Parents Association, who states simply: “There is

I will always think fondly of my time there, and my continued passion

such a feeling of transparency and real feedback about your kids. You

for international education is due to the excellent inspiration I enjoyed

feel a sense of belonging to the school community and we are proud of

while working at the school.”





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We see genius in every child.

Einstein said, “Every child is born a genius”. We agree. And we believe that a quality educa tion is the key to unlocking the genius in every child.

Every Child is a Genius


n my travels around the world, I’ve seen that while intelligence and ability are equally distributed, access to a quality education is not” says Sunny Varkey, founder and Chairman of GEMS Education. So while it may be true that every child has the potential to be great, few are given the opportunity. This conviction - that quality education is a basic human right and key to unlocking the greatness that lies in every child - is at the heart of the new GEMS Education branding. The branding, which can be seen in a series of print, TV and online adverts, encapsulates the philosophy that our mission as educators at GEMS is to bring out the best in every student.

Education is not about telling young minds what to think. It is an opportunity to teach children how to think in a critical manner. This approach shows us that geniuses are made, not born, and any child can become one. The question is how do we develop these young geniuses, and how do we define genius? The original concept of genius can be found at its root: ‘to give birth’ (related to the word genesis) and ‘to be passionate or happy’ (related to the word genial). Once this is understood, it is easy to see that within each child there is an innate creative spark which, when unleashed, leads them towards success in life. This does not mean that every child can paint like Caravaggio or compose like Mozart. But rather, that every child can

discover their true passions and talents with wonder, curiosity, spontaneity, joie de vivre and enthusiasm being their birthrights. If we want young people to become innovative, pioneering problem solvers, we need to provide them with opportunities to deal with complex challenges. We need to allow them to make use of their natural resourcefulness and imaginative powers, while offering the support that will help them reach a practical solution. And it is this that is at the heart of the GEMS Education philosophy and its commitment to continue to build an inspirational, optimistic, noble and fundamentally good brand; a brand that values education and truly believes that within each individual child is a genius.







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Multi Vitamins for kids is a complete multivitamin and mineral formula. It helps improve absorption of daily nutrients for optimum health and also acts as an antioxidant support. STRAWBERRY PINEAPPLE ORANGE FLAVOR.

The product supports healthy immune system functioning. The components have antibiotic and anti-fungal activity. It helps prevent or relieve cold and flu symptoms and also helps limit the duration and severity of sore throats, and other infections. RASPBERRY FLAVOR.

Vitamin C is an antioxidant support. It helps reduce the effects of celldamaging free radicals in the body and helps support the immune system. ORANGE FLAVOR.

Added Beta-Carotene for powerful antioxidant support. Helps prevent formation of free radicals and reduce histamine levels for allergy control. It improves blood circulation. TANGERINE FLAVOR.

Vitamin D is essential for bone maintenance. Vitamin D helps support the immune system. It also supports absorption of Calcium, Phosphorus, and other important nutrients. PEACH-SOUR CHERRY FLAVOR.

Omega-3 is essential for cardiovascular support. It reduces the risk of coronary heart disease, supports normal, healthy immune function and supports heart, brain, vision & joint health. ORANGE FLAVOR.

GEMS readers, get 20% off on The Gummies Co.! Buy now from using the code GEMS2018 Bacillus coagulans probiotics are great for supporting digestive and gastrointestinal system health. Probiotic Gummies are the probiotic that survives the harsh acidic environment of your stomach. Its a natural probiotic that is better than yogurt at delivering the good bacteria where you need it. STRAWBERRY ORANGE FLAVOR.

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Iodine Supports thyroid function, cell function and maintains skin, nails and hair. Found in seafood, nuts and seeds.

Zinc Supports healthy digestion, cell reproduction and tissue growth. Found in meats, whole grains and beans.




“Ours is an ever-evolving curriculum for an everevolving student. The general concept of our school is ensuring that all children are successful today and prepared for tomorrow,” -Rachel Higgins

umeirah Primary School - Dubai and Jumeirah College

through league tables and exam results. The schools have multi-cultural,

- Dubai are two of our schools who have continued to be

multi-ethnic school populations to whom they offer a well-rounded

rated as outstanding, and our student achievements at

education, leaving them prepared for the ever-changing global world

these schools are testament to this. We take a closer look

they will find themselves in as adults.

at what are some of the practices at these schools to understand what it takes to be ranked “Outstanding.”

PUTTING CHILDREN FIRST At Jumeirah Primary School - Dubai, each child in every curriculum

GEMS Jumeirah Primary School - Dubai and Jumeirah College -

subject area is working towards what they call the‘own it’ stage. This

Dubai are both rated as ‘Outstanding’ by the Knowledge and Human

is the last stage of a tiered way of learning that begins with the ‘do it’

Development Authority (KHDA). Moreover, in 2017, both were named

stage, where the teacher guides a child through a particular process,

in the list of top schools in Dubai by Which School Advisor and

doing it with them. After this, a child reaches the ‘use it’ stage, where

they act on their own but with prompting and supervision. Finally,

Jumeirah College - Dubai was also shortlisted for four British International School Awards, that included highlighting of the exemplary levels of teaching, the senior leadership and pastoral care at

they are able to ‘own it’, meaning that the child can use the skill independently of the teacher and in a different context. The majority of extra-curricular activities at Jumeirah Primary

the school. The list continues with Jumeirah College - Dubai also being

School - Dubai are led by teachers in subjects ranging from chess to

shortlisted by the Times Educational Supplement for International

science and onto a variety of sports. There are also optional classes in

School of the Year.

scores of specialities, such as robotics, languages, music, swimming,

Both are GEMS private schools follow the English National

gymnastics, and dance. Outside of these activities, the school has

Curriculum, and are universally recognised for their history of academic

a wellbeing department with two psychologists on hand to support

excellence and achievements. However, the essence of the education

children’s pastoral needs, as well as to offer parents help and advice.

a child receives at either one of these schools is not quantifiable only


Lateness is not tolerated and neither is a lack of personal care. This also translates into the way students learn, with Caoimhe Sexton, the

the unit includes a Dyslexia Unit, which offers literary support for all

head girl at Jumeriah College - Dubai in 2017/2018, explaining: “The

children with dyslexia and those that show weakness in this area on

way subjects are being taught is different nowadays. It is not just about

their CAT scores. The unit also covers dyscalculia, dyspraxia, autism,

handing over information for regurgitation in an exam, it is about being

attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and many other forms of

able to look at information and contextualise it and then evaluate and

learning difficulties.

analyse it. This way, we are able to train ourselves to be able to take on

“Ours is an ever-evolving curriculum for an ever-evolving student.

new activities and do them independently. As you progress through the

The general concept of our school is ensuring that all children are

school, picking up new skills is quicker and easier and you find yourself

successful today and prepared for tomorrow,” says Rachel Higgins, the

way more equipped for GCSEs and A Levels. Then, you are much better

school’s Principal.

prepared for university.” Jumeriah College - Dubai is certainly not just about ticking boxes,

OPPORTUNITIES FOR LIFELONG LEARNING The most important things that a student should have access to

with Principal Simon O’Connor commenting: “The purpose of education is not solely to get high grades. The purpose of education is to equip

when graduating from secondary school, are choices. They should

students with options so that when they leave school they have a

feel empowered when choosing a career and motivated to make the

foundation of knowledge and a skill set to guide them through the rest

best of their lives, whilst simultaneously feeling unconstrained by the

of their lives.”

expectations of others. The education system at Jumeriah College -

This is supported by an extensive range of extra-curricular activities,

Dubai is geared specifically towards this holistic goal and is underlined

taking in sports, drama, choirs, language clubs, science and maths

by the school vision statement: ‘A vibrant learning community,

organisations, and societies ranging in subjects as far apart as economic

nurturing happy, confident and accomplished students who, through

trading and chess.

a commitment to academic and personal excellence, progress beyond limits’. As soon as a child enters Year 7, they are expected to take responsibility for themselves and a certain level of maturity is required.

And importantly, the student body has direct contact with the school Principal through the student council, passing on suggestions, complaints and possible solutions. This is the kind of mutual respect that fosters mature young adults and allows them to take control of their futures in a world that can otherwise be laced with uncertainty.



In addition, the school is equipped with one of the most advanced inclusion units found in private schools in Dubai. Established in 1997,




lthough the qualities that create distinguished educationalists are not easy to infuse or replicate, understanding these qualities can give all teachers a standard of excellence to strive for. That’s why

everyone was rooted to spot at Burj Al Arab recently when the winner of the inaugural ‘GEMS Exceptional Head of School Awards’

Global Teacher Prize, instituted and managed by the Varkey Foundation

was announced - Nargish Khambatta from GEMS Modern Academy

and supported by GEMS Education; the Mariamma Varkey Awards for

- Dubai.

Inspirational and Outstanding Teaching at GEMS; and the GEMS Teacher of the Month Awards, which take place in all GEMS schools across the

Nominated by peers, and chosen by a judging panel, Nargish was named the winner from within the GEMS network in the UAE, receiving

UAE. This series of awards underline the importance of the teaching

a cash prize of AED273,000. Simon O’Connor, Principal and CEO of

profession and highlights teachers throughout the world who deserve to

Jumeriah College - Dubai was named the runner-up and received a cash

be recognised, respected, rewarded and celebrated.

prize of AED91,000. Honouring the achievements of Heads of Schools (Principals and

Commenting on the ‘Exceptional Head of School Awards’, Sunny Varkey said: “We are proud of all the remarkable leaders that we have

Superintendents) throughout the UAE, the awards focus on those

within our schools, and each one of our Heads of School is a passionate

individuals who are championing success in education, providing high-

and inspirational educationist. We are privileged to be able to celebrate

quality learning opportunities for all of their students. Demonstrating

them through these awards.”

the utmost dedication and commitment, Nargish provided exemplary

The nominated Heads of Schools were evaluated using several

leadership in all facets of running a school, and through her actions,

criteria, including responsiveness to the needs and strengths of

behaviour and attitude has made a significant contribution to the status

students from diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and socio-economic

of the profession.

backgrounds; understanding of the curriculum; and assessment and

The launch of this award is in line with the mission of GEMS Education’s founder, Sunny Varkey, to raise the status of the teaching profession within both the country and the world at large. Indeed, the

reporting requirements, while also demonstrating innovative practices that engage and support all students. Dino Varkey, Chief Executive Officer, GEMS Education concludes: “We

GEMS Exceptional Head of School Awards is the fifth recognition to

at GEMS Education see genius in every child. It is leaders like Nargish

honour teachers instituted by Sunny Varkey. The others are the AED1

and Simon, as well as all the Heads of Schools recognised today, who

million Emirates Innovative Teacher Award, an initiative organised

truly embody this value and make our schools a place where every child

in partnership with the UAE Ministry of Education; the USD1 million

is supported to nurture their individual talents.”


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A Genius with a Heart


t GEMS Eduction, we see genius in every child, and Aritro Chatterjee is just one of the many reasons we take immense pride in our students. Aritro, a year 5 student at Jumeirah Primary School Dubai, is committed to excelling in all areas of life, including mathematics, the arts and humanitarianism.

Of course, every genius still needs a support system. Aritro is no different. “My parents have been the most supportive, especially my Mum’s frequent encouragement. My school Principal, Ms Higgins, Vice Principal, class teacher Ms Sunley and my music teachers have been very supportive. Jumeirah Primary School - Dubai has been a wonderful place to develop my hobbies and strengths.” However, his motivation to participate in KIC came from somewhere

He recently participated in the Kenken International Championship (KIC), a grid-based numerical puzzle that tests one’s logic, mathematical skills, and problem solving abilities. Over 8,500 students from 174

else. “The Grand Prize of a trip to New York was motivating enough! The entire experience felt like an adventure,” he said. Aside from his love for maths, Aritro enjoys reading, exploring,

schools participated in the UAE edition of the KIC. After going through a

listening to music and he even plays the piano and ukulele. Hence, it

series of increasingly difficult elimination rounds, Aritro and six others

is no surprise that he was also a part of Evita The Musical, a Broadway

were selected from the National Competition to travel to New York to

spectacle, which took place in The Dubai Opera earlier this year.

compete against Kenken players from around the world, where they

If this wasn’t enough, he also enjoys charitable events and has done

were divided into three categories (Delta, Kappa and Sigma) based on

a lot of voluntary work to help others. He has taught monk refugees

their age. Aritro went on to winning the International Championship in

before and even composed a poem for Syrian Refugees called “Journey …

his category, Delta.

with a Leap of Faith”, a poem he carries really closely to his heart and is

Aritro told us that he has always enjoyed Maths and therefore, did

a plea to the world powers and citizens to do their part for Syrians. When

not need to take any extra help to prepare for the competition. “I didn’t

asked what he would like to become, Aritro answered, “I keep changing

take any additional classes to prepare for KIC, but I ensured that I

my mind about what I want to become, but if there’s one thing I’m

practiced whenever I had time during the week, between all my other

certain about, it is that I want to be happy and I want to see the people


around me happy.”


it T

alent is having an exceptional aptitude or ability, a natural endowment of a superior quality. And Lia Mosimann, a Grade 8 student from GEMS World Academy - Dubai, is a perfect illustration of a talented young tennis player. She is nationally ranked in the U.A.E., the defending champion in the local league (EAC), and the No.1 seed for the Girls team at her school. “I started playing for just 30 minutes a week when I was five years of age,” says Lia. “This increased to two hours by the time I was eight, and has continued to intensify ever since. I did many activities when I was younger, including football, swimming, karate, and I enjoyed them all … but it was tennis that I really loved.” Lia now trains five days a week, with each training session lasting two to three hours, so it can be a bit of a challenge to keep up with all of her academic studies, as she explains: “It is difficult. When I have a lot of homework, I train in the morning before school and I use the evenings to study. However, most days I study for about an hour after my evening training.” When it comes to match days, Lia looks for her inspiration from such all-time greats as Serena Williams and Roger Federer. “They’ve played for so long and they are still the best; it has taken many years of hard work and dedication. I also gain inspiration from my parents, who have been my biggest supporters throughout my journey.” Moreover, like Williams and Federer, Lia has her own regime before a match commences: “I love singing and music in general, so I listen to music to calm my nerves, as well as to stretch and warm up.” Also enjoying football and basketball in her spare time, Lia undoubtedly has one eye on the future every time she steps out onto the court: “Yes, I would like to be a professional tennis player,” she concludes earnestly.


Serve Win Love

A Song in Her Heart


hild prodigies have been astounding us with their rare talent for centuries, but the phenomenon is by no means confined to the past. If anything, recent years have witnessed a growing number of children showing off their musical abilities, and Meenakshi Jayakumar, a Grade 9 student at GEMS Millennium School - Sharjah, has a gift that is certainly out of the ordinary. Meenakshi was first introduced to Carnatic music by her mother,

Dr Rekha. She has since continued her studies for the past six years with Mrs Divya Vimal, a renowned music teacher in Abu Dhabi. During this time she has participated in various youth festivals, and on three separate occasions has been Group Winner by scoring high in Carnatic Music, Light Music, Film Song, Mappilappattu, Nadanpattu and Kavita Parayanam categories. Moreover, Meenakshi has had the privilege of sharing the stage with many renowned singers in the film and music industries, taking part in stage shows all over the U.A.E., Bahrain and Kuwait. She was also the winner of the prestigious Arabic reality TV show Munshid Sharjah, and was presented with her title by H.H. Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah. “It was such a proud moment when I received the award,” said Meenakshi. Her sweet and clear diction and wide vocal range mesmerised viewers from around the world, as well as the judges, including celebrity singers Ahmed Al Mansoori, Abdullah Al Shehhi and Ala Naqbi. Having won the ‘Best Female Singer’ award in the ZEE TV Symphony Rangoli Gulf, 2017, in addition to being a finalist in both Asianet Radio Music Drive and Radio Asia Sky Star Junior Season 2, Meenakshi has a bright future ahead of her in the music world. However, determined to keep her feet firmly on the ground, she will also be pursuing a career outside of music … although freely admits that she wants to win more awards and become a known and respected musician. And there is no more noble a calling, for as Greek philosopher Plato explained: “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.”


