The Panther

The Secondary Newsletter of GEMS United School - October 2019 Edition

Secondary School - November Edition


As we enter our first school break I am reminded of the resilience of our community. Students and staff have been full steam ahead since the first day of school. Students show up every day ready to learn and our attendance records are proof of their dedication. The projects I have seen in Science, World Languages, and Social Studies are some examples of students bringing their, "learning to life". With Expo2020 on the horizon our students will have many opportunities to showcase their understanding of the world around them. I have no doubts that we have many inventors here on our campus and I'm excited to be a part of such an exciting time!

Assistant Principal

These last couple of weeks our students have been making goals for themselves. It is impressive to see the expectations they have for both academics and in some cases their personal lives. There is everything from being more organized, focusing more on reading, becoming a better athlete, to helping family members at home. Paralleling these conversations is the mentality that our community has become more appreciative of each other and thankful for all we have. I would also like to take a moment and say thank you to the entire community – students, parents, and staff for all they have done to help build a school that supports a better tomorrow. United our dreams become a reality, so let’s make goals for ourselves to uplift everyone.


Morning Tardiness:

Please ensure your sons/daughters are arriving with plenty of time to prepare for the learning day. This will help them feel ready and be able to connect with teachers and friends in the morning.

Punctuality shows respect for their fellow classmates and their teachers. Tardiness affects not only the student who is late, but disrupts the entire classroom as well. If your child is late to school in the morning these are being recorded as an unexcused tardy. Students arriving after 8:30 a.m. are considered tardy and will be issued a tardy slip.

Tardiness is recorded and appears on the student's academic report card.

If students are habitually tardy for first period, consequences in accordance with the Student Handbook will be followed.

Thanksgiving Lunch

Parents, staff, and students came together for our annual Thanksgiving lunch. The auditorium transformed into a community dining experience. To see everyone sitting together enjoying a meal was truly heartwarming. Thank you to GUS Parents for organizing and creating an environment of inclusiveness and kindness. We appreciate you!!

Counselors' Corner

  • Transition; Does it Ever Really End?

Those of you who have been roaming about the world for a few years know this is the time of year when folks often hit a wall. Especially newbies (kids, colleagues, parents) who have just got over the crazy “honeymoon” period which is “settling in.” The reality often smacks us in the face at this time and everyone reacts differently. Some roll with transitions, while others find the change extremely difficult…..and the rest fall somewhere in between.

Many factors contribute to how we are feeling…

Am I traveling solo? Did I come with my spouse? Is he/she happy? Is it my first time overseas? Have things fallen into place smoothly? or Has it been a #*&%ing nightmare? Do I have kids? Do they love it? Do they hate it? Do they hate me? Is it a combo depending on how many kids you have? So many different variables and each person/couple/family is different.

The United Nations recently recognized as World Mental Health Day. Coincidence….I think not. Someone at the UN grew up overseas!

The November Wall can manifest itself in different ways for different people:

  • Students may regress both socially and academically as they are coming to terms with their new reality.
  • We can sometimes become reactionary due to stressors that we are unaware of.
  • Friends may feel they’ve used up all the mental & emotional reserves they have dealing with so many things that are new, unfamiliar or still unknown.
  • Even seasoned expats are not immune.

What can we do to help?

  • Bring a big bucket of EMPATHY with you wherever you go. Listen more than you talk.
  • Reach out to “new” families and check-in.
  • Have potentially difficult conversations in person rather than by email or text.
  • It’s okay for someone to be an Eeyore but we can also help people reframe to see the positives.
  • Be patient with your kids…heck…be patient with everyone. De-escalate rather than react.

If you are in need of support, or you see a community member in need please don’t hesitate to reach out to Megan, Matthew or myself. Trust your intuition.

I hope your holiday weekend is filled with the things that make your heart sing. For me, a trip to Anfield to see my beloved Liverpool play….oh and my older brother as well!




We are well underway with senior college applications. Students are encouraged to continue to meet with their counselor and advisors regarding university applications and deadlines.

Here is a link to upcoming events taking place at GEMS United School. Start the conversation early and keep an open mind as there are some hidden gems in places you traditionally may not have considered.

