Leading International Baccalaureate continuum school GEMS International School – Al Khail (GIS) marked its 10th anniversary recently at a packed event that saw the entire school community come together in celebration of a decade of progressive, impactful IB education.
The whole-school event held on 13 October saw VIP friends of GIS, long-serving staff, and students and their families who have been with the school since its opening in 2013 gather for a formal ceremony marking the occasion. Proceedings were streamed live in classrooms for all students to enjoy, in addition to a live stream for parents joining remotely.
In his opening speech, Simon Herbert, Head of School/CEO at GIS, said: “I would like to thank our GEMS Founder, Mr Varkey, for making the decision to open another IB school ten years ago. Who would have known back then that GIS would excel in all four IB programmes and be celebrated as a ‘Best IB Curriculum School in the UAE’ finalist two years running?
“However, an outstanding school is much more than results and awards; it is a community and has a strong culture. Our culture is one of respect, trust, and ambition and I would like to recognise all the leaders, teachers, administrative staff, and our wonderful families, both current and former, for helping to make GIS such a dynamic, warm, and special community, which has the care of students at its heart.”
GEMS Education’s Chief Education Officer, Dr Saima Rana, also gave a speech, while the Director General of the IB, Olli-Pekka Heinonen, as well as GIS’ founding principal, Ian Deakin, shared messages of congratulations via video played to attendees.
During the event, GIS Student President Tariebi Odubo and GIS Student Vice President Jeeya Mahajan also took to the stage. Both referenced how they have grown socially, emotionally, and academically during their time at school and gave credit to the teaching faculty. They also read a testimonial from Tima Al Madanat, a former GIS pupil who complimented the school community for preparing her for her future career and giving her happy memories.
Speeches were interspersed with a rousing performance by the school’s talented Primary Years Programme Choir and a special gift presentation by GISPA, the school’s parent association, whose members play an active, ever-present role in school life.
In the days running up to the event, GIS students were engaged in a variety of recycling and upcycling art projects themed around sustainability. These resulted in the creation of a ‘friendship bench’ as well as anniversary decorations for display at the entrance to the school.
Primary Years Programme and Middle Years Programme students took part in a 10-year poster competition, with winning entries turned into framed pictures gifted to VIPs joining the celebrations, as well as fridge magnets for GIS staff, students, and parents who have been with the school for its full 10 years.
Students also baked special 10th anniversary cookies, which were devoured with gusto by the school community, while GISPA, hosted workshops for students involving a variety of activities such as face painting and arts and crafts, all connected to the birthday theme.
GEMS International School – Al Khail is a full IB continuum school offering all four IB programmes – the Primary Years Programme, Middle Years Programme, Diploma Programme, and Career-related Programme. It is also home to the GEMS Education Centre of Excellence for Aviation, Aeronautics, and Space, and recently opened its new Innovation Hub, which teaches and nurtures creative and critical thinking while inviting students to imagine themselves as designers, engineers, and inventors.