STUDENT VOICE Nicole Dietrich on stage with Kris Fade and Kelli-Leigh

A Star in the Making

“I started taking piano lessons with my brothers at the age of four and switched over to guitar later. At 11 years old, I composed my first ever song. I’ve composed five songs since then. I’ve even taught myself how to play the ukulele!” -Nicole Dietrich


his year, Virgin Radio gave students the opportunity of a lifetime with its RedFestDXB School Star contest! Young musicians from all over the country submitted 60-second (solo, duo or band) performances featuring them and were judged by the team at Virgin Radio. And what was the prize for the winner? The chance to perform at RedFestDXB 2018 with some of the world’s greatest superstars and a visit from Kris Fade and KelliLeigh to the winner’s school! Fortunately for Dubai American Academy students, Nicole Dietrich’s performance was selected as the best.

Follow Nicole on Social Media: @Nicoledsings

Nicole Dietrich

at the age of four and switched over to guitar later. At 11 years old, I composed my first ever song. I’ve composed five songs since then. I’ve even taught myself how to play the ukulele!” Nicole was thrilled when she found out that she would be performing at RedFestDXB 2018 and started practicing immediately. “I felt so proud of myself because I put so much work into my music and to see it paying off was amazing!” She chose to perform two of her original compositions along with a short a-cappella version of “Who’s Lovin’ You?” by The Jackson 5. Nicole was overjoyed by the crowd’s reaction to her songs, but the most exciting part for her was sharing the same stage as her role model, Kesha. “To be able to perform on the same stage as Kesha was just insane!”

Nicole Dietrich, a student at Dubai American Academy, is an

Nicole intends to embrace music as a full-time career and with the

aspiring young musician. “My parents say that I started singing before I

on-going love and support from her friends, family and school; there is

could talk,” says Nicole. “I started taking piano lessons with my brothers

no doubt that we’ll be hearing more from her.



Identifying Sporting Genius


reat parents are those who go the extra mile to bring out the best in their child, and helping to nurture their talents through extra-curricular activities is one way of doing this.

Elaine Cooper is one parent, who has stood by her 11-year old son,

Sean Cooper from Jumeirah Primary School - Dubai, throughout his on-going journey as an aspiring golfer. Sean’s younger brother, Ruairi, is also on the road to becoming a professional golfer. The brothers have participated in several international tournaments, such as the European Championships in Scotland where Sean won 3rd, 5th and 4th place in three consecutive years (2015-2017, respectively). We spoke to Elaine to find out more about her role in Sean’s achievements. GFM: How do you keep a child so young motivated before/ during/ GFM: As a parent, what signs did you have to look out for to acknowledge your son’s talent? Elaine: We realised his passion for golf around the age of two. He

after a tournament? Elaine: Before a tournament, the boys will watch YouTube videos of their favourite golfers for inspiration; during, the boys use Yoga

mimicked the professionals on television and even watched highlights

techniques to keep calm/maintain focus and after, we enjoy discussing

on the news for major PGA events! Being so young, it was difficult to

each round and where they can improve.

get anyone to assess Sean. However, as a parent, I think you need to go with your instinct.

GFM: How have you ensured that Sean maintains a balance between education and golf? How has the school supported his

GFM: How have you as a family nurtured his talent? Elaine: We have tried to give him every opportunity we can, to play

growth? Elaine: The demands of school life can put a lot of pressure on a

golf. Being so young, he isn’t allowed to drive a golf buggy so he always

budding sportsman like Sean. Luckily, we have a great relationship

needs a parent with him. He participates in international competitions

with Jumeirah Primary School - Dubai and the PE Dept.; we work

as well, so we plan all our holidays around golf tournaments.

positively alongside each other to support Sean in his achievements inside and outside of school. Ruth Brown, the Head of PE at Jumeirah

GFM: How do you prepare him before a game?

Primary School - Dubai, in particular has been a great support and

Elaine: Sean knows his own game very well now, so after a practice

inspiration to our boys.

round, he knows which holes need a little work. As parents, we ensure he eats a good solid carb rich meal the night before, gets a minimum of ten hours sleep before a tournament and a protein rich breakfast, along with bananas, cereal bars and water in his golf bag to keep him going throughout the day.


GFM: What advice would you give other parents with children who play sports? Elaine: Allow your children to dream BIG! Ensure that they are encouraged to play as many kinds of sports as possible.




s GEMS schools continue their journey to achieving beyond outstanding, we are also ensuring that we find the very best educators to support them. Two new Vice Presidents of Education will be joining the Education team. Brendan Grant Law and Peter John Derby-Crook, both education veterans, will bring added value to GEMS Education’s student and

Peter brings to the table 30 years of experience as Principal and CEO, having worked with the Tanglin Trust in Singapore where he led three schools. Peter has also held leadership roles at schools in Jakarta, Tokyo, Oman and the U.A.E., and will bring a wealth of experience in British and IB curriculum and accreditation. Furthermore, as an accomplished speaker and motivator, Peter has presented TEDx talks, was named ‘Most Inspirational Business Leader 2017’ by CEO Monthly, and is also a member of the World IB Heads’ Council.

teaching community, with the pair having a fantastic track record of past performance managing premium schools in the U.A.E., U.K. and Singapore. Sir Christopher Stone, Chief Education Officer, GEMS Education, said: “Brendan and Peter will play a crucial role in driving the further development of our British and IB curriculum schools. With their extensive experience, proven leadership abilities and track record of establishing highly successful educational communities, we look forward to their contribution to the GEMS Education network in order to create a brilliant future for our students, teachers and staff.” Brendan, listed as a ‘U.A.E. Education Influencer 2017’ by Which School Advisor, counsels numerous government agencies, including the Crown Prince Court, and has played a leading role in the development of the U.A.E. Moral Education Programme. As a strategic education leader with a proven history in first class schools, Brendan has led two educational institutions in Abu Dhabi prior to joining GEMS Education.

Peter John Derby-Crook

Brendan Grant Law



FOR FUN, JUST ADD WATER The region’s first man-made Whitewater Rafting, Kayaking and Surfing facility, found in the foothills of the imposing Jebel Hafeet in Al Ain, Wadi Adventure offers an array of exhilarating, fun and challenging experiences that can’t be found at any other waterpark in the U.A.E.


ith state-of-the-art wave pool technology, for instance, waves can be created for every level of surfer from small rolling waves for beginners through to over three-metre lefts, rights, A-frames and close-outs. What’s more, experienced instructors are always on-hand to guide thrill-seekers to the next level! Absolutely no experience is required to go Whitewater Rafting either, with three separate levels of rapids available, whilst Kayaking offers everyone from rookies through to those training for the Olympics plenty to keep them challenged, including the longest combined artificial whitewater channels in the world.

Then there is the Airpark which, with two levels, provides 18 different obstacles/elements, plus a -200metre long Zip Line ... sure to keep everyone entertained all day. Meanwhile, the Giant Swing accelerates at 60 kilometres per hour right through the middle of the two-storey Airpark, whilst Adventure Island, a floating inflatable obstacle course, has 21 obstacles that provide entertaining, yet often testing, activities for both adults and kids. In fact, the fun never ends at Wadi Adventure, with the-13metre high Climbing Wall, Wake Boarding thrills, and the perennially popular Ducky making this a day out you will never want to end!


Asha Sanjay

School Engagement Lead - Digital Transformation from the GEMS Innovation, Research and Development team

Inspiring Transformation


t was a cool and bright Saturday morning and the magnificent Blended Learning Plaza at GEMS Wellington Academy - Silicon Oasis was buzzing with teacher trainees as they moved from one session to another filled with curiosity and purposefulness. The event was TELLAL’s ‘Teach Best’ conference, organised to give the teacher trainees an opportunity to experience the power of collaborative and peer-led learning in action.

Fusion, especially for personalised learning and how one could use it in conjunction with Mark Books to capture and share data easily. He led the teachers through the student experience as well and emphasised the continuous online interaction between the teacher and students. Bala Sadasivan (Academic Supervisor, The Millennium School Dubai) concluded the session by unleashing the power of the Forums tool within Fusion. She demonstrated how she and her colleagues use Forums extensively to run surveys, collect feedback from parents and students, and to create self-marking quizzes. “Data can be seamlessly

TELLAL approached Asha Sanjay, the School Engagement Lead - Digital Transformation from the GEMS Innovation, Research and Development team, to facilitate one of the sessions around the GEMS

captured within the Mark Book, customised to our needs” said Ms Sadasivan. She captured the teacher trainees’ feedback using Forums within

Digital Ecosystem. “I invited some of our digital ‘super-users’ across

Fusion to demonstrate how this function has encouraged conversations

schools to share their expertise and they readily accepted!” explains

around topics in class and captures the thoughts of the reticent student

Asha. “Their brief was to share their experience with the digital

as well. “At GEMS, each day is a part of our learning journey,” she

ecosystem and the workflows they designed within it to maximise

continued. “Training for the TELLAL Teach Best conference gave me an

student engagement and learning. The focus for this session was on

opportunity not only to share my best practices with young aspiring

Fusion-My learning.”

teachers, but also to enhance my own skills through interaction with

The sessions began with Luke McHale (Secondary Lead for Fusion at GEMS FirstPoint School - The Villa) demonstrating the impact of

other trainers.” “It was quite an interactive session, as playing around with the guest

turning learning spaces into websites designed to engage and interact,

teacher login helped in gauging the actual capabilities of Fusion and

whilst leveraging existing tools to create independent pathways for his

how we could use it to improve student learning. Such expressions are

students to work at their own pace.

an indicator of how the impact peer-led sessions inspire adoption of

He was followed by Matt James, (English teacher and KS2/KS3

education technology best practices across the groups. On the other

coordinator at GEMS Wellington Academy -Silicon Oasis) who shared

side, it was fantastic to see how the three teachers responded to this

best practices using the feature rich Home Learning tool in GEMS

experience,” concluded Asha.



“RIT is an establishment of academic excellence and prominence. It was an honour to succeed on that scale, and we look forward to further competitions that can challenge us further.” -MIHIR NIMGADE

Do Your Best, Beat the Rest!


n a mission to be the best, Cambridge International School - Dubai sent teams of some incredibly bright students to participate in two intense competitions and emerged victorious in both of them. The Shams Dubai Solar Rollers competition for high school students was held with the purpose to encourage students to design, build, test,

The school also sent three teams to participate in The Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) Engineering Competition, which attracted 250 students from across the U.A.E., with each and every one of them committed to tackling the most challenging concepts and theories from the world of mathematics and physics. The Cambridge International School - Dubai sent three teams to participate in each aspect of this annual competition, and emerged victorious in mathematics. The competition took place on the RIT Dubai campus and featured

and race solar-powered and remote-controlled cars. The team from

three different areas of expertise: mathematics, robotics, and

Cambridge International School - Dubai took up the challenge with

mechanical engineering. The maths competition was incredibly hard

commitment, determination, and no little ingenuity.

and involved looking at the most miniscule details from differential and

They first looked at a device that could concentrate light onto the cells, before mapping out the design of the car using AutoCAD. Then, having secured a connection with NSV Automotive, the team

integral calculus right the way through to advanced trigonometry and mensuration. One of the school’s winning students, Mihir Nimgade, commented:

worked in the company’s superbly equipped workshop to finalise the

“RIT is an establishment of academic excellence and prominence. It

implementation. During this phase, for instance, a laser CIM cutter was

was an honour to succeed on that scale, and we look forward to further

used to cut out the design from a semi-brittle carbon fibre slab.

competitions that can challenge us further.”

After many programming, painting, tuning, and design-

Fellow student Syed Waleed Adnan also enjoying the competition,

implementation changes, the team ended up with a car from the future,

saying: “It was pretty cool working with my teammates, as we tried to

with a top speed of 55 km/h and an input voltage of only 6.5 volts.

finish every question in the paper within the timeline. However, as all

Everyone was extremely satisfied with the end result, from the strength

learning opportunities are, this one was really lovely, and opened me up

from the side-rails to the speed of the 8000rpm motor. Two weeks were

to many new perspectives.”

then spent gaining familiarisation with the controller and getting a feel for the motion of the car. On the day of the race, the Cambridge International School - Dubai team excelled, with a combination of speed and agility helping it to win

But while winning and receiving awards was wonderful, the participants from both competitions agree that the journey of learning, the midrace panic, and the adrenaline were simply priceless - these experiences will live in their hearts and minds forever.

six trophies, a solar-powered bank (for each member), and a cash prize of AED10,000.



Coffee Lids and Rubber Bands Go Global!


ive Grade 10 students from Bradenton Preparatory Academy - Dubai have been selected as high school global finalists for this year’s DECA Idea Challenge. There were over 2000 submissions from different schools all around the world, with Bradenton Preparatory Academy - Dubai being the only school representing the Middle East.

“My favourite part of this challenge was producing the video to market our product. I was a bit nervous getting in front of the camera, but it was a lot of fun.” -Inga Jodziewicz

an opportunity for us to design a product that helps the environment, with the goal to better people’s lives. I was really surprised to learn we are finalists, but happy as we worked very hard to come up with our product.” Inga was equally as enthusiastic, proclaiming: “My favourite part of this challenge was producing the video to market our product. I was a bit nervous getting in front of the camera, but it was a lot of fun.” Inga explained that she would like to be a manager someday, and this

The students selected were Sierrah Augustin, Natalie Fahmi, Sarah Muller, Inga Jodziewicz, and Lauren Prey. They worked collaboratively as a team to create an innovative product from a commonplace item in

experience was valuable as it taught her how to work collaboratively with others within the confines of tight deadlines. “Through this experience, I realised there are many people without

just eight days, including pitching the idea in a three-minute video for a

basic resources and there are many ways we can help them,” Sarah said,

panel of judges to review.

summing up everyone’s thoughts. “No matter where you are, there are

This quintet of innovators invented a water filter using rubber bands and coffee lids, with Natalie commenting: “This challenge was


always ways to help people.”