Meditation Wednesdays

On Wednesday mornings, we invite parents and students to join us in the GEMS United School auditorium from 8-8:25AM for relaxation techniques. We will explore muscle relaxation, meditation, and breathing exercises. This is a great way to shake off the stress of our busy lives and also to deal with test anxiety. Participation is linked to an overall increase in general health and well-being. Please mark your calendars and join!

Please contact us if you need anything.

Joe Murphy - MS Counselor

Matthew Abbate - HS Counselor


OUR PANTHERS JUST CAN’T STOP WINNING! Congratulations to our boys and girls Varsity Soccer teams who competed in the DASSA 7s football cup at Dubai college the weekend before last. Our boys team were unlucky to lose out on penalties in the final finishing as runners-up and our girls went the whole way to be crowned champions! This tournament had all of the best division one football teams competing and our Panthers really showed up, turning a lot of heads with their success!

As Season one wraps up we already have some Season 2 events starting for Middle School students. Make sure to keep up to date with our results and upcoming events table.

Middle School boys and Girls who wish to attend the basketball and soccer tournaments on the 7th of December make sure to attend practices next week on Wednesday 4th and Thursday 5th mornings from 7.00 – 8.00 am for all teams. Any students who cannot attend these practices should make sure to inform their coaches in advance.

Final call for students in secondary wishing to compete in Gymnastics. Please register your interest with Ms. Jung so she can follow up with details of the event. A minimum of 5 students is required for a team to compete.

Finally our Health and Physical Education department are excited to be hosting our annual secondary sports day on Tuesday the 10th of December. This year we will also be having some TEACHER VS. STUDENT basketball and soccer games for BOTH Middle school and High School students separately. Parents are welcome to come out on the day and support! WHICH HOUSE WILL WIN THIS YEAR????


All season 2 sports teams with the exception of our Middle School development Soccer and Basketball which have already started, will begin the first week back in school in January. Try-outs will take place on the assigned training days and the full schedule for these will be posted before the winter break.

Please see below what sports we have upcoming in Season 2.

Schools Buddy

Reminder to all students and parents who are using the school buddy app on an android device to please go to the Googleplay store to update your application as a new update has been added. If you are having any issues with using School Buddy or need an email address added to communications regarding sports games and events, please ensure to email our Athletic Director.


Best of luck to all of our teams competing over the next week! Make sure to follow all of their progress on our Panthers Instagram or twitter pages @ us_panthers

Liam Kirwan, Athletic Director

For any questions regarding sports teams, please email

Week Without Walls 2020

MS Local Trip Option

Grades 6-8 mixed: Ecoventure Water Camp

Ecoventure info Ecoventure videos

Dates: February 23th- February 26th 2020

Duration: 4 days

Cost: All inclusive: AED 2258 due Sunday, January 26th 2020

A small deposit would be appreciated by the end of November to keep track of numbers.

WWW Faculty Advisor

Jennifer Hamlet

For any questions regarding Week Without Walls trips, please email Ms. Hamlet at

National Day Celebration

May this UAE 48th National Day brings fortune and success for each and every one of us. May the UAE see more progress and prosperity in the coming years.. Happy UAE National Day!

The National Day is celebrated on the 2nd of December each year in the United Arab Emirates. It marks the UAE's Union Day between the six emirates which was followed by the joining of the seventh Emirate, Ras Al Khaimah, in 1972. Grand celebrations and festivities are held across the country to mark the event.

We were honored to have Ms. Fatima Alloghani, the Head of Expo Academy and Emiratization, come and speak to our community. She shared some favorite Emirate traditions and customs with students. We also were given some firsthand information regarding Expo2020 which was very exciting. It was a pleasure to have Ms. Alloghani as our guest and we feel fortunate to have support from our local Emirate community.

During our whole school assembly, students performed dances, played the drums, and quizzed us on our knowledge of all things UAE!! After the assembly students participated in a variety of activities which highlighted the excitement of the upcoming National day.

What's Happening Around Campus?

