Watching live, creating posters: How UAE schools celebrated Sultan AlNeyadi's return

Several schools in the astronaut's hometown, Al Ain, stopped regular classes to witness the historic splashdown


Nasreen Abdulla


Nandini Sircar

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Published: Tue 5 Sep 2023, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Tue 5 Sep 2023, 5:32 PM

For 5-year-old Eisa Almulla, the events of September 4 will forever remain etched in memory. "I watched Sultan AlNeyadi return to Earth and then saw him coming out of the spacecraft," he said excitedly. Al Baraim Kindergarten students in Sharjah also witnessed AlNeyadi blast off to space six months ago and attended a 'Call from Space' session at the Sharjah Planetarium. "I didn't get a chance to ask a question then, but I hope when he comes back, he visits my school," he said.

Eisa was one of the thousands of students around the UAE who watched the Emirati astronaut return to Earth after a historic space mission. At home, he made an artwork with the help of his mother to celebrate the occasion.

Eisa Almulla
Eisa Almulla

Year 10 student from Jumeirah College, Lamia Al Abbasi, also got the unforgettable opportunity to participate in a Call from Space. "I really enjoyed when the school gave us the opportunity to talk to him, and I have learned a lot from Sultan answering other students' questions," she said. "As an Emirati, I am really proud of how far Sultan AlNeyadi went to achieve Sheikh Zayed's dream. I am passionate about everything Sultan has achieved. I watched Sultan's safe return this morning, along with the rest of my class. We were relieved to see him return safely."

At Aspen Heights British school, young learners in FS2 created 'Welcome home to earth' pictures for AlNeyadi while the Year 12 students collaborated on making posters about what attributes the astronaut would have had to possess to complete this mission.

Aspen Heights British school student
Aspen Heights British school student

"The messages that we want our students to come away with are around the importance of teamwork," said Emma Shanahan, Principal of the school. "Space missions require close collaboration and trust among crew members. Astronauts demonstrate the power of effective teamwork, communication, and problem-solving."

National hero

In AlNeyadi's hometown of Al Ain, several schools stopped regular studies to watch the landing live. At GEMS Our Own English High School, Al Ain, all students watched the broadcast with their classmates and teachers. "Sultan AlNeyadi is a national hero - and for our students to see someone who hails from Al Ain - just as they do - reach the stars and make their nation proud is truly inspirational," said Rocky Miller, Principal and CEO of the school. "I believe it is a moment that will stay with them for years."

At GEMS Al Barsha National School, students attended educational sessions and discussions and watched the event's live broadcast. "Such global events are of paramount importance in students' education, as they offer real-world examples of dedication, perseverance, and national pride," said Principal and CEO Karim Murcia. "They serve as inspirational moments that can motivate students to pursue their own dreams and goals."

Lynsey Herron, a Year 3 Teacher at the GEMS World Academy in Abu Dhabi, said her students were excited to watch the event. "The children cheered as the capsule containing Sultan and his colleagues landed at 8.17am this morning," she said. "They were delighted to see him emerge from the capsule exactly an hour later, smiling and giving a thumbs up. It was a proud and historic day for the UAE."


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