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Empowered by Innovation



nspired by the first ever U.N. Women Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship Industry Forum, which was held in New York in September of last year, SAP (Systems, Application Process) and GEMS Modern Academy - Dubai joined forces to bring the ‘She Innovates’ movement to Dubai.

coding using SNAP. Students were also given a challenge to produce a piece of animated art linked to U.N. Global Goals. What the girls achieved in their first attempt of coding with SNAP was phenomenal and has inspired them to continue coding. The girls from Al Khaleej National School - Dubai, won the challenge. Nargish Khambatta, Principal at GEMS Modem Academy - Dubai, said: “I have always believed that girls in the field of innovation and

Introduced to the Middle East by GEMS Education and SAP Next-

technology can make a huge difference in the perspective from which

Gen, the first ever She Innovates event was organised to bring together

the problem is being looked at and help the team achieve better results.

women industry leaders and independent entrepreneurs. More than

She Innovates is a medium to drive more girls to get inspired to join this

270 school students from Grades 9 to 12 were inspired by corporate

field. We are delighted to have partnered with SAP Next-Gen and the

leaders and academics from SAP, Expo 2020, GEMS Education, Womena,

SAP Young Thinkers programme and are hopeful that more institutions

American University of Beirut, General Electric, and McKinsey & Co, who

around the world will join the movement”.

shared their challenges while making a name in the male dominated

SAP’s Wissam Kadi, Regional Director of SAP Next-Gen in Southern Europe, the Middle East and Africa, who applauded GEMS Modern

fields of innovation and technology. In her powerful inspirational speech, the keynote speaker, Dr

Academy - Dubai and all the participating organisations for their efforts

Maryam Matar, Founder and Chairperson of U.A.E. Genetic Diseases

into women empowerment, also attended the event. “SAP is always

Association, highlighted the reasons why more women need to join the

excited to partner with our extensive ecosystem, including GEMS Modern

innovation and technology movement for the betterment of the human

Academy - Dubai, on various youth and innovation initiatives that


address the United Nations Sustainable Goals, and notably Goal No.5

As part of the event, the teachers of GEMS Modern Academy - Dubai

that calls for gender equality,” he concluded.

conducted an introductory session for the students to learn block-based

“SAP is always excited to partner with our extensive ecosystem, including GEMS Modern Academy - Dubai, on various youth and innovation initiatives that address the United Nations Sustainable Goals, and notably Goal No.5 that calls for gender equality,” -WISSAM KADI




From Concept to Form he World 3D Printing Olympiad, organised by ATLAB, encouraged young people in and around the UAE to design a new commercial product and then transform their ideas into reality,

becoming an active innovator rather than a passive consumer. More than 150 entries were received from various schools across the UAE, with 50 projects being selected for the final round. And of the 22 teams that registered for the first round, only 14 (roughly 70% of the total entries) made it to the finals, which saw GEMS Millennium School - Sharjah continuing their winning streak, scooping up some of the top prizes on offer. The entries were judged on the basis of design, an interview with a panel of judges, and an ‘on the spot’ challenge. The GEMS Millennium School - Sharjah students’ designs and demonstrations were unrivalled and won accolades from both the judges and the many visitors. Rishabh Java (Grade 10) picked up First Prize in the High School Category, Arqk Maheshwary (Grade 8) was presented with First Prize in the Middle School Category, and Mumukshya Baitharu (Grade 8) was awarded Second Prize in the Primary School Category. Rishabh Java stood first on the podium for the second consecutive year, with his working model of a 3D printed ‘Humanoid Junior’, complete with a head and torso. Ark Maheshwary presented a battery dispenser with a charger, while Mumukshya Baitharu designed an innovative chessboard with the pieces inspired by the celebrated and historic towers of the UAE!

Take Your Dreams off the Shelf


he Our Own English High School - Sharjah (Boys) e-Library is the brainchild of eight of its brightest and hugely talented, tech savvy Grade 12 students. Launched by the school’s Principal Mr Srivalsan

Murugan, it is quiet simply an e-revolution, which will change everyone’s perception of a library and how it is used. Any tech-advancement that is accessible to all, with an essence of competitiveness, always resonates well with students in this age of digital technology, so the e-Library’s unveiling has, as expected, been extremely popular. The e-Library is a digital initiative which, apart from helping students read more, gives them a platform to discuss and explore, which in the normal course of events would have been very conventional. The website has several notable features, including an e-Library store that allows students to place orders for books available in the school library, which will be delivered to them later. There is also a ‘Book Reviews’ section where students can read and post reviews on books they have read, as well as a leader board and points system that incentivises young people to read as many books as possible, instilling a sense of healthy competitive spirit among students. This digital school library is the first of its kind; an entire e-Library website, put together and run by students, thereby exemplifying the vision of Our Own English High School - Sharjah (Boys). The eight core members, whose hard work, passion and patience made sure this digital venture see the light of the day, are Fateen Ahmed, Abhishek Pratap Singh, Eric BrianAnil, Hitarth Chudgar, Ivan Thomas, Joel John, Abaid Isaac Ninan, and Safwan Hosain.



Transforming the Classroom


EMS Education is committed to providing its students with a high quality learning experience and, with this in mind, recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with global technology leader Microsoft. The MoU is focused on digital transformation in the classroom and improving outcomes for students, based on Microsoft’s own Educational Transformation Framework. This digital transformation, fuelled by the rise of educational technology, has seen teachers make sweeping changes to their teaching methods, assessments, and even the physical make-up of their classrooMs And these trends are making headlines in the education world thanks to the way in which they are positively impacting student learning. Mick Gernon, Senior Vice-President and Global Head of Innovation, GEMS Education, said: “We are confident that what GEMS Education and Microsoft achieve together, as part of this agreement, will produce in our students the skills and digital fluency needed to face the multi-faceted challenges emerging in the world today, and more importantly, those of tomorrow.” “Microsoft is committed to helping every individual and organisation on the planet to achieve more,” said Sayed Hashish, Regional General Manager, Microsoft Gulf. “When it comes to students and educators, we understand that technology is merely the means to an end. But digital transformation can inspire and engage students, while empowering teachers to bring lessons to life like never before. GEMS’ excellence in innovation and digital learning is a matter of record; and now, with this agreement, our partnership will go one step further in making learning truly digitally collaborative and future focused.” The MoU will support GEMS Education in evaluating the adoption

The Sky’s the Limit for These Young Adventurers


ith a view to encouraging a keen interest in astronomy and science, students from The Kindergarten Starters - Dubai were given the opportunity to participate in the 5th International Astronomy and Science Olympiad (NASO), a flagship programme that is organised in 13 countries by Navars Edutech and supported by Orion Education.

of the unprecedented new capabilities of AI in the classroom, providing a platform for promoting creativity, collaboration and problem-solving activities.

NASO is an increasingly popular concept among the younger generation; a unique and innovative platform that also serves as an opportunity for students by providing them with exposure to space science and a chance to visit the NASA Space Centre. And there is no doubt that it has inspired the youngsters from The Kindergarten Starters - Dubai to dream bigger and channel their interests in this fascinating field of endeavour. A total of 68 students from Grades 2 to 5 participated in Level 1 of the School Round Exam. The results of the Level 1 Round have been declared and The Kindergarten Starters - Dubai students have performed exceptionally well, with 47 children winning Gold Medals and Merit Certificates, as well as cash-back coupons. Furthermore, six students from Grade 5 have qualified to participate in the National Round, which is an online exam.




Becoming One with the Virtual World henever we look at art, we usually get to view it in the context of its surroundings; the Sagrada Família in Barcelona or the statue of David in Florence are excellent cases-in-point. As technology evolves, though, the applications for art have also

evolved, and it is the responsibility of educators to prepare students for the virtual, as well as real, worlds that they already live in. One of the future skills that may be required by our students is how they interact and create in an immersive virtual environment. At the Terra Vista 2018, an annual inter-school art competition, ‘Virtual Reality Art’ was introduced at GEMS Modern Academy - Dubai, with artist Pooja Suresh Menon enthralling the audience with live art in a virtual space using HTC Vive platform loaded with Google TiltBrush. “I went onto the stage, put on my headset on, and let the music in the background guide me,” says Pooja. “All my nerves vanished as I began drawing strokes that gradually became the Dubai skyline. I was so immersed, and as I drew through the air I became one with the virtual world! It was an exhilarating experience - coming into contact with an environment without limits was truly mind-blowing!” At GEMS Modern Academy - Dubai they believe that virtual reality has the potential to be a game changer for education, and its integration is already taking place within core subjects.

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Building Innovation into Every Design


he Cambridge High School - Abu Dhabi and White Aluminum Company recently got together to launch an internship course that allowed students to venture into the world of engineering. A total of 15 students took advantage of this opportunity, with each becoming involved in the company’s day-to-day operations.

The students who participated in the internship programme were awarded with an internship certificate, and all of them gave positive feedback on the experience, not only about the engineering industry, but also the passion and hard work of the company’s personnel.

A number of the students got the chance to work with the firm’s IT professionals in order to learn more about networking. This gave them practical exposure and knowledge on how to work with various network components. The students were trained in Sketcher Design, Part and Component Design, and 3D Assembly Design and Modelling, enabling them to draft 2D and 3D industrial drawing components.

More Sustainable Solutions


ithout change there is no innovation, creativity, or incentive for improvement. Those who initiate change will have a better opportunity to manage the change that is inevitable,” advised 20th century physicist William Pollard. Two students from GEMS United Indian School - Abu Dhabi certainly took that advice on-board when they took part in ‘Innovator 2018’ at Abu Dhabi Corniche. The event, organised by the Department of Education and Knowledge

(ADEK), brought together individual innovators, academic institutions, government entities and private sector entrepreneurs, all of whom are contributing to the fulfilment of the U.A.E.’s innovation strategy. Grade 5 student Sainath Manikandan showcased his ‘M-Bot Cleaner (Marine Robot Cleaner)’, a device that can remove waste from seas and oceans and provide vital protection to marine habitats. This innovation project is a prototype robot in the shape of a boat and floats with the aid of recycled water bottles. The second of the school’s young innovators, Mohamed Faizan Tabassum of Grade 9, presented a ‘Sustainable Automated Irrigation System’. This fully automated system extracts water from water vapour,


which can then be used to irrigate plants. A soil moisture sensor detects moisture content in the soil and triggers the system if water is required, or shuts it down when a sufficient amount of water is received. Both of these innovative projects were driven by the need for sustainable development and conservation of resources, with the focus firmly on using technologies for the benefit of mankind.


Life in the Fast Lane


1 in Schools is one of the biggest and most prestigious

for in the G7/8 Professional Category Neon Racing Team achieving

Design/STEM competitions in the world, so it is some

third place overall, whilst the school’s rookie team, Torpedo Racing, also

feat that the Blue Comet Racing Team from GEMS World

performed admirably, although on this occasion didn’t come away with

Academy - Dubai has qualified to represent the U.A.E. at

a prize.

this year’s F1 Grand Prix in Singapore! This is an incredible achievement for these supremely talented

For those that don’t know, the competition is based around students creating a model F1 team and building a small car to race on a 20m track. Students are required to create a brand, find real sponsors and

youngsters, who also won the ‘Best Verbal Presentation’ and ‘Fastest Car’

develop their team and design to rigorous specifications and strict rules

prizes. The team comprises Rishiraj Maiti (Team Manager), Kyle Daniel

- just like a real F1 team.

Roberts, Yuliy Perlin, Varun Barke, and Emanuelle Borlandelli. Teams

The success of the students from GEMS World Academy - Dubai

from all over the world will be competing in Singapore and the event will

means that they will now be rubbing shoulders with the likes of

be televised and include big name sponsors, opening many doors for

Lewis Hamilton and Sebastien Vettel at the World Finals. That’s one

aspiring engineers.

lucky team. Although, in reality, luck is simply what happens when

Success for GEMS World Academy - Dubai didn’t end there though,

preparation meets opportunity!




GEMS Triathlon Sees Hundreds Getting Active Together


n a typical day you wouldn’t normally see more than 250 people gathered together at a school, a little past 6.00am on a weekend morning. But this was the GEMS Triathlon, where ‘athletes’ of all ages and abilities come together to compete in the most engaging event in the GEMS Sport Series calendar!



FOOTBALL CUP In its fourth year, the popular GEMS Triathlon, saw participants from TH & 6TH DECEMBER 2017 the ages of five through 5to 65+ take part, including everyone from first


timers to regular runners. STUDENTS: 300+ TOUCHthrough RUGBY CUP

With multiple awards handed out to the winners of the categories, 16TH JANUARY 2018

nobody went home empty all participants GEMShanded, WELLINGTONwith ACADEMY, SILICON OASIS crossing STUDENTS: 400+ NETBALL CUP the finish line receiving a GEMS Triathlon medal, whilst age category winners received trophies. In total, JANUARY - APRILover 2018 300+ medals and 45 winners GEMS MODERN ACADEMY &

Sports Management) and powered by Technical Partner, Hopasports,

trophies were awarded toGEMSparticipants. WELLINGTON ACADEMY, AL KHAIL STUDENTS: 500+ CRICKET CUP “I really enjoyed taking part in the run; this was my first time and

and hosted by GEMS Wellington Academy - Al Khail, the GEMS Triathlon

I would definitely love to2NDdo it again. FEBRUARY 2018I am trying to bring this active

Organised by UAE’s leading sports services provider - ESM (East

followed a sprint course format, for a much more spectator friendly triathlon when compared to other events in the region. Participants swam 400m in the pool, cycled a short course (distance depended on

GEMS WELLINGTON ACADEMY, AL KHAIL lifestyle into our household and this was a very good beginning,” said STUDENTS: 500+ TRIATHLON Shilpa, a mother who ran along with her husband and their two children. TH & 27TH FEBRUARY 2018 Sergei, a GEMS parent26who came to support his son, commented: “The


age), and finally put on their running shoes to race to the finish line in

staff and parents are1000+ so welcoming, and it is amazing how STUDENTS: ATHLETICS CUP from GEMS

front of hundreds of cheering supporters.

many people have come out to support this race. It makes it a unique 7TH, 14TH & 21ST MARCH 2018

experience to compete such anSTADIUM event.” DUBAI DUTYinFREE TENNIS T E N N I SAnd C U Pit all tookSTUDENTS: place in250+ an atmosphere of fun and sportsmanship too, with one competitor heard to say at the end 18TH & 19TH APRIL 2018

COMPLEX world domination would be of the race: “If itHAMDAN wasn’tSPORTS for cycling, STUDENTS: 750+ S W I Mwithin C U P my grasp!”

James Bowring, at ESM, said: “The number APRIL, 2ND, 7TH &Director 9TH MAY 2018 30THManaging

AMERICAN ACADEMY of participants isDUBAI great to see, especially as so many are STUDENTS: 300+ BADMINTON CUP running together in teams of all ages. For the past four years, 20TH JUNE 19TH &how we have witnessed this2018 event has grown into one of the DUBAI AMERICAN ACADEMY

key active and community events in Dubai. The ESM and STUDENTS: 500+ BASKETBALL CUP family Hopasports teams work night and day to deliver this event each year and we are delighted to see how much everyone enjoys it.”

“The number of participants is great to see, especially as so many are running together in teams of all ages.” -James Bowring



Young Athletes Make Big Impression at GEMS Netball Cup


here was no shortage of talent at the 2nd GEMS Netball Cup, as top GEMS schools across the U.A.E. battled for glory in Dubai. More than 300 athletes from 14 schools flocked to GEMS Wellington Academy - Silicon Oasis for the second annual competition, and unsurprisingly there were some exceptional individual and team performances across the U10, U12, U14 and U16 categories.

However, the best final of the day had to be the U12 category, where GEMS World Academy - Dubai took on GEMS Wellington International School - Dubai and, in an 11 goal thriller, won the final 6-5 in the last few seconds. This is their first GEMS Netball Championship. The event was organised by ESM (East Sports Management), while RU Active Netball were the technical partners of the GEMS Netball Cup. James Bowring, Managing Director at ESM, was extremely happy about the competition levels in the tournament. “It was great to see so many schools and children involved this year, and we look forward to making

Hosts GEMS Wellington Academy - Silicon Oasis were coming into this tournament with a lot of confidence, as they were last year’s U14

the GEMS Netball Cup a signature event on the U.A.E. schools sports calendar.”

and U16 champions. GEMS Jumeirah Primary School - Dubai were also boosted by recent success, as they looked to retain their U10 and U12 titles. However, with the competition being much stronger than last year, two new champions were crowned in two categories. In the U10 final, GEMS Jumeirah Primary School - Dubai carried their dominant form forward from the group stages and successfully managed to retain their champion status. The story was the same with GEMS Wellington Academy- Silicon Oasis, which put in a dominating performance and beat GEMS Cambridge International School - Abu Dhabi 4-2 to retain their U16 title. The story was different in the U14 final, where GEMS Wellington International School - Dubai beat defending champions GEMS Wellington Academy - Silicon Oasis to be crowned U14 GEMS Netball Champions.



GEMS Modern Academy- Dubai Do the Double at the GEMS Cricket Cup


EMS Modern Academy - Dubai’s U16 and U14 squads have been crowned champions in the 1st GEMS Cricket Cup - beating the best school cricket teams from GEMS Schools in the UAE.

