Sheikh Mohammed surprises UAE school toppers with cash prize, heartfelt message

Last week, the students received a call from the Dubai Media Office, informing them that the royal gift had been dispatched to them


Sara AlKuwari

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Photos: Supplied / Screengrab
Photos: Supplied / Screengrab

Published: Tue 9 Jul 2024, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Wed 17 Jul 2024, 1:59 PM

‘We are proud of you and we bet on you.’ This was the message that high school toppers in the UAE received from none other than the country’s vice-president. The top students received thousands of dirhams in cash and the inspirational message engraved on the box that it came in.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, sent out the gifts and certificates to eight toppers for the academic year 2023-2024.

Photo: UAE media office/X
Photo: UAE media office/X

The students got another surprise on Tuesday when Sheikh Mohammed met them on the sidelines of the UAE Cabinet meeting in Abu Dhabi.

One of the students, Alia Hassan, said she would use the cash prize to buy a car. Aspiring to study physics at Khalifa University, she told Khaleej Times she was 'delightfully shocked' on finding out that she was a topper.

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Although Alia did not expect to be among the toppers, her English teacher, Aziza Al Ghafri, felt the opposite. "I always saw her as a second teacher in the class."

Alia Hassan
Alia Hassan

Another student, Maryam Al Zaabi, said she felt a deep sense of responsibility when she received the gift that carried the message, 'We bet on you'. “I hope I am worthy of this trust,” she said.

Last week, the students received a call from the Dubai Media Office, informing them that the royal gift had been dispatched to them.

A certificate signed by the Dubai Ruler states: "We congratulate you for your excellence, we congratulate your family for the joy and achievement, and we congratulate your country for your graduation, which will add a new building block in the process of growth and prosperity in our beloved country."

Maryam Al Zaabi
Maryam Al Zaabi

Maryam was touched by the gesture. "Yesterday, the wise leadership told us not to worry, and today we are the ones who tell you so."

Mayed Al Hamoudi from Al Fujairah Institute of Applied Technology said the news came as no surprise to him as he “planned all these years and worked really hard”.

Mayed Al Hamoudi
Mayed Al Hamoudi

However, the gift came as a pleasant surprise. “It will aid my academic education in the medical field.”

Waleed Al Asadi from International School Abu Dhabi, said he would invest the money to study human medicine. "I expected to be one of the toppers as it had been my goal all these years," said Waleed.

For Abdullah Mohammed, the gift was the culmination of many years of effort. "I aspire to study medicine, specialising in cardiac surgery."

His mother revealed that Abdullah was always among the top throughout his school, following in the footsteps of his elder brother.

Students expressed gratitude for the gifts they received and discussed their plans. "After I won the Emirates skills competition, I aspire to win the WorldSkills one,” said Alyazia Al Shamsi, who scored 99 per cent and aims to study engineering.

Alyazia Al Shamsi
Alyazia Al Shamsi

"I want to present my beloved country in the last stage of the competition,” she added.


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