This has been a rich and exciting holiday for a number of our students and staff.
The basketball tour was a huge success. A number of the members of our successful U16 Boys Basketball team headed to Prague to take part in the annual Eurobasket Tournament, part of a new team called the Taaleem Titans. We partnered with our previous rivals and Taaleem friends Uptown to take on some of Eastern Europe’s best teams. This is the first time ever the UAE has been represented at this event which has 18 categories and traditionally only permits elite basketball clubs to participate. We did extremely well, with the 2002 team winning first place and the 2003 team coming 3rd in their category (the 2002 team means that the players were born in 2002 – a very sensible age division system). Our thanks go to the Middle East office of Alumil for sponsoring the team and providing a new professional sports kit for each player. Thank you, too, to Matt Christensen and Jackie Ronalds for coaching and managing the team.
Greenfield has had a long association with an orphanage in Lucknow in India which was started by the parents of Neeraj and Mona Massey, two of our longest serving colleagues. A group of our Grade 11 students, led by Mike Worth and Emma Holmes, travelled there and painted classrooms, murals and did a great deal of manual labour to improve the building. This forms an integral part of the Service Learning component of the Career and Diploma Programmes.
Andrew Ritter and Michelle Sakande led a group of students to Nepal where they did community service work. The country is still struggling to recover from the effects of the earthquake two years ago and, they supported a World Challenge programme to improve the infrastructure in the village. They also took a hike up into the spectacular foothills of the Himalayas. It was an amazing opportunity to experience a very different culture and landscape and to give of their time and resources.
Expeditions like these are a rich opportunity for our students to enjoy new experiences, make lifelong friends, become more internationally minded, and to engage with communities that may be poorer in material terms but have a great deal to give in other ways.
There is an international trend, and it is particularly visible in schools and education, to shield children from risks. Health and Safety has become a growing priority in schools worldwide. Whilst it is a good thing, I would not want to remove challenge and adventure entirely from the lives of our students. They should be given the opportunity to travel to new places, to climb mountains, ride bicycles or surf waves, to make friends with young people from a variety of backgrounds, to cross the barriers of wealth and culture that exist in our local and broader communities and, in so doing, to learn it is in giving that we receive.
Thank you to all our staff who give up their holiday time to make these adventures for our students possible. Their commitment to the students creates adventures and experiences that they will remember as one of the highlights of their school days.