In the GEMS Cricket Cup U14 final, GEMS Modern Academy - Dubai

played against GEMS Millennium School - Sharjah, with the latter having put in some dominating performances in their group games. This was especially true of their captain and U.A.E. international player, Aditya Shetty, who had taken a hat-trick in the semi-finals. GEMS Modern Academy - Dubai, on the other hand, would depend on their opening batsmen, Anulome Kishore and Anshul Kaithakkal, who posted an unbeaten opening partnership of 125 runs to take their school to the final. It was a scintillating final too; a great contest between the best bowling side against a destructive batting lineup. Eventually, GEMS Modern Academy - Dubai came out on top though, winning by nine wickets. The U16 final had a similar story, as the GEMS Modern Academy - Dubai boys cruised through to the finals. They came into the tournament with a lot of confidence after winning a high-profile tournament prior to this one, as well as having the presence of captain and U.A.E. player Ronak Panoly on their side. Their opponents, GEMS Winchester School - Abu Dhabi, put in a great all round performances in their group games, with performances from speedster Jardel Pereira and opening batsman Prithvi Venkatkrishna ensuring the team reached the finals. With the explosive batting lineup at GEMS Modern Academy - Dubai’s disposal, it looked like this final would wrap up early. A charged up GEMS Winchester School - Dubai, though, put that theory to rest, with their opening bowlers striking early and, at one point, had their opponents at eight runs for three wickets. However, the man of the match, Rudra,

Nargish Khambatta, Principal at GEMS Modern Academy - Dubai, was

single-handedly helped carry his team to the target with a brilliant 24

absolutely thrilled at about her school teams achievements. “It’s always


wonderful to engage our youngsters in sport, and there are few who

GEMS Modern Academy - Dubai team coach Mohammad Shafiq said:

conduct a Cricket Tournament at the professional standards displayed

“Our team’s victory is due to the hard work of the boys and the school

throughout the GEMS Cricket Cup. Having a mature cricket team, a first

management’s support that ensures regular training. The boys put in

class coach and excellent facilities literally in your back yard helps keep

two near faultless displays and the thing that amazed everyone was the

the lads performing to their potential and beyond. Kudos to ESM for

spirit of the team in the field.”

doing such a sterling job”


BOOKing sports academies made easy

BOOK NOW Its now easier to enroll your child to award winning academies in Dubai. Book online & let your child train with the leading Football & Cricket Academies.




The Case

for Camp


hange is a part of life. Childhood is in essence a time of profound change and development. When it comes to our children, we need to be sure that change is made for the better.

So, how do we prepare our children with the skills and, more

importantly, the competencies they will need to tackle changes in our world? We could start with a positive camp experience, which provides our children with the opportunity to learn powerful lessons in community, character-building, skill development, and healthy living. Camp promotes community: It creates this great space that shows kids how to care for one another. Camp is a place where kids can ‘practice’ growing up, stretching their social, emotional, physical, and cognitive muscles outside the context of their immediate family. This is what childhood is supposed to provide. Camp creates future leaders: The camp experience offers kids a close-up look at compassionate leadership through the camp managers, coaches and other camp personnel. And kids get loads of opportunities to practice being a leader themselves, including team leader, lunch table leader, and team captain. Camp teaches critical thinking: We need to remember how important it is to be actively involved in the learning process, and camp affords that. We’re going to need really strong problem solvers in the years ahead and tasks at camp are directed towards building this trait. Camp maximises potential: Through ESM’s Multi-Activity Camps and Sports Camps, each child is encouraged to reach their full sporting potential by measuring and tracking their key performance indicators. Through Amaven - an assessment technology - ESM provide campers with reports and give parents access to personalised home training plans that will help improve their child’s skills and fitness. Camp has a lasting impact: Camp teaches kids how to be active participants, ask questions, ask for help, and try new things. The camp experience translates back into real-world experience - in an ‘I can do’ attitude.








T: 04 443 4188 E: W:


Rising Soccer Stars Begin U.S Scholarship Journey


EMS World Academy - Dubai has played host to a sold-out U.S. Scholarship assessment event for youth footballers in the U.A.E. The event was organised by ESM in partnership with United Sports U.S.A., and saw highly talented students from multiple emirates and schools come together to showcase their athletic abilities in front of professional, international sports consultants.

For More Information about soccer scholarships in the United States please visit

Andrew Shakarji from United Sports U.S.A. commented: “There were a lot of talented young players on the day that showed potential to compete at the collegiate level in America. We look forward to delivering future assessment events in the U.A.E. and giving students the opportunity to learn about competing as a full-time student athlete in the United States”. ESM and United Sports U.S.A. have confirmed there will be more assessment events to come throughout the year, including a girls’ football assessment day. The programme also encompasses other sports

The 50 young players aged between 15 and 18 years demonstrated a very high standard of footballing ability and will be given feedback based on their current level of performance. Those players that

such as golf, swimming and athletics, providing students and parents with more options and support when moving in to higher education. Managing Director of ESM, James Bowring, concluded, “It is so

demonstrated exceptional talent will progress to an academic

important for the youth living in the U.A.E. to be able to have a pathway

assessment stage. Should the student meet both academic and

to higher education and options to continue playing the sports they are

athletic requirements, they will be offered the opportunity to join the

so passionate about. U.S. scholarships are a fantastic way to progress

programme and have the team from United Sports U.S.A. seek out

from talented players into professional athletes and we look forward to

funded scholarship courses at universities across the United States.

announcing the first student to be accepted on a scholarship by working with United Sports U.S.A., which has an impeccable record.”


Krtanja Prem, who attends GEMS Winchester School - Dubai, is quickly making a name for himself as one of the most promising young sprinters in the U.A.E. A student from Ultimate Athletics, he has been training for several years, three times a week, and all that effort is really paying off! He is the current U16 100m and 200m Champion from the Annual Our Own Inter-Schools Meet, and also tops the leaderboard in the Ultimate Race Night League, with personal best times of 11.11 in the 100m and 23.84 in the 200m. “Ultimate Athletics to me isn’t just a training club, but a place where I’ve learnt to discipline myself and build up physically and mentally,” explains 15-year-old Krtanja. “I’ve been in this club for five years and with the help and aid of the coaches I’ve been constantly improving. Furthermore, several workshops have been held where former Olympians have coached us for a few days or weeks, assisting us with helpful advice as regards our futures; not just in track and field, but in general daily life, too.” Ultimate Athletics believes that getting the basics right at an early age plays a vital role in being a competitive athlete. Teaching the correct technique of running at an early age also prevents injuries and imbalances, which are difficult to correct at a later stage.

The Magic of the Cup Former ‘It’s Just Football’ player and GEMS Wellington International School - Dubai student, Andrea Borg, recently made his FA Cup debut. He played for Peterborough United in their fourth round tie against former Premier League Champions Leicester City. After training with It’s Just Football for more than eight years, in April, 2016, 16-year-old Andrea signed professional forms with ‘the Posh’. Almost two years later and he has gone from strength-tostrength with the English League One side, being highly thought of by the coaching staff at the club. Having already appeared in the league last season, making his debut against Fleetwood Town, his FA Cup debut is just another stepping stone into what is quickly becoming a very promising career. After turning ‘pro’, when Andrea played against Fleetwood, his parents told him they could not make the trip from Dubai, but surprised him by turning up at the match! They have since relocated from Dubai back to their native Malta, giving them more opportunity to see their son play in person. The former GEMS Wellington International School - Dubai student has also represented his country at youth-team level, and recently played for Malta in an Under-19s match in his homeland.



Want to Come Second? Follow Krtanja!


A Footballer’s Journey From the City Talent, strength and speed are key components in an athlete, and Moayad Moukatash from GEMS Wellington Academy - Al Khail ticks all the boxes. Moayad kicked off his journey with City Football Club (City FC) after successfully completing a trial in September and being awarded a place in the Elite Program. Training is a crucial part of the program. Moayad trains four times a week as a City FC Under 14’s player, covering the City FC curriculum - Physical Development with the Head of Player Performance and tactical knowledge in Analysis Sessions. Every footballer has a challenge, and for Moayad it was his confidence when in possession and working hard on the technical side of the game. In addition to playing for his club, Moayad also represents his school team, a team that managed to go through the season undefeated in 2017 and won the league title. Moayad’s progress to date has been remarkable. From focusing in training sessions to his commitment and determination to further develop himself and learn from his peers and coaches, Moayad has managed to cement himself as one of the starting centre-backs for City FC.

Seven Athletes, Nine Medals Our Own English High School - Sharjah (Boys) has become a force to be reckoned with, having carved a spot in the CBSE Nationals. In the qualifying round held at the Dubai Police Stadium and organised by The Indian High School, Our Own English High School - Sharjah (Boys) team bagged a total of nine medals - three gold, five silver, and one bronze. Seven athletes qualified for the Nationals, with Aron Mathew (Grade 8) securing a silver in the shot put in the under-14 category and Joshua Eby (Grade 7) bagging the silver in 100m, also in the under-14 category. Nabeel Mustafa (Grade 12) and Vinayak (Grade 11) picked up a silver in the high jump and a bronze in 200m respectively in the under-17 category. The school’s under-17 4 x 400m relay team, comprising Grade 11 students Vinayak, Arsh Baksh, John William and Ajay Krishna (11C) won a silver medal, too. Januvin Thomas (Grade 12) in the under-19 category clinched an impressive three gold medals in the 800m, 1500m and 4 x 100m relay. The 4 x 100m relay team comprised of Januvin Thomas, Bevin Paul (Grade 12), Shaun Kallumkal (Grade 12), and Paul Reji (Grade 11). Paul was also awarded the silver medal in the 100m.


Talking With His Racket, Playing With His Heart



“From the very beginning, my mother has been my biggest supporter. She has tirelessly taken me to hundreds of lessons and tournaments without complaining. She has also supported me through all my highs and lows.” -Eshaan Lumba

shaan Lumba from Dubai American Academy was crowned the Under-18 Boys’ Champion in the opening leg of the ongoing FuturePro Tennis Talent Series, which was part of the newly-formed U.A.E. National Ranking Tennis Tournaments of the U.A.E. Tennis Federation. Following his victory in the final over Karan Manghnani (6-1 7-5), Eshaan commented: “I really enjoyed playing the tournament and it is a great initiative from the U.A.E. Tennis Federation. I have been in Dubai for the past three years and it was getting a bit frustrating not to be able to play regular tournament tennis. But with the U.A.E. National Ranking Tournaments, that issue has been addressed.” Eshaan was just seven when he first saw some children playing tennis in a park, instantly becoming excited about the sport and insisting on playing the very next day! “From the very beginning, my mother has been my biggest supporter. She has tirelessly taken me to hundreds of lessons and tournaments without complaining. She has also supported me through all my highs and lows.”

Those ‘lows’, of course, include injuries, and just prior to the FuturePro Tennis Talent Series, Eshaan was still recovering from a recent ‘knock’, as he explains: “I had just recovered from an injury that prevented me from serving, and so my biggest challenge was to make sure that I could recover in time and play to my full potential.” There is no doubt that he certainly reached that potential on the day, helped by a lot of self-motivation. “Despite the physical challenges that I had faced prior to the tournament, I felt like I was having one of my better days, and my desire to win motivated me to push myself and prove that yes, I can do this!” Also a football fan - a follower of Liverpool FC - Eshaan’s favourite tennis player is Swiss star Stanislas Wawrinka, but he concludes by saying: “Although ‘Stan’ is a great role model, I always look up to Roger Federer as the best tennis player in the world.”



Penalty Shootout Decides Final The final match of the Our Own English High School - Sharjah (Boys) Interschool Soccer Tournament saw the hosts narrowly defeated by The Westminster School - Dubai in the most dramatic fashion, by virtue of a penalty shootout. It was a thrilling match and a thrilling climax to the tournament, with both teams desperate to score a goal and break the deadlock; the home team in particular trying to capitalise on several chances that came their way. But it wasn’t to be. Even after extra time the score was still 0-0, despite some fine play from the two competing teams The fact is that both defences were superb on the day, with ‘thou shalt not pass’ embedded deep into their psyches. And so it came to sudden death, with The Westminster School - Dubai proving that they are ‘kings of the penalty kick’, winning 3-1 and emerging as champions. Awards in three categories were also given out: Mohammed Abraar (Our Own English High School - Sharjah (Boys)) - Best Player of the Tournament; Mohammed Ajmal (Our Own English High School - Sharjah (Boys)) - Best Goalkeeper of the Tournament; and Ali (The Westminster School - Dubai) - Top Scorer of the Tournament.

Stand Tall and Play Ball! The Our Own English High School- Sharjah (Boys) team did themselves proud in the ‘Saints Sports Fest’ hosted by Saint Mary’s School, Dubai, confidently beating some strong basketball schools en-route to the final. This tournament was fought out amongst 17 teams of different schools, which were pitted against each other in a series of knockout matches. The Our Own English High School- Sharjah (Boys) looked self-assured from the start, playing as a cohesive team and supporting each other. They worked out their strategies efficiently, and it was clear to all spectators present that this would be one of the teams to beat. In the final, they came up against The Winchester School - Dubai and gave a whole team performance in the true sense of the term. However, a slender defeat meant that they finished as runners-up and, although the team was disappointed to lose in the final, they had a fantastic game and fully deserved their success in this fiercely competitive tournament.


IF ONLY I HAD KNOWN EARLIER! Three years ago, when we moved to the UAE, the first thing on our minds was to look for the best way to send money back home. We had bought a house on mortgage in the UK for which we had to pay considerably large amounts of money to the bank every month. After days of researching, we settled on an exchange house and visited the branch every month to send money. We were aware that not only were we paying higher fees, but also not getting the best exchange rates. Since it was the most convenient option then, we continued to send money that way until I recently stumbled upon UAE Exchange online and its mobile app. I was astonished with the exchange rates that I could get online; it is much better than any other online money transfer service. And the fees are way lower than what we paid at an exchange house. Had I known about the UAE Exchange online earlier, I could’ve saved a lot on each of my money transfers. It

pains me to think of all the money that I have lost in all these years; it could very well amount to roughly half my monthly mortgage payment. Now that is way too much money to lose when transferring money, right? Also, with this new discovery of mine, I can send money anytime and from anywhere. Between work and the kids, setting aside even 20 mins to go to an exchange house was a task for me. So now, UAE Exchange online is a huge blessing. I have sent money while doing homework with the kids and also while binge-watching Game of Thrones, because it is just so easy and convenient. I have been raving about UAE Exchange online to all my friends and family here and they can’t thank me enough for saving them so much of their time and a lot of their money! Amy Martha, UAE Exchange Online Customer from Dubai

“If you don’t have fun doing it, don’t do it,” proclaimed Omar Al Hegelan, the first ever FAI Freestyle Sky-Diving World Champion, at the 25th Interschool Athletic Meet held at GEMS Our Own English High School Dubai. Omar asked students to conquer their fear of failure with grace and teamwork … and by just having a good time. He declared the meet open by motivating the students to give their personal best and emphasising that it would make them all winners. The meet saw the participation of 15 schools and 365 students, competing in a total of 35 events across a number of categories. And it was fitting that the host school, GEMS Our Own English High School - Dubai bagged the Overall Champion’s Trophy for the 25th consecutive year with a score of 362. It was a fantastic way to kick-off the celebrations! The Millennium School - Dubai came third with a score of 194.5. The stars of the show were those athletes who bagged golds and silvers: Nikita Manian of GEMS Metropole School - Motor City with 30 points won in the Senior category; Gabriela Sangil of The Winchester School - Jebel Ali and Fathima Raihana of GEMS Our Own English High School - Dubai collected 17 points each to win in the

Going the Distance

Held at the Al Thiqah Club Stadium, the Inter-House Annual Athletic Meet of Our Own English High School - Sharjah (Boys) was graced by Mr Mazar Khan, Administrator of the Emirates Cricket Board and a recipient of the Lifetime Service Award in 2011, conferred by the ICC for his “exceptional performance and service” to the game of cricket. It was apt therefore that Mr Khan spoke about the importance of sports, explaining how it created character, before declaring the meet open. Sports play a pivotal role in the make-up of young people, teaching them valuable attributes such as discipline, responsibility, self-confidence, sacrifice, and accountability. This was illustrated perfectly during the meet, with the boys competing in a spirit of true sportsmanship. The first ever inter-school invitational 4x100 metre relay was a high point of the day, with six schools competing, including the hosts. After an exciting and close-run race, the winners were the team from GEMS Our Own English High School - Duabi, followed by The Millennium School - Dubai, and Our Own English High School Sharjah (Boys).


