- Students and staff marked anniversary with time capsule and tree planting-ceremony
- Founding Principal, first Head Girl and Boy return to the school after three decades
- Virtual ceremony in honour of school founder, Madam Varkey, is attended by 700
GEMS Our Own Indian School (OIS) staff and students have penned personal messages for the future in a ‘time capsule’ as part of celebrations for the school’s 30th anniversary, with a special event also held in honour of founder Madam Mariamma Varkey.
Senior leaders of the school were invited to contribute to the commemorative ‘time capsule’ containing notes from 30 staff, as well as handwritten letters from Grade 2 students whose parents are alumni. Weaving the thread of legacy, these Grade 2 students will be in Grade 12 when the capsule is eventually dug up for the school’s 40th anniversary in 10 years.
GEMS Our Own Indian School, formerly Varkey International Private School, was founded in 1991 by Mr K.S. Varkey, Madam Varkey and GEMS Education Chairman and Founder, Sunny Varkey. In 2004, the school was renamed GEMS Our Own Indian School.
In memory of the late Madam Varkey, who passed away on 31 March 2021, the school’s annual prize-giving event, which honours top academic achievement, was named as Ruyat Al’ Um, meaning ‘A Mother’s Vision’.
The school celebrated its landmark with this special virtual event that was attended by more than 700 guests including alumni, parents, students and staff, including OIS Founding Principal Annie George, who shared her unique memories of leading the school in its first seven years from 1991.
She paid special tribute to Madam Varkey, saying: “Through my time at Varkey International Private School, I had the good fortune of having many interactions with Madam Varkey. I learned that she was not only tall in stature but held lofty principles.
“She never compromised on honesty, punctuality and hard work. Her doors were always open, nobody was denied entrance and nobody returned disappointed. She was warm, understanding and generous. My best wishes to the school as it endeavours to keep alive the vision of Madam Varkey.”
Additionally, the first Head Boy, Ahamed Faisal Abdul Azeez, and another of the school’s principals, Aziz Akhtar, gave addresses during the two-hour online ceremony.
Ahamed Faisal Abdul Azeez said: “My experiences at school have made me an honest and loyal person, traits that I am proud to have learnt from my teachers at school. Congratulations on 30 years of making education the most powerful tool in the world – we walk boldly because of you.”
The virtual celebration was also attended by the first Head Girl, Manju Mathew, who graduated top of her class in 1993. She shared the positive impact the school had on her personal and professional life, saying: “I was at Varkey International Private School for only one year, but that year was the best of my entire school life.
“When I was appointed Head Girl I went from being someone who stood in the shadows to being in the limelight, and it made me believe in myself. I learned about leadership, communication, teamwork, responsibility and confidence, all of which has shaped me into who I am today.”
Lalitha Suresh, Principal/CEO, Our Own Indian School – Dubai, said: “The journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step, and this powerful adage holds true for GEMS Our Own Indian School as we celebrate 30 glorious years of educating young people and shaping minds. The strength of our school has always been its strong staff-student relationships, which is evident in the efforts our staff make to nurture the talents and holistic personality of every child that enters our precincts.
“Students from GEMS Our Own Indian School – Dubai, past and present, emerge as world-class citizens underpinning the values of humility and empathy complemented by outstanding academic success. It is a privilege for me to lead this esteemed institution.”