Reflection on Roots & Shoots Awards 2017

The bus cut trough the dense fog and paved its way as two students and a teacher inside anticipated the arrival at the destination. On the 12th of January, 2017, Siraj Anwar of IB1 and Irene Boby of 9G1, represented our school, GEMS Modern Academy at the Annual Roots & Shoots Awards 2017, sponsored by the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi, which was also celebrating it’s 20th Anniversary.
As they shook off the numbness in their feet after the long drive to Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel and Villas, the support staff helped them unload upcycled art pieces from the bus and into a conference hall.

IMG-20170112-WA0029 A table was picked and a beautiful display was set — the end results of the creativity and brainstorming sessions between the teachers and students. The display included the Art Department’s craft projects made out of reused materials and a tree that was named ‘Modern’s Giving Tree’ on which were pasted leaves with QR codes that contained links to all the activities our school and students have undertaken for a healthier environment and community.

IMG-20170112-WA00319999Everyone was ecstatic at the arrival of Dr. Jane Goodall and when she floated across from the table beside and stopped at Modern’s table, our students were entranced. Siraj introduced the school and along with Irene, they launched into describing the list of activities that our school had partook in, and dwelled at every approving smile or pleased node from her direction. The highlight was when Dr. Jane Goodall marveled at the beautiful up cycled art piece, created by our students.

20170112_100553It was a wooden shark cutout on which used bottle caps were pasted. The immense pride felt for Modern when Dr. Goodall praised the creativity of the piece is incomparable.


After Dr. Goodall had visited every other table, everyone left the displays and proceeded to take their seats The next part of the event then commenced in which different schools addressed a burning
environmental issue in the form of a creative show ranging from plays and skits to poems and songs. An adapted poem titled ‘Don’t you love your mother?’, written by Irene was performed by our school and a copy of the poem was presented to Dr. Jane Goodall.

Following the performances Jane Goodall addressed the gathering with an inspiring and motivating 30 minutes. She talked about her journey so far and how thrilled she was at witnessing so many schools take initiative under Roots & Shoots. She even shared anecdotes of her life when she started of with her work and reassured that everyone can make through despite all the struggles thrown at them. The minutes went by fast and everyone, for a second, wished that Dr. Goodall would never stop and would just keep talking. Such was the care and concern she had for the world that it reached out to every single person in the hall that day. It is remarkable how even in her eighties, Dr. Jane Goodall bubbles with charisma, concern, and fresh ideas on how to combat the issues of today’s world. It was a proud moment when she
briefly mentioned the poem ‘Don’t you love your mother?’ and called it ‘lovely’.

A20170112_133115fter the captivating talk, each school was invited on stage to accept a trophy from Dr. Jane Goodall along with a signed copy of her book ‘In the Shadow of Man’. Towards the end the gathering was addressed by different influential members of Roots & Shoots and the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi. The students were then given an educational talk on Hawkbill turtles and the challenges they face. Everyone was then invited to a Turtle Survival Challenge (in which we would pretend to be Hawkbill turtles trying to survive amidst all the plastic) and a Beach Hunt.

The Roots & Shoots Awards gave everyone an opportunity to share ideas and projects for the betterment of our society, wildlife and environment. Interacting with other schools gave our students insight into different viewpoints on the same issue.

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