Everyone’s a Winner!

Sub-Junior category. Finally, Tanishqa Hemant Kambli of The Millennium School - Dubai scored the highest in the meet with 45.5 points, becoming the Overall Champion in the Super-Senior category. Of course, all of this success was garnered through extreme hard work and commitment, with most of these young athletic geniuses running shoes having more miles than your car. Congratulations to them all!

The following students from Our Own English High School - Sharjah (Boys) were declared individual winners in the various categories: Divisional Championship winners: Juniors - John Mathew Rony (Grade 6); Intermediate - Joshua Aby Varghese (Grade 7); (Seniors - John William Luis (Grade 11); and Super Seniors Januvin Thomas (Grade 12). Neptune House, from GEMS United Indian School - Abu Dhabi, was declared the Champion House for the year 2017-18.



Recognising Musical Genius


Amber Waite

from Jumeirah College - Dubai was declared the winner of the Young Musician Award for her flawless piano performance.

eniuses never limit themselves to books - they embrace various fields with open arms and strive to succeed in them. Academy Plus allows students to look beyond standard education via seven exciting academies. This year, the Music Academy organised the fourth annual Young

Musician of the Year competition, the second Aspiring Musician of the Year completion and ran the Apprentice Musician of the Year for the

Competition whilst invited guest judges Mr Ed Keeley and Mrs Emily Hall, both extremely distinguished and experienced musicians, judged the Young Musician of the Year competition. In a pool of talented musicians, Amber Waite from Jumeirah

first time. All three competitions allowed students across GEMS schools

College - Dubai was declared the winner of the Young Musician Award

to showcase their musical talents in front of other students with the

for her flawless piano performance. The other finalists in this high

same level of musical ability, a live audience and a panel of judges.

level competition were pianists Tianze Ye from GEMS Wellington

For all three competitions, students had the opportunity to take

Academy - Al-Khail and Hiroko Hiwatashi from GEMS Wellington

part in masterclasses and workshops with GEMS Music Teachers and

International School - Dubai, along with Boglarka Kurucz from GEMS

teachers from the Music Academy, who are instrumental specialists.

Wellington Academy - Silicon Oasis and Taejas Venkataraman from

Following these masterclasses, students were selected by these

GEMS Wellington International School - Dubai for voice and violin

teachers for the Final (in the Apprentice and Aspiring Musician


competitions) or to go through to Round 2 in the Young Musician Competition. The final for the Aspiring and Young Musician Competitions took

The title of Aspiring Musician of the Year was given to Ian Fernandez from GEMS Wellington Academy - Silicon Oasis, whilst the Apprentice Musician of the Year Award was given to Darya Vazir from

place on the last evening of the three days. The Masterclass leaders

Jumeirah Primary School - Dubai. Both students are also talented

had the difficult job of judging the final for the Aspiring Musician




“I have always loved listening to music and just playing the piano even though I wasn’t very good earlier. Since then, I developed a passion for it, and for music of all genres. Because of this, my parents and my teachers, especially Ms Boyln (Head of Music) encouraged me to participate in this competition.” VISHAL VISHWANATH

GEMS Wellington Academy - Silicon Oasis (Piano, Finalist)

“I come from a very musical family; both of my parents play the piano. Because of them, I’ve been playing the piano from a very young age as well. They’re my biggest inspiration.” IMOGEN O’CONNOR

Jumeirah College - Dubai (Piano, Finalist)

“I started playing a musical instruments when I was eight. I chose to play the Violin because it’s a very diverse instrument, and very few people play it. My teacher and my parents encouraged me to participate in this competition and they’ve been my greatest support ” CELINE NAUDE

Jumeirah College - Dubai (Violin, Finalist)



Competition Time



Within the pages of GEMS Family Magazine, we try and give out as many prizes as possible. And if you are not the winner this time, we’ve still got you covered with plenty of other wonderful prizes to give away.*


*Competition open to GEMS Education students only and GEMS employees are not permitted to enter.


Competition 1

Get ready for some unlimited

WATERPARK FUN! Here’s your chance to win 4 annual passes to Ice Land Waterpark, Ras Al Khaimah, for you and your family! SIMPLY ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTION: How much does an annual pass to Ice Land Waterpark cost?

DON’T MISS OUT! Send your answer to and brace yourself for an exciting year! Valid for one year after claiming the voucher.

Competition 2

Spoil yourself with a one-night stay at

Marjan Island Resort in Ras Al Khaimah

Marjan Island Resort is giving you the opportunity to win a complimentary one-night stay for two adults and two children, with bed and breakfast included! ALL YOU MUST DO IS… Name the area in Marjan Island Resort that consists of video games, babysitting services and an Italian Restaurant. HURRY AND SEND… your answer to Not applicable over public holidays. Valid until 15th October 2018. Rooms are subject to availability. Tourism Dirham fee of AED 20 will be charged directly to the guest.


WORLD’S FIRST URBAN MAZE NOW OPEN IN DUBAI Are you a risk-taking lateral thinker with a penchant for problem solving? Then listen up! Jumble, the world’s first indoor urban maze full of twists, turns and mind-bending challenges, has opened its enigmatic doors in Dubai and is set to shake up the UAE’s entertainment scene with a single proposition – the only way out is in. Located just off Sheikh Zayed Road close to the Sharaf DG metro station, Jumble is an unconventional gaming experience that is like nothing the region has ever seen. Featuring an intricate urban maze, it promises to mess with your mind and push you to your limits through a series of mindboggling mental and physical challenges that will make every Jumble visit as curious as the last. Once inside the Jumble urban maze, teams of three to six people must work together to progress through a maze of intriguing rooms, each one containing an unexpected physical challenge or mental problem to solve. Each series of quirky challenges (or Jumbles) has been designed to build confidence, aid personal development, foster collaboration and encourage a bit of healthy competition. So, whether you’re a

mastermind millennial, a problem-solving parent, a gaming guru or an adventurous athlete, there is something to suit everyone at Jumble. There really is no other place like Jumble when it comes to some bewildering fun with friends, family, classmates and colleagues. With a staggering variety of challenges and each visit uncovering a new, mindboggling experience, Jumble will keep you coming back for more. As well as the main Jumble maze, the 3,500sqm activity space is home to a series of uniquely-themed hang-out rooms and corporate rooms. Popular eatery French Bakery also takes up residency with an on-site café and catering facilities, making Jumble the ideal destination for birthdays, large group events, school trips and corporate team building.

Think you have what it takes to make it through the Jumble urban maze? Gather your squad and visit to book now. Some basic tips to keep in mind before coming to Jumble: •

Teams must be 3-6 people.

The minimum age of the children playing is 12 years old.

You can book online ( or onsite at Jumble.

Make sure your team arrives 15 minutes before your time slot.

And remember – The Only Way Out is In! #LetsGetReadyToJumble Come join the Jumble community on social: Tel: 800 586253 Website:


It’s Our World,

Take Care of It


or a better future it’s important to think in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner; it may take a little effort on our part, but it makes a big difference to the world. This was at the heart of the message H.H. Sheikh Dr

Abdulaziz bin Ali bin Rashid Al Nuaimi worked hard to get across when he visited GEMS Al Barsha National School - Dubai. Recognised as one of the nation’s most active proponents for environmental protection, and popularly known as the ‘Green Sheikh’, he gave a fascinating and informative guest lecture on ‘Environment, Youth and Community Responsibility’. Addressing over 200 students, teachers and parents, he challenged his audience to be effective leaders, role models and mentors. Prior to the talk, the Green Sheikh had also joined a group of students in planting saplings and tomato seeds. Lesley Isherwood, Principal and CEO of GEMS Al Barsha National School - Dubai, said: “Our students, staff and parents were delighted to hear from H.H. Sheikh Dr Abdulaziz bin Ali bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, as he is a true practitioner of the ideals he preaches. We believe that our foremost responsibility is protecting and conserving the environment. The Green Sheikh is a perfect mentor and role model, as he inspires people to lead a happier and more successful life.”



“I think it is one of the best things the school does in the morning! My little boy is very fidgety in the classroom and cannot sit in one place. When he goes to Wake Up, Shake Up, he tends to burn off some energy before going to the classroom and is then able to sit down and concentrate much better.”

-Jane Muff

Wake Up, Shake Up!


aying attention first thing in the morning can be challenging for many people. Fortunately, GEMS Wellington School - Qatar has discovered that there are other ways to get students to concentrate, rather than having them dive into their books right away. The school has taken an unconventional step and developed an exciting programme called “Wake Up, Shake Up!” to get their students up and running.

Jane Muff, a parent from GEMS Metropole School - Motor City, shared her thoughts on the programme. “I think it is one of the best things the school does in the morning! My little boy is very fidgety in the classroom and cannot sit in one place. When he goes to Wake Up, Shake Up, he tends to burn off some energy before going to the classroom and is then able to sit down and concentrate much better.” Jane believes that the programme is a great way to get students pumped up for the rest of the day and that it should also be carried out for senior students, but with a slight twist. “It shouldn’t be the same

Every morning, the entire school puts down their pencils and paper for

as it is for the younger kids, but perhaps a short work out, aerobics or

a few moments to warm up for the day. The programme helps students

yoga session will help older students deal with examination stress. It

and teachers in Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 warm up their minds

will calm them down and allow them to start the day on a positive note.”

and bodies with a dynamic cardiovascular musical dance workout that

She claims that her son thoroughly enjoys Wake Up, Shake Up and that

makes exercise fun! A healthy body is linked to a healthy mind, and the

every school should implement it.

school has experienced the beneficial effects of this workout both in the

Jane also recommends that parents create their own Wake Up, Shake

classroom and in strengthening the school community. Many schools

Up regime at home for themselves to help them get through the day.

throughout the UAE have also started to do Wake Up, Shake Up, with

“A few minutes of skipping, jogging or even doing star jumps after

promising results!

breakfast will do the trick. Having a friend accompany you will make it even better!”



What Winter Does To Your



Dr Sreekumar Sreedharan Specialist Internal Medicine at Aster Clinic (UMC), Karama

lthough residents of the U.A.E. look forward to the winter months, after experiencing the sweltering summer heat for most of the year, it is a time that sees an increase in infections. Indeed, the ‘cold’ weather brings with it a number of health risks for both children and adults, with the common cold, rhinitis,

influenza, and other respiratory infection cases rising dramatically during the winter. The most commonly asked question about winter illness is “Why do people fall sick so often during

this period?” The simple answer is that when there is a cool breeze blowing outdoors, people tend to create a warmer temperature or environment indoors. When they then step outside, the body may be unable to adjust to the sudden change, which can cause an allergic response. Here are some ways that you may be vulnerable to winter:

COMMON COLD AND FLU Most people prefer staying indoors or in closed environments, such as malls, shops, restaurants, or even in the comfort of their homes. This causes an easy spread of germs and infections, so get flu shot vaccinations and eat a healthy and balanced diet, including a variety of fruits and vegetables. DRY SKIN It becomes crucial to safeguard your skin from dry and dehydrated skin. Dry winter air pulls away all the moisture from the skin, making it look extremely dry and dull. Nourish your skin regularly by drinking lots of water. Keep moisturising your skin with thick creams instead of water-based light creaMs ALLERGIES Allergies and infections of various kinds are common during the winter months. Allergies are the result of your immune system’s response to a substance. Immune responses can be mild, from a cough and a runny nose, through to a life threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis. Hygiene practices need to be ramped up during the winter months. DRY EYES Winter is the time when people complain of dry, itchy and watery eyes. To combat this, the first step is to take occasional blink breaks from digital eye strain, although this is a tip for all times and not only during the winters. Good general advice is to improve personal hygiene by washing your hands regularly, and cover your mouth and nose if you sneeze or cough. Avoid contact with others if you are sick and ensure to get your shots to fight the spread of infections.



Dr Mohammed Siraj Ul Hassan


Specialist Paediatrician at Aster Clinic, Dubai Silicon Oasis


hildhood obesity is a problem every where in the world, so we asked Dr Mohammed Siraj Ul Hassan, Specialist Paediatrician at Aster Clinic, Dubai Silicon Oasis, to take us through the reasons for this and explain how we can do our

Dr Maryam Matar Founder and Chairperson of UAE Genetic Diseases Association


part to combat it. The most obvious causes of obesity among children are an unhealthy diet (including junk food) and an ‘aristocratic’ lifestyle, which often discourages physical activity. Easy availability of fast foods, sugary drinks and lack of physical activity are the major concerns especially in the U.A.E., largely because of the super-convenient lifestyles many people lead in this part of the world. The side effects of being overweight may only begin to show during adulthood, but it is always advisable to be vigilant about obesity from childhood. Unchecked increase of weight over a prolonged period puts a strain on all organs of an individual’s body, triggering various health probleMs With this in mind, it is important that a child receives regular paediatric check-ups, where a specialist will assess their Body Mass Index (BMI) and give a guideline of weight in relation to height. A specialist is well-placed to identify if your child’s weight could pose potential health risks. The good news is that managing and controlling obesity in childhood is possible and is in your hands, as parents. So avoid giving children excess amounts of chocolate, sweets and sugary drinks, whilst making their favourite meals more interesting with fresh fruit and a wide range of vegetables. Explain to them the advantages of leading a healthy lifestyle, and make sure that they see you taking your own advice.

ABOUT ASTER CLINIC Since its inception in 1987, Aster Clinic has successfully reshaped the healthcare landscape in the Middle East with qualitative changes in the medical services it provides. It has now become one of the largest and most widespread networks of clinics across the Middle East by operating across neighborhoods. As part of the history of a prodigious organisation like Aster DM Healthcare, Aster Clinics put patients at the core of its operations. It has developed robust quality standards, enhanced professional expertise and spacious infrastructures to render the most comfortable and satisfying patient experience. Continually ushering qualitative changes in the medical field, Aster Clinics have set extraordinary benchmarks for healthcare in the region. With 45 multi-disciplinary clinics, 425 skilled doctors and 700 paramedical staff, Aster Clinics are constantly expanding and evolving to better serve the communities in which they operate. They’ve got your back, always have and always will because they value the trust you have in them.

Make a pledge to learn about rare diseases and support the patient community. Rare diseases represent a challenge for the medical world because patients can manifest with symptoms similar to those of common diseases. There are 7000 rare diseases and disorders known to the medical community globally and people with rare diseases have tremendous unmet needs. They are often misdiagnosed, or struggle to find appropriate support in their daily lives. Hence, it is vital that we build awareness because one in 20 people will contract a rare disease at some stage of their lives. The Global Rare Disease Day was launched in 2008 and is currently celebrated in over 65 countries as part of a global campaign. Rare Disease Day is an opportunity for everyone to come together and raise awareness amongst the general public and decision-makers, about rare diseases and their impact on patients’ lives. In 2018, U.A.E. Rare Diseases Society, a part of U.A.E. Genetic Diseases Association, organised a campaign throughout the entire month of February, and will continue with the on-going efforts of patient support groups and the healthcare community. Additionally, the U.A.E. Rare Diseases Society organised a Walkathon in partnership with High Hopes, an Early Intervention Pediatric Therapy Centre in Dubai that caters to children with rare diseases from the ages of 0 - 13 years of age. One school that celebrated Rare Diseases Day was GEMS Modern Academy - Dubai, with the school’s Principal, Nargish Khambatta, commenting: “Our students were genuinely inspired by the concept of how they can play an active role to highlight this issue. The campaign aligns well with the ethos of our school - we are indeed committed to raising socially responsible children.”

