• Students, alumni, parents and staff join award ceremony on board the QE2
• Scholarship launched in June to celebrate Queen Elizabeth's 70-year reign
• Thousands entered prestigious award initiated by Founder Sunny Varkey
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates: Seventy GEMS Education students joined GEMS Founder and Chairman, Mr Sunny Varkey, and other VIPs to celebrate winning Platinum Jubilee Scholarship Awards, launched earlier this year to celebrate Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's 70 years on the throne.
The event was fittingly held on the world-famous Queen Elizabeth 2 cruise ship, which was launched by The Queen herself 53 years ago and is now docked permanently at Port Rashid, Dubai.
The recipients received their trophies and certificates, to accompany a scholarship covering a full academic year's tuition at their GEMS school, after being selected from thousands of entries in the unique competition honouring the long reign and many qualities of The Queen.
Students were challenged with explaining in essays of no more than 500 words why they also possessed the same merits of dedication to duty, resilience, kindness, and other qualities of Her Late Majesty, who died in September this year.
Sunny Varkey, Founder and Chairman, GEMS Education and the Varkey Foundation, said: “As the UAE's oldest and largest school operator with an unmatched record of offering quality education in British curriculum schools dating back 63 years, we felt the Platinum Jubilee Scholarship Award was the perfect way for us to pay tribute to Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth.
“Our educational offering to all our students is anchored to core values as exhibited by The Queen throughout her life and these young scholarship winners have all shown us that they too are blessed with these timeless qualities. It was a pleasure for me to greet them in person and to meet many of their parents, whose support to their children and our schools plays such a pivotal role in these stories of success and achievement.”
Dino Varkey, Group Chief Executive Officer, GEMS Education, also participated in the ceremony. He said: “Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was a role model to so many over her 70-year reign and we can all learn much from her example of selfless dedication to duty, resilience, and kindness towards others. I am delighted to have joined so many of our students and their parents in this celebration of Her Late Majesty's contribution to humankind while saluting our Scholarship winners' qualities.”
The event was hosted in the theatre of the QE2 by GEMS' Chief Education Officer and CEO/Principal of GEMS World Academy – Dubai, Dr Saima Rana. GEMS' Chief Operating Officer, Zafar Raja, and Vice-Presidents of Education also attended.
One of the Scholarship recipients was 12-year-old Ruslana Khakimova of GEMS Founders School – Dubai. Ruslana, who hails from Kazakhstan and runs her own blog called Ruslana Science, said: “This was such a magical, unforgettable evening for us all – it was a privilege to be involved in this amazing tribute to Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth and to meet Mr Sunny Varkey and Mr Dino Varkey in person to receive my scholarship trophy and certificate. This award gave me new sets of wings and inspired me to strive further and try harder. Thank you GEMS for teaching us to dream big!”