An Odyssey of Adventure at School

One Tribe One Family

Written By: Maha Eshaal - Grade 6

“One tribe, One family,” those big, bold words stared back at me as I walked along the long, colorfully decorated hallways of this strange place. Very, very intimidating, at least it was, until I saw this woman, smiling ear-to-ear, making the place less intimidating. I would later find out she was my class teacher. Now, to a kid who didn’t know how to speak English, I could’ve mistaken this place, these people, for aliens on a whole other planet! But as I walked into this unfamiliar room, I found myself smiling and running around to talk to everyone, eager to make new friends. Though now that I look back, I’m pretty sure they all didn’t understand a word I said. There I was, a 4-year-old kid, on her first day of kindergarten. Little did I know, it would be the start of an inexplicably new, exciting 8-year-long (and counting!) journey. Oops! Let’s backtrack a little!

Hey! My name’s Maha, and I’m currently a student in Grade 6 studying at GEMS Westminster School, RAK. That’s right, 8 whole years at one school! 8 years filled with memorabilia I’ll keep for a lifetime, so, I thought I’d share some of it with you!

Let’s start with my first truly memorable event: I learned English! When I came to this school, the only English word I knew was “Rabbit” (it’s a 4-year-old who was obsessed with rabbits, what else would they know?), and through the help of my amazing teachers and many reading and writing sessions later, I could actually hold conversations with people and understand what they were saying without thinking they were aliens!

The following academic year was probably when I truly felt in place. It was my graduation from kindergarten, I’d done it! With the help of my teachers, friends, and interactive lessons, I was now standing beside my peers, wearing a cap and gown, and giving a speech (which was probably totally unrelated to school, but that’s beside the point!).

The next 4 years following graduation were filled with learning, exams, socialising, and much more! And all of a sudden, somehow, I found myself in Grade 5, at my investiture ceremony, taking an oath to work in the best interest of my school. Seeing my teachers’ joy at my success alongside my peers made me truly happy and confident in myself. During Grade 5, I was lucky enough to get the chance to also be a part of multiple inter-school competitions! They were really helpful not just in my academic journey, but also gave me an edge for respectful debate, critical thinking, and engaging in intellectual conversation.

All these academic achievements are truly great, but I would be lying if I said the social aspect of school wasn’t amazing as well! The external assessments we do at the beginning of the academic year help teachers to optimise the lessons, which helped me to communicate better, and soon enough, I went from being told to speak more, to quiet down!

These 8 years at school have taught me so many things, and not just in Maths, Science, and English either. I got to learn how to engage in conversation and overall gained skills that I will be carrying throughout the rest of my life. I can proudly say that I didn’t just learn the properties of a triangle! Now, in Grade 6, I find myself counting down the days until I can go back to school again. For that, I’ll be forever grateful. This school has truly proven to be “One tribe, One family,” a second home I can confide in.