You can contact Aster Clinic on 044400500 or visit


The Yellow Brick Road to Creative Genius



heart is not judged by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others.” These words of wisdom from the Great Wizard of Oz, were received with thunderous applause from the audience who had come to witness the staging of ‘Miss Wiz’, a theatrical production of GEMS Our Own English High School - Dubai. Mr Kevin Oliver, Cultural Director of the GEMS Education, directed the musical, an adaptation of ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’ by L. Frank Baum as a start to the school’s Golden Jubilee celebration. A total of 144 students trained rigorously for more than two months to make the musical the phenomenal success it turned out to be. Dorothy, played by Parvathy Nair, turned in a real star performance, particularly during her wonderful rendition of ‘There is no Place Like Home’. And though convincingly wicked, the Witch of the West, played by Hebah Innah, won over the audience thanks to her often fierce and committed performance. Equally commendable were the performances of the Scarecrow, the Lioness and Tin Woman, played by Pranamya Belvai, Joann Gallyot and Chaithanya Manoj respectively. Rheanne Lewis and Paloma Veigas portrayed the feminine avatar of the title role with finesse and genuine flair. Miss Wiz has undoubtedly left a lasting impression on both audiences and participants and, was much loved by everyone who saw it.

We are the Champions!


he sixth Rangoli Gulf competition, which recently took place at GEMS Modern Academy - Dubai, proved to be a colourful and vibrant platform for the talented students of Our Own English High School - Sharjah (Boys).

The honeyed tones of six of the school’s finest singers astounded the audience

with an acapella medley formed from a fusion of English, Hindi and Malayalam songs, leaving the judges with no choice but to award them the title of the ‘Best Music Team’. Peter Jerson of grade 12 was highly commended by the judges for his adroit skills in beat-boxing, with the school’s 14-strong dance team also performing admirably. Meanwhile, the renowned Indian singer Padma Shri, KS Chitra presented the awards for the ‘Best Dancer’ and the ‘Jury Award’ to Dharsh of grade 6 and Rishan of grade 12 respectively. The students’ performances were truly dazzling and fully deserving of the standing ovation from the audience. They all made the school proud, and deservedly came away with the title of ‘Overall Champions’.


‘Exceptional’, ‘Phenomenal’, ‘Striking’ were just three of the adjectives used by the examiner who witnessed the performance by The Millennium School - Dubai’s Trinity Choir. The 30 participating students put in weeks of hard work, undivided attention and preparation for the nerve-wracking, Trinity Exam. And it turned out to be all worthwhile, for they produced the best results in the entire country! Unsurprisingly to many who had seen them rehearse, the school choir surpassed themselves with a whopping overall 97% - setting a new record in the process. A colossal contributing factor to this success was the exceptional choice in music, with a marvellous upbeat tune, Benny Goodman’s Sing Sing Sing, coupled with an absolute pop classic, Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. This proved to be the perfect combination when it came to showing off the choir’s enthusiasm and vocal abilities. The ensemble impressed with its eye-catching attire too, whilst professional training by the school’s music coordinator and vocal coach, Mr Mervin Joel, helped them to a performance that will live in the memory for a very long time. The examiners took note of the involvement of every member of the choir, mentioning that the energy was impressive and that they maintained the audience’s attention throughout. They also praised the collective technique and the very strong stage presence of the choir, saying that it was a “wonderful performance” and “spine-tinglingly good.”

Dancing Like a Panther GEMS Dubai American Academy student, Adriana Alonso, attends four ballet classes a week with Turning Pointe, and is currently studying for her intermediate level Royal Academy of Dance examination. This is a professional examination that awards both UCAS (The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) points and NQF (National Qualifications Framework) credits. Adriana recently auditioned for the Turning Pointe Youth Ballet and was casted as the lead role of Bagheera, the panther, in the upcoming production of The Jungle Book. She has been rehearsing every Saturday with her fellow cast members and is very excited about the performances. “I love performing on stage, I love the feel of the music and the fact I can express myself through music and performance,” she explained. Adriana has worked incredibly hard to immerse herself in her role as a panther, exploring ways to make her dance moves look cat-like and sleek, whilst also managing to be nurturing towards Mowgli, yet fearless and defensive when dancing with Shere Khan. At Turning Pointe, they strive to offer a rounded dance education to all students. As such, all of the youngsters have the opportunity to perform on stage … even the little three-year-olds! This experience is invaluable to dancers and creates wonderful memories that last a lifetime.



Bringing Music to Life


The Artwork that is a Symbol of Peace


robably Picasso’s most famous work, Guernica was painted as an immediate reaction to the Nazi’s devastating bombing of the Basque town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War. It is one of the most powerful pieces of art in the world, so when the students of GEMS Cambridge International School - Abu Dhabi replicated this huge (in size and scope) masterpiece as homage to the artist it was not only a tour de force, but also an extremely emotional experience. A group of 36 gifted art students worked on the piece over a period of

three months, along with Cambridge Creative Projects Manager, Adrian Lloyd, who commented: “Our idea was threefold. Firstly, to coincide with the recent opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi and its wonderful collection of art; secondly, to look at new ways of conveying an idea and a message to the students through the visual arts; and thirdly, to tie in a permanent corridor display with one of the four GEMS Core Values on the meaning and importance of ‘Global Citizenship’… and also just to challenge ourselves to see whether we could produce a large scale ‘gallery quality’ piece of artwork.” The original Guernica, which is today used as a symbol of peace, is regarded as truly iconic. So it is no surprise that it has influenced many artists, one of the most recent being Iraqi artist Dia Azzawi, who created ‘Mission of Destruction’ for the ‘Abu Dhabi Art’ exhibition, representing the impact of the aftermath of the 2003 Iraq war on its citizens and society.

Art is Where Work Meets Love


n connection with the Year of Giving initiatives, The Millennium School - Dubai invited art teachers from across the GEMS network of schools to participate in a workshop called ‘Paint a Canvas’. And not only did they paint, but through studying their works of art students were able to refine their own artistic skills. These paintings, along with others done by the school’s very own students, were given to charity and exhibited at an art exhibition aptly named ‘TMS Cares’. The exhibition was formally inaugurated by Victor Sitali, an inspirational Zambian artist who, having overcome deafness, has achieved a name for himself on the international art scene. The Millennium School - Dubai is one of just two CBSE schools that offer painting as an elective to its Board students in Grades 11 and 12.



Chasing the Dream ... in Harmony


very legendary story begins with a dreamer and their dream, and that of Prideland, a dazzling musical staged by GEMS Our Own Indian School - Al Quoz, is no different. The story of a young prince’s difficult road to adulthood and the harsh path to the throne of his kingdom, the show was genuinely enchanting, with the young actors and singers winning the hearts of the entire audience. This was a hugely ambitious project, requiring the

collaboration of numerous people. Naturally, the versatility of the performers, not to mention their technical precision, impassioned playing and incredible stamina, were there for all to see. However, this monumental venture would not have been possible without the inspired leadership of the Principal, Mrs Lalitha Suresh, the Headmistress, Mrs Usha Balachandran, members of the school leadership team, and the amazing energy and effort put in by the teachers. Prideland saw more than 200 talented students participating, including a four-piece band, a 40-strong choir, 65 dancers, and an extremely talented principal cast of 15 singing actors. Joe Peter as the Director (and Performance Arts Coordinator), Samyukta Kartha and Rebecca Simon as Assistant Directors, and Riya Mary Bino as Assistant Choir Director, pulled everything together to help create the magic. This was more than just another show though; Prideland, which was performed live (nothing was pre-recorded), was subject to a rigorous evaluation by the prestigious Trinity College of Music, London, on the final day. It was assessed on five criteria: Group Dynamic, Performances, Staging, Design, and Technical. Fulfilling all criteria with great poise and finesse, Prideland secured a ‘Distinction’ in the ‘Musical Theatre in Production’ exam at Grade 5. A beautifully crafted musical full of surprises and lovely moments, Prideland’s fantastic cast and backstage crew ensured that this was a production no-one would ever forget.




Empower Women, Develop the Nation


he ‘Young Women’s Leadership Summit’ (YWLS) was originally proposed by the School Council at GEMS Our Own English High School - Dubai in 2012. The idea was to bring together young women from different schools and provide them with a platform to air their views and lend expressions to their ideas on womanhood. Now a regular and highly respected event, it is still the only one of its kind in the region and has undoubtedly been successful in its aims, bringing the cause of women’s empowerment to the fore of the nation’s social conscience.

Student Reporting. The students’ talents were enriched and they were trained to express their thoughts, ideas and aspirations in a purposedriven atmosphere of learning, sharing, collaborating, listening, and most of all, through bonding. In the second half, the Chief Guest, Ms Sangita Chima, a GEMS Principal inaugurated the session by lighting the lamp. After applauding the role of events like YWLS in giving direction to young women, Ms Chima congratulated the school for giving away the Green Learning Gateway Awards, where the school had gathered newspapers from students for recycling and collected AED 2,410 in the process. This money was then presented to two GEMS Our Own English High School Dubai support staff for their daughters’ higher studies in India.

The sixth YWLS was hosted by GEMS Our Own English High School

The distinguished panelists, Professor Vaiju Naravane, Dr Sunayna

- Dubai and was based on the theme ‘Empowered Women Empower

Iqbal, Ms Ravisha Bhatia, and Dr Khyati Shetty, shared their personal

Women’. During the first half of the day, delegates from 13 schools

stories and strategies for overcoming adversity and fueling a better

across the U.A.E. were guided by several experts who held interactive

future. This was followed by an open question and answer session. The

workshops in a variety of areas: My Voice (Discussion), Shakti (Art), She

YWLS was closed with the Grand Finale, in which students showcased

Inspires (Expression), Rainbow (Dance), Crossroads (Documentary), and

their new learning from the interactive workshops.



he Cambridge Finance Society is now in its second year … and it’s gone inter-school! As the first finance club in Dubai, it was launched back in 2016 when a group of ten Cambridge International School - Dubai students turned an initial vision into reality. Led by Joel Alexander, who is now studying at the London School of Economics, and Medha Maindwal (now in year 13 at Cambridge International School - Dubai), they had no idea what they had started. Today, the Society has 35 student members and, having expanded in size and reach, has attracted students from other schools who come in for workshops.

have. Consumers may not always be rational, and Dr Fisher’s company aims to solve this issue by gathering extensive data and working with the Ministry of Finance to ensure that students in Dubai have the financial knowledge and skills they require to be as rational with their money as possible. Cambridge International School - Dubai alumnus Aditya Wadhwa then took to the podium, discussing life after school and his preparation for the CFA and how he would work with the Cambridge Finance Society in the future to share his knowledge. “It was only my second meeting at the Cambridge Finance Society, but I’ve already learned a lot more than I would have expected,” said Grade 12 student, Prachi Dhanky. “The real-life applications explained to us by Dr Fisher and Mr Wadhwa broadened my perspective about the

The Society regularly invites guest speakers, and recently welcomed

recession and gave me a brief idea about how such an issue could be

Dr Omar Fisher, Founder of a company called iWealth. Dr Fisher shared

avoided in the future. I really enjoyed the meeting, which helped me to

his insights and explained the difference between the policies that the

gain knowledge outside of my textbooks.”

public expected would be implemented and what actually took place to recover from the recent economic collapse. He then spoke about the economics of happiness and how important it is to understand the different ‘money personalities’ that consumers

Fellow Grade 12 student, Husain Syed shared Prachi’s opinion of the talks, concluding with a statement that few who attended the meeting would disagree with: “It made me realise how much there is to learn and explore beneath the surface!”

“The real-life applications explained to us by Dr Fisher and Mr Wadhwa broadened my perspective about the recession and gave me a brief idea about how such an issue could be avoided in the future. I really enjoyed the meeting, which helped me to gain knowledge outside of my textbooks.” -PRACHI DHANKY




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Because the Action Never Stops


roadcasting is an exciting, challenging and highly competitive industry to work in, driven by talented individuals who are committed to attracting an audience and doing whatever it takes to keep them tuned in. One such individual, Abdul Karim, an alumnus of Jumeirah College - Dubai and the University of Leeds, talks to GEMS Family about his education, career path, and plans for the future. “I chose to be a broadcast TV journalist and was a news and sports anchor for Dubai’s local television station prior to setting up my own media production company,” Abdul explains. “And although we are now partners in creating digital content for the corporate world, we also work as representatives for news outlets, which allows us to continue to work in video journalism.” Abdul looks back in his school days with fondness, recognising that they played a significant role in preparing him for his chosen profession. “Skills learned in my drama and history classes, together with support from the teaching staff, are what I would categorise as the foundation towards my pursuit of being a broadcast journalist. One of the highlights of my time at Jumeirah College - Dubai was playing the lead role of Macbeth in the school production. Being a Year 10 student, I was one of the youngest actors to play a leading role.” Since his graduation, Abdul is frequently invited to the school by year 9 and Sixth Form students to deliver career talks on career events. Such events allow him to catch up with his former teachers and offer career advice to students. When asked if there was one piece of advice he would give to current students, Abdul replied: “Just keep at it. Most of us tend to realise our goals just before Sixth Form, and I would recommend to keep chasing those dreams and look for those opportunities that will help you achieve them.” Abdul concludes by looking to the future. “My new media

“My new media production business is a priority, and I will focus on growing that while also contributing towards a large international news network.”

production business is a priority, and I will focus on growing that while also contributing towards a large international news network.”



Booking Your Passage to the Future


EMS Education and Canadian University Dubai have announced a partnership that will offer scholarships exclusively to GEMS students, starting in the 2018-19 academic year. The value of the scholarships, which is up to AED 10 million, will vary depending on course of study and the academic merit of the students.

to provide scholarships and financial aid to GEMS students seeking admission at universities within the region and across the globe. This first partnership with Canadian University Dubai also provides for dedicated career training for GEMS students. Dr Karim Chelli, President of Canadian University Dubai, explained: “This partnership with GEMS Education illustrates our deep commitment to ensuring a transformational education experience for our students. We also recognise that strong relationships with partners

The students who study at Canadian University Dubai will be able to study both at the Dubai and Canadian campuses. Choosing to study

such as GEMS Education enable us to build and shape future leaders.” Dino Varkey, CEO of GEMS Education, added: “We are proud

in Canada will offer a unique career boost for students, as the country

to announce Canadian University Dubai as our first partner with

offers a path to citizenship once an international student earns a post-

UniConnect. We look forward to partnering with many more universities

secondary degree from a Canadian University.

in the U.A.E. and internationally - including the Ivy League - as part

GEMS announced the launch of the ‘UniConnect’ programme last year, which is set to include a series of strategic partnerships designed

of our commitment to making quality education accessible for all our students throughout their schooling and beyond.”



