GEMS Jumeirah Primary School celebrates its silver jubilee with digital-free classes and a 1990s ‘street party’

03 October 2021

•    GEMS Chairman and Founder Mr Sunny Varkey attended school’s ribbon cutting
•    Students learned about the 1990s and relived 1996 by going without digital devices
•    The outstanding British primary school held a 1990s-themed party for its students

Dubai, United Arab Emirates: GEMS Jumeirah Primary School has celebrated its 25th anniversary by turning the clock back to the 1990s when social media barely existed, DVDs had only just been launched, and Dolly the Sheep became the first mammal to be successfully cloned.

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The much-loved primary school has been at the centre of the Jumeirah community for a generation. From its humble beginnings as a villa with only 30 boater-hat-wearing students, the school has grown into maturity with world-class facilities and 1,469 students. The school’s heritage was celebrated by students, staff and parents as they relived fond memories and looked ahead to the next 25 years.

Rachel Higgins, Principal, GEMS Jumeirah Primary School, who has been leading the school for 18 years, said: “I am immensely proud to be serving the JPS community in the school’s 25th year. This school has been the fulcrum of the Jumeirah community for a generation, and its longevity is testimony to the dedication of our teaching staff and the trust of our families.

As we look to the next 25 years, we believe that the school will go from strength to strength with every passing term. Although we’ve grown from 30 to 1,450 children in 25 years, the values, family feel and heart of the school have remained the same throughout that time. We’re now a vibrant community of 71 different nationalities.”

The anniversary celebrations began with an official ribbon cutting, with GEMS Education Chairman and Founder, Mr Sunny Varkey, making a special appearance to cut the ribbon.

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The school’s Founding Principal, Ms Dianne Wilton, who worked with Mr Varkey to open the school, expressed her well-wishes to the school via video from the UK, where she is now retired.

She said: “When JPS began, it was a tiny villa not far from where it is today. There were just 30 children and the whole school could fit in a room the size of a classroom. JPS is still the same happy school with happy children and wonderful teachers and assistants. My contribution to JPS was at the very beginning, and I’m grateful to Mr Sunny Varkey for enabling me to lay the foundations for what was to become one of the best schools not only in Dubai but in the whole UAE. Happy 25th birthday, JPS!

Students had the chance to learn about life in the 1990s and the major events of that era. Year 5 also had classes without the use of digital devices throughout the week, while students celebrated with a 1990s-themed ‘street party’ in the main hall.

Santhi Mathew, Storekeeper-in-Charge at JPS, is the school’s longest serving member of staff, having joined the school 24 years ago – a few months after the school’s official opening. Her husband also worked at the school. She said: “I am very proud and happy to have been part of the school for the past 24 years. This school is like family to me, and I wish the school even more success in the future.”