Four graduates of the class of 2021 from Qatar Academy Al Khor talk about how they coped during a most-unique academic year
For those students graduating from Qatar Academy Al Khor, school was not only a place of learning, but it was a home away from home where they spent many years and where they formed strong bonds within the community of Al Khor city, which is in northern Qatar.
These students are now preparing to embark on a new journey as they look ahead to the future after graduation. They recall special moments and memories from their time at school, narrating how they coped with studying during pandemic – perhaps the most difficult time for them in the past year.
Our experiences at QAK made us more independent, whether in terms of activities and events that we led and organized, or even on an academic level
Maitha Al-Mohannadi joined Qatar Academy Al Khor (QAK) – part of Qatar Foundation’s (QF) Pre-University Education – in Grade 6. What distinguishes QAK from other schools, according to her, is the school’s “unique location in Al Khor city, and the small and tight-knit school community that it belongs to, which makes communication between students so much easier, and has strengthened relationships and connections and enhanced students’ academic achievements.”
Speaking about her learning experience amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Al-Mohannadi said: “I am a very sociable person, and I love engaging with people around me. When we faced the pandemic, and all the sudden changes it caused, it was difficult for me to adapt to the new situation in the beginning.
“Over time, I realized that this experience also had positive aspects. I learned how to manage my time – to make use of the time I spent at home; and I became more organized in my studies. I also had plenty of time to work on school assignments because the teachers were very cooperative and flexible with us.”
During her time at QAK, Al-Mohannadi was the Student Council President, as she led a team that was responsible for organizing events and activities at the school, across all levels, for occasions such as National Sport Day. This experience helped her build strong leadership skills.
“Our experiences at QAK made us more independent, whether in terms of activities and events that we led and organized, or even on an academic level, as the school allowed us to choose subjects that matched our interests.
The pandemic taught us many life lessons. I now appreciate the value of education, and how lucky I was to be able to continue my education remotely, and also be able to graduate without disruption or interruption
“This taught me how to depend on myself and build an independent personality, and also made me realize new things about myself that I wasn’t aware of.”
Al-Mohannadi is planning to pursue further studies in Law. She said: “I tried to get to know about many of Qatar Foundation’s partner universities within Education City by enrolling in the various programs offered by these universities to school students, such as training courses, workshops and summer programs. And this helped me explore different areas and choose the path that suits me.”
Ammar Hassan, a graduate of QAK’s class of 2021, has been a student at the school since its establishment in 2008. Hassan said that the way the pandemic impacted education made him appreciate the opportunities and privileges he has, which may not be the case for many students around the world.fr
“The pandemic taught us many life lessons. I now appreciate the value of education, and how lucky I was to be able to continue my education remotely, and also be able to graduate without disruption or interruption, unlike many other students in different parts of the world, who faced difficulties that prevented them from continuing their education.”
It was a unique experience, especially in terms of the school community, the welcoming environment, and the close relationship between teachers and students
Explaining the role that QAK played in helping students enhance their personal and academic skills to be prepare for university life, as well as the quality of the education that he received at the school, Hassan said: “I really enjoyed studying biology which inspired me to take up medicine as my career path.
“I have acquired great knowledge and experience that qualifies me to succeed in this field thanks to what we learned at QAK, and the efforts of our teachers and administrators, who have always supported us at all times. I will always be grateful to them.”
In a message to his fellow students who are about to graduate, Hassan said: “School is the basis of all other stages in life, and I advise my colleagues to be keen on achieving success at this stage because it will determine their path in the future.”
Saif Al-Dayeh, the valedictorian at QAK, who joined the school in Grade 4, aspires to study business. Talking about the reason that made him choose this field he said: “In light of the scientific development that we are witnessing, automation and robots are beginning to take over human tasks, but business is different, because it relies on risk-taking and critical decisions.
“This is the reason for my passion towards the business world. I do not yet have a specific vision of what the future holds for me, but I hope that when I explore the field more deeply, I will find something that will direct me to the right destination.”
Talking about his journey in QAK, Al-Dayeh said: “Words cannot describe my experience at QAK. It was a unique experience, especially in terms of the school community, the welcoming environment, and the close relationship between teachers and students.”
Al-Dayeh also spoke about his remote learning experience, saying: “Despite the challenges that we faced with this new experience, and being away from our friends, the way the school dealt with the transition was excellent.
“They would always consider our opinions and suggestions, especially from us high-school students.”
According to Al-Dayeh, one of the most interesting experiences during his time at the school was his participation at THIMUN Qatar, organized by the THIMUN Qatar Regional Office – a joint project between Qatar Academy Doha, also part of Qatar Foundation’s Pre-University Education, and the THIMUN (The Hague Model United Nations) Foundation.
Discipline and time management
For Ajlan Al-Kaabi, the positive lesson that he learned from the remote learning experience is that “it made us more disciplined, and more punctual even though we are studying from the comfort of our homes.”
As he prepares for his university life, Al-Kaabi explained how QAK helped him determine his future plans.
I formed valuable relationships at QAK with my friends and teachers, and have had memorable moments which will be with me forever.
“I benefited a lot from studying the business curriculum at the school, especially because my father has extensive experience in entrepreneurship, and I used to engage in discussions with him about the field. It helped me explore more about the business field.
“I also have a keen interest in numbers and mathematics, and I am looking forward to majoring in accounting. I hope to be able to achieve the success that I aspire to in this field.”
Al-kaabi said that the education he received at QAK was extended outside school. “The school always presented us with real challenges that taught us how to face them, and helped us engage in constructive discussions on different topics to enhance our communication with others. All of this enriched our experiences and opened our minds to think and learn.
“I formed valuable relationships at QAK with my friends and teachers, and have had memorable moments which will be with me forever.”