Future Scientists of the U.A.E.


ifteen students from GEMS schools throughout the U.A.E. have begun a scholarship programme funded by Gulf Medical University (GMU) and GEMS Education. Hosted by the GMU faculty at its Ajman campus, research facility and teaching hospital, the programme is designed to allow the students to learn about and become involved in university-level medical research.

gains laboratory skills and research data, while the tutor prepares the student for the written publication of their research experience. Rosie Woolley, a Jumeirah College - Dubai student on the programme, commented: “The first thing I noticed was the level of education and expertise that the faculty members and organisers have. The most eye-opening aspect was a peak into the Microbiology department of the university, with Dr Manjunath showing us a tiny microchip that contained millions of chromosomes, where 30 years ago

Chancellor Hossom Hamdy and Dr Kierstan Connors of GEMS

it would only have contained 300. My expectation of the programme is

launched the programme with KHDA and GEMS Education support, to

to gain an understanding of a new side of medicine that I will be able

provide high school students with a two-year mentorship and research

to take with me to university, and which will help me win a place on a

programme that is integrated into their school curriculum. This leads

medical course.”

to a student-written research paper that will be published within the

The ‘Future Scientists of the U.A.E.’ programme is a unique

academic scientific community, an invaluable asset to the students’

opportunity that will give students the chance to see and experience

college medical portfolio and experience.

first-hand how biomedical research is conducted, perhaps, like Rosie,

Each GEMS student is paired with two graduate students, a GMU faculty mentor researcher, and a personal tutor. The mentor provides one-on-one guidance on a specific research project as the student


inspiring them to become the next generation of public and global health researchers.


“At our Teaching Centres in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah, you can study our own unique product - IELTS Coach - with one of our qualified and experienced teachers.” -Amanda Ingram

Opening a World of Opportunity Through English


EMS Education and the British Council have developed a partnership to enhance our available services for students and staff at our schools and to improve the academic planning and English language support for university admissions, especially for our UK universities. Our GEMS-British Council partnership allows for a full range of online, blended and face-to-face products to help test-takers become familiar with the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). In turn, this will help them get the score they need so that they can study or work in English-speaking destinations such as the U.K., U.S.A., Australia and Canada.

There are online courses and apps, too. The apps are available free to download from the Apple and Google Play stores - IELTS Prep, IELTS Word Power and IELTS 1001 Ways. Furthermore, for GEMS students registering for the IELTS test with the British Council, there is access to Road to IELTS, which gives them 30 hours of online practice activities, and really helps ensure that they do their best on the day. The British Council is also donating resources to all of our GEMS school libraries so that students can prepare both in and out of our school setting. John Anderson, the British Council Quality in the Classroom Manager for the Middle East and North Africa, says: “As well as the face-to-face course and the apps, we also have a number of websites for helping you with the test - and Finally, there’s our

Amanda Ingram, British Council Teaching Centre Manager for the

dedicated YouTube channel, ‘Take IELTS Official’ and, in collaboration

U.A.E. says: “At our Teaching Centres in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah,

with Future Learn, our MOOC, Understanding IELTS at www.futurelearn.

you can study our own unique product - IELTS Coach - with one of our


qualified and experienced teachers. This teaches you the strategies

So if you’re taking the IELTS test anytime soon, you should be able

you need to succeed and gives extensive practice in all the different

to find an option that suits you - no matter what GEMS school you

types of questions. You can take a course in all four of the IELTS papers

attend in the UAE!

- Speaking, Writing, Listening and Reading - or if you just need to brush up on one or two areas, you can take a single skills workshop during the weekend.”



Say Yes to Saving Money


he GEMS Rewards App is winning hearts all across GEMS Education! More and more people are taking advantage of the app, enjoying a wide range of benefits and opportunities right at their fingertips. Check out what some of our satisfied users have to say. “The app has helped me a lot because it has given me a 50% discount on what I order. It’s easy to use and saves me money, which is fantastic! In fact, I’ve saved over AED 2750 so far! I’ll give this app 5 stars.” -Mai Nosseir, Jumeirah Primary School - Dubai

“Thanks to the GEMS Rewards app, eating out has become less burdensome! I’ve saved up to AED 2000 so far and think the app is absolutely phenomenal. It’s easy to avail discounts and we can navigate through “I try to use it whenever I go

it comfortably. What I like most about it is that it

out, because it’s a great way to

allows us to feel connected to GEMS as a whole and

save money and experience new

that, unlike other apps, it can be used anywhere in the

restaurants that are promoted

country. I’ll definitely give this app 5 stars!”

on the app. I have already saved

-Myungwol Sim, GEMS American Academy - Abu

around AED 2571, so I’m quite


impressed. I highly recommend it to staff members, because they can enjoy new restaurants and activities with another person for half the cost. It’s easy to use, too.” -Nadia Weiner, Teacher at Bradenton Preparatory Academy - Dubai

“I use it mostly during weekends and so far, I have redeemed a couple of vouchers and saved approximately

Download the app now! Available on Google Play & Apple Store.

AED 1285. I primarily use the app for food purchases and would certainly recommended it to my colleagues, particularly as it’s not just limited to my own use; it allows my family and friends to enjoy the benefits, too.” -Shad Nazer, GEMS Education (Projects team, School Support Centre)



group of like-minded individuals from Cambridge


Nurture Nature to Save the Environment In groups of four, the volunteers were on a mission to collect large

International School - Dubai enjoyed a unique

amounts of trash ... and they were spoiled for choice. Plastics, including

opportunity to take part in the International Coastal

spoons, disposable glasses and bottles, pieces of rusty iron; the variety

Clean-up 2017, organised and hosted by Ocean

of litter seemed never-ending. It was a very clear insight as to how

Conservancy and Dubai Municipality. The students, all aged between 15 and 18, volunteered to help clean-up Jebel Ali Marine

destructive mankind’s attitude towards nature can be. It turned out to be an experience that the students will never forget

Sanctuary, which is home to a myriad of species and plants of

- masses of black bags were filled, piled up against each other to form

marine life.

a mountain of waste. It all seemed so surreal. And as the day reached

A total of 33 students turned up on the day, with a team of

its peak, the students became increasingly appalled by the amount of

volunteers from Dubai Municipality explaining the purpose of the

trash found - their small group was able to collect approximately 31kg

clean-up and what was expected of the volunteers. All of the essential

within a short span of time.

equipment was provided, including hats, t-shirts, gloves and trash

Everyone came away with a very clear realisation: as a species we

bags. Record sheets were also supplied, allowing the students to list

have to change our current rationale and take responsibility for the

the kind of waste they were collecting. And to add a little competition,

ecosystem ... or face the consequences.

it was decided to see who could collect the most trash within a 20-minute period.



A Winter Fun Palace!


he Millennium School - Dubai successfully organised its second Winter Carnival, effectively converting the school into a palace of fun and excitement for the whole family!

The Executive Principal, Mr Michael Guzder, along with the

Chief Guest for the event, Mr Ganpathi Bhat, Vice-President Treasury and Operations, GEMS Education, took to the stage to say a few words before declaring the Winter Carnival officially open. As they did so balloons were released into the sky to commemorate the start of what would be a memorable day. Strolling around the school fields, parents, students and school staff visited a wide variety of stalls, trying their hands at one of the colourful games or purchasing a piece of art or jewellery made by the youngsters. The auditorium had a number of amazing events too, including Hat Attack, Nightingales R Us, and Secret Superstar. TMS Care, an art exhibition, was also going on simultaneously in the auditorium, with various paintings created by both students and art teachers from across the GEMS network of schools available to buy. In close proximity, the quadrangle was filled with happy, laughing kids having the time of their lives bouncing up and down on a bouncy castle, whilst the kindergartener’s fun corner had a large number of children enjoying face painting and getting fake hair extensions. In addition to this, there was a raffle draw, in which there were several magnificent prizes. The entire school was proud of the carnival’s success and managed to raise an impressive AED 383,564. Along with the other Year of Giving initiatives, the school intends to adopt three schools in three developing nations- Nepal, Malawi and Senegal. A total cheque of AED 438,845.50 was handed over to Dubai Cares for this cause. The school believes that education has the power to transform lives and feels privileged to be able to provide children in developing countries access to quality primary education.



ur oceans are slowly turning into a plastic soup and the effects on ocean life are chilling. Big

their children, these eight women have taken on ‘mission unstoppable’. Spectacular8 was born when a parent, Gina Fernandes, asked other parents of the school to join her on a wall mural made out of plastic bottle caps dedicated to a Whale that was put down in Norway because its intestines were clogged with plastic. This wall mural was created in the height of the summer, with both children and parents turning up to work on it in the often fierce heat. GEMS Modern Academy - Dubai went ‘No Plastic’ from there on in to support achieving a milestone set by Global Goals SDG12 for responsible production and consumption. Spectacular!

pieces of plastic are choking and entangling turtles and seabirds and tiny pieces are

clogging the stomachs of creatures who mistake it for food, from tiny zooplankton to whales.’ This statement from Greenpeace sums up the terrible state of our marine environment and why we need to take action now! This message has been taken fully on-board by Spectacular8 - Shilpa Venepally, Simran Kapoor, Sonal Singh, Swati Vats, Gina Fernandes, Trupti Dave, Soni Chabbra, and Nisha Galani - a group of parents from GEMS Modern Academy - Dubai who are determined to make a difference. The members of Spectacular8 have always believed that ‘we are the environment’ and not separate from it. So united by their desire to

Give a Little, Help a Lot


ou get back what you put into life. What you give, you will receive. It’s an indisputable law. That’s why, during the ‘Year of Giving’ in 2017, The Millennium School Dubai put together various activities designed to instill

in students, teachers and parents, a true sense of the spirit of giving. The ‘Give to Receive’ campaign organised by the Environment Club helped promote the recycling of paper, glass, toners and old mobile phones. As a result, the school was able to recycle over 10,000 kilograms of newspapers in just two months, saving around 6820 gallons of oil, 265,000 litres of water, and 170 trees. The students’ enthusiastic participation also led to the collection of 232 toners, 127 kilograms of glass, and 259 old mobile phones. These were handed over to the nearby recycling centre, thereby, preventing hazardous waste from getting into landfill and saving 40 cubic yards of landfill space. Students, who brought in more than 50 kilos of newspaper or seven used toners and seven used mobile phones, were awarded certificates.



Modern Mothers Making a Spectacular Difference

leave a legacy of sustainable behaviour and a pollution-free planet for


GEMS Dubai American Academy

A Scientist is an Adult Who is Still Curious Addressing a hall of wide-eyed GEMS Dubai American Academy students, Neil deGrasse Tyson, American astrophysicist and director of the Hayden Planetarium, spoke passionately about all things cosmos. Mr Tyson encouraged students to pursue things that serve their interests, but which might not be visible on an exam score. And as he took in the display of innovative resources available to and built by students, he encouraged creativity and asked teachers to not only teach content, but to stimulate curiosity. “It doesn’t matter what you teach,” Mr Tyson proclaimed. “There are bodies of knowledge everywhere. A school needs to make sure that the worst day of your life is the last day of school. And when you get out, that is the beginning of your education, not the end. If schools accomplish that, you can transform the world overnight.


“A school needs to make sure that the worst day of your life is the last day of school. And when you get out, that is the beginning of your education, not the end.” -Neil deGrasse Tyson

It is with great pleasure that we announce that GEMS Education is now certified with the globally recognised standard for health and safety management systems: BS OHSAS 18001:2007. This standard was introduced globally in order to help all kinds of organisations demonstrate sound occupational health and safety performance. But what does this mean to you as parents and how does it relate to your children? Firstly, it ensures that our health and safety standards have been assessed and verified by an independent and accredited third party organisation. Secondly, it demonstrates that GEMS Education is committed towards continually looking to improve its standards and benchmarking them against globally recognised standards and practices. Finally, it ensures that we have programmes in place to cover essential health and safety aspects, such as policies and procedures, training, emergency preparedness, hazard identification and risk assessment, and effective communication on health and safety. All of this essentially leads towards a safer environment for our students, employees, parents and visitors. This places GEMS Education amongst the few educational providers who hold this globally recognised health and safety standard. Furthermore, BS OHSAS 18001:2007 will transfer to an ISO standard during 2018, which will further enhance its reputation as the number one approach for benchmarking health and safety. Thank you to everyone involved in this achievement.



Safety is a Choice We Make


Speaking Up for Those Who Can’t Imagine a day filled with exceptional speakers, inspiring videos and astonishing conversations, and you are halfway to grasping what a TEDx event is all about. Rithika Ganesan, a Grade 11 student at GEMS Our Own English High School Dubai, was lucky enough to be asked to audition for TEDx at her own school, and then was further shortlisted for a second audition with a group of students from various schools across the U.A.E. “I realised that if I was to have the complete attention of an audience, even if only for a few minutes, I should be talking about something that was really close to my heart!” Rithika explained. With this in mind, she decided to talk about the discrimination she sees every day, on both a small and large scale, in seemingly harmless jokes and institutionalised biases against certain groups of people; hatred based on random characteristics that we have no control over. “I decided that if I was getting my voice heard, I had no choice but to speak for those who go unheard. So I did my best to address a lot of the issues. I have grievances against - racism, classism, and other ‘isms’ - and also summoned up the courage to share personal experiences that have shaped me as a person. “I am beyond grateful for the opportunity and exposure I received and I’d like to thank all of the teachers and co-ordinators involved in the event. It was quite an experience!” Rithika concludes.

GEMS Our Own English High School - Dubai

Every Picture Tells a Story Our Own English High School - Sharjah (Boys) is famous for taking in boys and turning out men who make a difference. This is at the very heart of the school’s ideology, and recently the students had the opportunity to absorb the ideas and wisdom of an incredible man, Ryan Lobo. Ryan, a very prominent figure with an incredibly creative mind, is constantly in the limelight with his photography and writing. In an interview conducted by Grade 11 students, Musab and Amaan, he entertained everyone with astonishing tales of his life and career. He also kept his audience eager for more by showing them many of his photos, each with a story of its own. Bangalore-based Ryan, whose work has appeared in National Geographic, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The Boston Review, The Caravan, and Bidoun Magazine, concluded the session with an inspiring and informative talk, before signing books for the clearly mesmerised students.


Our Own English High School - Sharjah (Boys)

Our Own English High School - Fujairah recently organised a Youth Leadership Programme for 62 students from Grades 8, 9, S2 and S3. Consisting of five individual sessions, it was designed to allow students to develop communication and leadership skills through practical experience, with the key modules being Public Speaking; Effective Leadership; Communication Skills; Leadership Etiquette; The Best Investment You Can Make is in Yourself; and Emotional Intelligence and Soft Skills in Leadership. Every session began with public speaking training based on the Toastmaster Club model, where a group of students were given a specific topic and then the evaluation was carried out by another set of students. A different but equally challenging task was an extempore speech session where students spoke instantly on topics selected. The coaches for the YLP were the Principal, Mr Himmat Dhillon, Headmaster and YLP Chief Co-ordinator Mr Haroon Ahmed, Teaching and Learning Supervisor Ms Raman Jeet Dhillon, and Senior Supervisors, Mr Tamoghna Chakraborty and Ms Mercy Jacob. Mr Duglas Joseph and Ms Marina Samuel coordinated the entire programme.

Grade 9 student Priyansh enjoyed the whole encounter, saying: “I learned a lot more from these lessons than from my previous experiences. The sessions helped to fine tune my public speaking abilities. What I learned apart from basic leadership skills was collaboration, working well with others, and finding out more about my strengths and weakness.” All in all, this Youth Leadership Programme was a wonderful opportunity for the young leaders to learn skills that will help them to succeed in the years ahead. In fact, Samtripthi, another participant from Grade 9, said that this programme was a turning point in her life.