Alex Cerqueira (Secondary Social Studies teacher) intertwined food and its historical significance by having students in his African History class prepare a few common dishes from countries in Africa. The students shared information about the origin of the dishes and how colonization of the continent impacted the cuisine of the land. Afterwards, they all sat together and enjoyed the fruits of their labor and shared the meal sampling tastes from many different regions. What a great treat it was for an interactive practical application of learning!

Young Innovators Expo!

The GUS Science Department will be hosting an Innovation Expo on the 4th and 5th of December. This event is an opportunity to allow students to showcase the innovations that they have been collaborating on for the last couple of weeks. The innovation expo is being promoted by Dubai Expo 2020.

Students have created a Napkin design of their innovation and this has been uploaded to the internet on the young innovators website.

The next step is to create a First Version of the innovation: a mock up / model or poster of their creation. Students will also submit a 30 sec video OR a series of pictures that illustrates their innovation in use ( to be uploaded too).

The following week we will celebrate their hard work with our own Expo. The projects will be displayed in the D block Foyer at GUS . We are hoping that parents can attend and share in this experience.

Important Information

If you will be leaving the school and relocating during the Winter Break, please make sure to notify us. You will need to formally withdrawal from school and inform the Registrar if you will need any documents from the school. Please reach out if you have any questions, you can come visit the Admissions Office or email Kambree Moses at

Professional Development Day and UAE Holiday

On Thursday, Nov. 28th there will be NO SCHOOL for students on this date as our staff and faculty will spend the day in Professional Development. UAE holidays will be December 1, 2, 3rd. Students will resume classes on Wednesday, December 4th.

GEMS US Uniforms

We would like to remind students and parents that ALL students are required to wear the GEMS United School uniform. BPA uniforms are no longer permitted as outlined at the end of the last academic year.

Also note, students have been reminded they are only permitted to wear Threads official GEMS US sweaters and hoodies along with any school sponsored attire. Plain sweaters and sweatshirts are not permitted as part of our school attire.

GEMS US swimsuits are required from grades 2-8 and high school students do not need to purchase swimwear unless participating in our Panther aquatics program. In addition to swimwear, all students participating in swimming classes are required to purchase a swimming cap and goggles are highly recommended.

Additionally, just a reminder school shoes for students in grades 1-12 are ALL BLACK (including black soles and laces). For all physical education classes, students are to wear athletic shoes and they may be any color, but must have non-marking soles.

Thank you for your cooperation and partnership.

Library Information

See what's new in the library this month!

Library News

GEMS Jewels of Kindness

At GEMS US we care about values education and seek to encourage our students to grow and develop in their personal and interpersonal qualities. We also value our partnership with parents: children learn best when there is close collaboration between home and school. We thank you for your continued support and the regular close contact we have between home and school.

At GEMS US we see acts of Kindness daily at school as our students demonstrate care and concern for one another. The value of kindness begins at home and we are excited to recognize the respectful, empathetic, helpful and compassionate acts that our kids show towards their family members and friends outside of school.

Our GEMS US Jewels of Kindness initiative has begun and we are reaching out to parents for support. Please let us know when your child demonstrates an act of kindness at home. Maybe they cleaned up their room without being asked, gave a compliment to someone, or perhaps they just gave you a hug and said they love you. Our children demonstrate kindness each day and we would like to recognize and reinforce this important family value.

How has your son or daughter shown empathy, compassion, respect or helpfulness? Please send your “Jewels of Kindness” to Mr. Murphy at

We will recognize each student’s special achievement through our Newsletter and our weekly assemblies.

Together we are GEMS United School and we thank you for your continued support!


GEMS Credit Card: A chance to win back up to AED 25,000 in school fees and more. Simply apply for a FAB GEMS Credit Card and spend AED 1,000 to get 10 entries into the draw. Already have the card? Keep spending and get 10 entries for every AED 1,000 spent. Paid your GEMS school fees with the GEMS card? Then get an additional 20 entries into the draw. All of this is on top of a 4.25% discount* available on advance payment of GEMS school fees on a GEMS Credit Card. To register send an SMS to 2121 and write “GEMS”.



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