GEMS Dubai American Academy celebrates 25th anniversary with launch of new wellbeing centre

DAA WISE Centre - Dr Ethan Hildreth with Elementary Choir
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GEMS Dubai American Academy (DAA) has celebrated 25 years of outstanding service to the Dubai community with the official opening of its brand-new WISE Center for Wellbeing in the company of teachers, students, parents, and special guests and friends of the school.

The state-of-the-art space, dedicated to promoting wellbeing, inclusion, safeguarding, and environment, comprises an immersive and interactive classroom, a 95-seat amphitheatre, a private therapy room, a podcast studio, various meeting spaces, a Family First room, and a café. It will also be home to the DAA Parents Association office.

Commenting on the school’s unique new provision, Dr Ethan Hildreth, DAA’s Superintendent/CEO, said: “GEMS Dubai American Academy leads on the forefront of global international education, having helped generations of learners thrive for a quarter of a century.

“In this, the 25th year of DAA, the WISE Center for Wellbeing recognises our legacy of care while carrying us into the future. The WISE vision supports all members of our school community in continuing development of wellbeing, inclusion, safeguarding, and environment.”

The event was opened by the school’s elementary choir, who gave a rousing rendition of the song ‘Lean on Me’ by Bill Withers. DAA’s student Wellness Ambassadors and Middle School Ambassadors then welcomed guests, who included GEMS Education’s Group Chief Executive Officer, Dino Varkey, and Group Chief Operating Officer, Zafar Raja.

To mark the 25th anniversary, a student-designed time capsule was ‘buried’ in the entrance to the WISE Center, ready to be unearthed again after a further 25 years when DAA celebrates its 50th birthday in 2049.

The 3D-printed capsule contains letters from school staff and the DAA parent association, photos capturing highlights of the 2023-24 academic year, a Class of 2024 graduation cap, students’ posters and memorabilia, as well as a woodcut DAA logo.

It also features a laser-printed metal QR code leading to a digital folder where further items and visuals will be saved over the coming years, acting as an enduring record of DAA’s profound legacy.

DAA first opened its doors in 1998 and is today the only American curriculum school in the emirate to be judged Outstanding by KHDA – a rating that it has maintained since 2011. The hugely popular school, named ‘Best American Curriculum School 2023-24’ at the Top Schools Awards 2023, also offers the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme.

The launch of DAA’s new WISE Center for Wellbeing precedes the upcoming opening of its brand-new middle school block in August 2024. This purpose-built space will allow DAA to future proof students’ learning with bespoke teaching spaces, common rooms, a new canteen, a research library, outdoor green spaces, outdoor dining, study areas, and various specialist sports facilities.

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