Our Own English High School - Fujairah

Debate Teams: They’ve Got Issues Our Own English High School - Sharjah (Boys), Debating Society has held its annual ‘Crossfire Debates’ competition, aimed at sharpening minds and educating listeners, with students engaged in what proved to be a challenging yet social activity that promoted quick thinking, sound reasoning, and confident speaking. With the motion ‘Marketing with a Social Cause Gives Brands a Human Face’, two teams of five speakers each from the Senior Middle Department gave well-constructed arguments ‘for’ and ‘against’, examining every side of what is an important and controversial issue. Grade 10 student, Aryan Krishnan, was adjudged the ‘Best Speaker’ for the ‘for’ motion, whilst fellow Grade 10 student, Soham Chawda, was the Best Speaker ‘against’ the motion, also picking up the trophy for the Best Overall Speaker in the debate.

The Seniors, using the same format, debated on the motion ‘Intellectual Migration is Caused by a Lack of Belonging Rather than a Lack of Opportunities’, with Rithvik Rajan, Grade 12, winning the Best Speaker ‘for’ the motion and Akhil Sreenath, also of Grade 12, being awarded the Best Speaker ‘against’ the motion. Akhil also won the trophy for the Best Speaker of the debate.

Our Own English High School - Sharjah (Boy




Be the Leader You Would Want to Follow


Two-Time Winners are Quiz Stars Quizzing is second nature to the students at Our Own English High School - Fujairah, so it came as no surprise when they dominated the biggest quizzing event in the Middle East - the Star Quiz Challenge. This is the second time that Our Own English High School - Fujairah has been crowned Champions, with the team, comprising Nihal and Yasin, defeating most teams from the U.A.E. in Stage 1 to take its place among the top teams in the nation. There were 18 teams in all, including the highest scoring teams from the region that locked horns in subsequent rounds, with Our Own English High School - Fujairah progressing with ease through the quarter finals and semis. They then performed admirably in the final to come away with the Champion’s Trophy. Mr Satendra Verma, the coach and quiz coordinator of Our Own English High School - Fujairah, was visibly elated at his team’s success.

The team was given a grand reception back home after this massive feat. The Principal of the school, Mr Himmat S. Dhillon, was equally as delighted, dedicating the victory to the enthusiasm of the students and the support of their teachers and the parents.

Our Own English High School - Fujairah

The Power of Elocution Every time we put speech into practice, whether in conversation, reading, or public speaking, we employ the power of elocution. This is a point that underlines the fact that while companies and organisations need hard data to operate their businesses, stories are equally as important, as they fuel the passion and inspiration necessary to prosper. This power of elocution, or narration, is deeply instilled in many, but it is utilised only by a handful. The ability to narrate with patience, understanding and knowledge surpasses many intellectual skills. Now, imagine this feat being accomplished by not just one but an array of students, for this is exactly what Our Own English High School Sharjah (Boys) has achieved. Choral Elocution 2017, hosted by GEMS Millennium School - Sharjah, saw Our Own English High School - Sharjah (Boys) emerge victorious as second runners-up. A team of a whopping 36 students narrated a dramatic piece in breathtaking harmony, with their marvellous recitation being unmatched by any of the other six schools that took part in the competition. Along with the silverware, the students brought home a very important lesson: the power of team spirit, with the competition also imparting a lot of confidence to the speakers. This triumph serves to prove once again that the talent pool in the school knows no bounds.


Our Own English High School - Sharjah (Boys)

Our Own English High School - Fujairah

It is said that the more you know about your past, the better prepared you are for the future. And that is just one of the reasons why the Social Studies, Arabic and Islamic departments of Our Own English High School - Fujairah jointly organised a theme exhibition entitled ‘U.A.E. Past, Present and Future’. The exhibition threw light on the historical and cultural heritage of the nation, whilst showcasing its incredible progress and ambitious future plans. A range of exhibits were presented, among them a heritage village that vividly described the traditional lifestyle in the U.A.E., with its customs, traditions, professions and architecture. The students and parents enjoyed the opportunity to peak into the different styles of traditional local life, including those from the coast, the desert, and the mountains. There were a number of working models on display too, including one of the ‘’Dubai Frame’, which was extremely well received by visitors. The models of Burj Khalifa, Burj Al Arab, Palm Jumeirah, Atlantis Hotel, Al Bidhiya Mosque, Sheikh Zayed Mosque and Fujairah Fort were also very popular. The blend of Arabian and modern architecture was manifested in the construction of the skyscrapers of U.A.E. There was also a model of the U.A.E.’s ‘Hope Spacecraft’, which is expected to land on Mars in 2020 to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the founding of the nation. A display of Arabic calligraphy, in tandem with an Islamic section that educated visitors about the civilisation’s great achievements in various fields of knowledge, from science to technology and from art to literature, was a big hit with visitors, too.



The Roots of Our Culture


Maths Fun? You Can Count on It! Carnivals are loved by children of all ages. So setting up a two-day Maths Carnival at The Millennium School - Dubai for the students of Grades 1 and 2 was an inspired move, giving youngsters the chance to practice their maths skills while having fun. The auditorium was packed with all kinds of hands-on activities. The games were skill-based with a special emphasis on spatial skills, with Lego® Symmetry, Geo Boards, Tangram Puzzle, Chuck-a-Duck, Array and other challenges planned to enhance learning. The special attractions for Grade 1 were the Addition Centre, followed by Lego® Symmetry and Shape It Up, with Grade 2’s most popular activities being Fun with Lego®, Spin and Subtract, and Fun with Shapes. Students had a time limit to complete a set target, and those students who earned three coupons received a reward.


The Millennium School - Dubai

Research suggests that children who live in print-rich environments, and who are read to regularly, are more likely to develop stronger reading abilities and enter school prepared to succeed. However, in the highly digitised climate of our times, our reading habits have changed and evolved in so many ways. Children don’t necessarily have the luxury of lazing around with a good book or having a parent or adult read to them. With this in mind, the kindergarten section of Our Own English High School Al Ain hosted its first ‘Pyjama Day Readathon’. As the first event in a series of initiatives planned as part of the school’s reading calendar, the day was devoted to celebrating the written word. Of course, the children were thrilled with the novelty of wearing their pyjamas to school … and seeing all of their classmates do the same. Some even brought along their cushions, blankets and soft-toys, whilst the milk and cookies their parents sent along were an added bonus! Mattress games, bedtime stories and themed artwork were all featured, giving the children an ideal opportunity to develop reading habits, which in turn will encourage imaginative and creative thinking.


Books, Cookies and Pyjamas

Our Own English High School - Al



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Khalidiya Palace Rayhaan by Rotana is truly a hidden jewel in the heart of Abu Dhabi.


Stories that Promote Compassion Consistent with the values of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Year of Zayed is aimed at encouraging the involvement of people of all ages, nationalities, faiths and backgrounds in everything U.AE. related, both locally and internationally. Drawing inspiration from this, 298 Grade 4 students of GEMS Millennium School - Sharjah presented two spectacular shows of ‘Anwar Ul Hayat - Light of Life’, an inter-class competition based on stories from the Holy Quran. The intention was to raise awareness about Islamic beliefs, culture, norms and values. The impressive theatrical extravaganza delivered

GEMS Millennium School - Sharjah messages of forgiveness, kindness, humility, gratitude, tolerance, compassion, truthfulness and honesty. The Principal, Mrs Teresa Varman, commended students on their superlative performance and thanked the parent community for their wholehearted support. She spoke of the importance of moral education in a student’s life. “Moral thinking,” she said, “happens within a context. Stories prompt a discussion of what values or virtues are being demonstrated, and how one should behave in such situations, and why.” Parents gave the students a standing ovation, clearly amazed by the carefully designed costumes, the sheer talent of the students and, above all, the powerful message behind every performance.



A Style for Every Story

GEMS Millennium School - Sharjah


Although there have been literally hundreds of amazing fashion shows around the world over the past year, we seriously doubt that any of them will have been as memorable or downright entertaining as the ‘Kindergarten Fashion Fiesta’ at GEMS Millennium School - Sharjah. The students of KG1 and KG2 dressed up as their favourite storybook character, with their creativity, talent and confidence putting them firmly in the spotlight as they took to the stage and spoke eloquently about the character they were dressed as. Every inch of every look was impeccably done, and it was extremely difficult to separate the 120 youngsters competing for the top prizes. In many ways, though, everyone was a winner and all of the finalists received a memento, whilst the prize winners received a Certificate of Achievement and a special prize. It was a moment of joy and pride for the parents when the children were jointly congratulated by the Principal of GEMS Millennium School - Sharjah, Mrs Teresa Varman. It was a wonderful end to a charming story.

The Millennium School - Dubai

For more information please contact: Tel : +971 7 203 6666 Fax : +971 7 203 6667 Email :

Parents took advantage of some wonderful bargains when they attended ‘Souq Sale Day’, which hosted by The Millennium School - Dubai, was created in the form of an Arabic adventure in order to allow the little ones to further expand their learning about the nation and its culture. The children came dressed in traditional clothes of the U.A.E. and displayed great confidence as they greeted parents in Arabic. The students of KG 1 and 2 conducted the entire programme, which began with a Quran recitation followed by an interactive explanation about the event given by two of the children. Vibrant costumes were displayed as the students also performed an astonishing dance, before breaking out into Arabic song. Various counters were beautifully decorated with a white cloth bordered with the three colours of the U.A.E. flag. There was a wide array of attractive items on sale for what was an extremely good cause, and these, along with other attractions such as the ‘Food Stalls’, ‘Camel Rides’, ‘Henna Designing’ and a ‘Falcon Click’, were thoroughly enjoyed by everyone. All proceeds from this charity drive have been donated to Dubai Cares.

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Caring with Love and Goodies


Unlocking Knowledge at the Speed of Thought The enjoyment, excitement and thrill of the quiz world has always been a matchless experience, with the 14th Gulf Asian English Inter-School Quiz Championship helping students throughout the region to nurture their passion for quizzing and increase their knowledge-base. There were 21 schools competing in the Preliminary Round, with six teams qualifying for the Finals, where the Our Own English High School - Sharjah (Boys) team, consisting of Sidhaarthaa S.V. and Aniket Sandeep Dasurkar, emerged as second runner-up. The young quiz masters received individual trophies and gifts to mark their sterling effort throughout the competition.

Our Own English High School - Sha

rjah (Boys)

The Language of Leadership The 33rd K.S. Varkey Inter-School English Elocution Contest for Girls, held in memory of Mr K.S. Varkey, saw participants speak on inspirational themes such as ‘The Road Not Taken’ and ‘Don’t Let it End This Way’, plus several amusing contributions, including ‘The Naptaker’. There were 69 students from 21 schools across the U.A.E. participating in the Preliminary Rounds, which were held across four categories: Sub-Junior, Junior, Sub-Senior and Senior. In the Final Round, 22 speakers qualified based on the highest scores. The much coveted Overall Trophy was won by Our Own English High School - Fujairah, whilst winners of the Individual Championship Trophies were Aditi Manikandan (Sub-Junior) - Our Own English High School - Fujairah; Amanda Coutinho (Junior) of GEMS Modern Academy- Dubai; Krishna Biju Nair (Sub-Senior), Our Own English High School - Fujairah; Sarah Yasmin (Senior), GEMS Millennium School - Sharjah.


Our Own English High School - Fuja irah GEMS Modern Academy - Dubai GEMS Millennium School - Sharjah

Food is essential for life - a substance upon which civilisations and cultures have been built. It is, though also fundamental to the literary imagination. Who could forget ‘Ichabod’s Slapjacks’ from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, ‘Snow Candy’ from The Little House on the Prairie, or ‘Aunt Petunia’s Violet Pudding’ from Harry Potter? Yes, it seems as if we love food almost as much as we love books, and when the two things are combined the result can be mouthwatering! This was certainly the case when Our Own English High School - Sharjah (Boys) visited the 2nd Inter-School Literary and Cultural Festival, the ‘Lingua Esplendida’, which was hosted by GEMS New Millennium School - Dubai. In fact, it was a ‘delicious’ event in a number of ways for Our Own English High School - Sharjah (Boys), not least because Aniket Roy, Samir Mansur and Mohammed Hanif secured first place at the ‘Le Viandier’, a competition revolving around French cuisine. For their outstanding effort, the trio received an Alliance Française goodie bag filled with stuffed cherry tomatoes, French omelette and chocolate truffles.



Times Square Center, 1st Floor, Dubai, UAE, T +971 4 330 7101 E


A Delicious Literary Treat

Our Own English High School - Sha

rjah (Boys)




CONNECT WITH US kidzpalooza




Success is Your Destiny “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them,” proclaimed Walt Disney. Of course, there are many challenges along the way, with Our Own English High School Sharjah (Boys) student reporter, Vignesh Prasad from Grade 11, explaining one way in which his own school promotes self-belief and cultivates success. It is well known that success is no easy feat, and the path chosen can have many patches of thorns and spikes, with no goal being easy to attain without a ‘scratch’ or two. Numerous famous people who have changed the world for the better will attest to this. And in an educational institute of high standards, such as Our Own English High School - Sharjah (Boys), it is necessary that this philosophy be reiterated repeatedly. At our school, this objective is helped by bringing inspiring personalities to talk to the students. Hassan Hattab, an Emirati entrepreneur and innovator, graced our school with his presence recently, with the senior students enjoying his witty and action-based approach to his life story, which wasn’t without its own thorns and spikes. Hassan was very young, for instance, when he was blinded in his left eye, beginning a series of ‘hard knocks’. He revealed how fellow students bullied him, but how he chose to ignore them and work towards the objectives he had set himself. He now holds a distinguished position in the software field.

Hassan then took a few questions, both morally and technology inclined. His answers were spontaneous and his demeanour was quite casual and comedic, much to the delight of the students. It’s people like Hassan Hattab that ignite the flame in others, inspiring them with a ‘never say die’ spirit and a determination to succeed in spite of the challenges they may face.

Our Own English High School - Sha

rjah (Boys)

Our Own Boys Inquisitive Minds Reach Final Our Own English High School - Sharjah (Boys) team of Sidharthaa S.V. and Aswin Unnikrishnan of Grade 11 came fifth in the national round of ‘Inquisitive Minds’, a celebrated quiz competition held by Career Launcher in Bangalore, India. It is hosted by renowned quizmaster Harsha Bhogle, a chemical engineer turned cricket guru, acknowledged as not just the voice, but the face of Indian cricket. Our Own English High School - Sharjah (Boys) certainly hit much of the competition for six, with its two-man team reaching the final round from a field of 160 teaMs They came home with a trophy and a cash prize of INR 25,000.


Our Own English High School - Sha

rjah (Boys)


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By undergoing at least 10,000 hrs. of highly accelerated life testing to ensure it’s ready for the real world.

By twisting the laptop’s base & lid more than 25,000x, we can assure you the parts inside are well protected.

Commonly used keys are tested for 10 million keystrokes and touch pad buttons 1 million times with no failure.

STUDENT FAVOURITE Inspiron 13 5000 Series 2-in-1 Intel® Core™ i5-7200U processor, Windows 10 Home, 8GB RAM, 1TB HDD, Intel® HD Graphics, 13.3” FHD Touch Display, 1 year Carry in Service warranty. Starting Price

Available at all leading retailers








A Tape for Every Task Mend

Scotch® Magic™ Tape The original invisible and writable tape. Ideal for labeling, scanning and repair work.


Scotch® Transparent Tape Crystal-clear appearance for office sealing and mending tasks.

Visit us on: or Write to us on: Call us on: +9714 3670 899 or +97152 320 5714 Available at all leading retailers and


Scotch® Double Sided Tape A no-mess alternative to glue for light-duty attaching and mounting.


Scotch® Wall-Safe Tape Hang papers, cards and decorations and remove cleanly from walls.

For special promotions, use the QR code or the link below.


Scotch® GiftWrap Tape Unique satin finish. Disappears on most gift papers. scotch-tape/t/7864

3M, Magic, Scotch and the Plaid Design are trademarks of 3M. © 3M 2018.

GEMS Family Magazine Issue 16  
GEMS Family Magazine Issue 16