• Ms Justus began teaching at Our Own English High School in September 1980
• Students share heartfelt tributes celebrating the lasting impact of their teacher
• Head of English finally retires after more than four decades teaching in the UAE
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates: GEMS Education has celebrated and paid tribute to the remarkable career of the group’s longest-serving teacher, Ms Daisy Justus, whose 41 years at GEMS drew to a close on 9 December – her last day in school before her well-deserved retirement.
Ms Justus began her teaching journey with GEMS in September 1980, when she joined Our Own English High School, one of the oldest institutions in Dubai. She was interviewed by the late Mr K.S. Varkey, father of GEMS Education Founder and Chairman, Mr Sunny Varkey, and went on to enjoy a close professional relationship with the late Madam Mariamma Varkey, who passed away earlier this year.
Looking back on her remarkable career in education, Ms Justus said: “Teaching – the noblest of professions – enabled me to sculpt generations of students who ‘lead the light of knowledge’, making a mark wherever they choose to be. The challenges faced during this enlightening journey were milestones that made me stronger and worthier in all my endeavours. The students have always been a source of inspiration and encouragement.
“Blessed with passionate mentors and colleagues, I had the most encouraging and rewarding experience at Our Own. Words cannot express the support and the sustenance I received all through my journey, from the management, Senior Leadership Team and colleagues. I am indebted to this country and its visionary leaders for providing the multicultural environment and opportunity for everyone to grow and prosper.”
Over the years, Ms Justus has witnessed the UAE’s exponential growth, pioneered by its visionary leaders. She has also seen Our Own English High School flourish, from its humble beginnings at its first campus in Bastakiya, to its subsequent sites in Karama and Oud Metha, and then on to its present campus in Al Warqa’a.
Dr Anjuli Murthy, Principal/CEO of GEMS Our Own English High School – Al Warqa’a (OOW), and Sanjeev Jolly, Executive Principal of OOW, said: “Good teachers are the reasons why ordinary students dream to do extraordinary things. Gratitude fills the portals of Our Own as we bid farewell to Ms Daisy Justus, a dedicated teacher whose 41 years of teaching has made a real difference in the lives of her students, to whom she imparted values for a lifetime as she listened, encouraged and shared lessons that shall remain in their hearts for posterity. GEMS is grateful to Ms Justus for her years of dedicated service as a teacher, mentor and guide for her students. We wish her a healthy and happy retirement.”
During her time at the school, Ms Justus held numerous positions, including English Language Teacher, Coordinator of English, Editor of the school magazine, and Head of English Department. She also mentored numerous students who went on to win accolades for public speaking, debating and creative writing.
Krish Arya, a Grade 11 student at Our Own English High School – Al Warqa’a, paid tribute to Ms Justus: “Teaching is a profession that creates all other professions, and we are grateful that you chose to be a teacher. We are blessed to have been mentored under your guidance.”
Fellow Grade 11 student Pranav Nair added: “English was one of those periods which I particularly looked forward to, and I really enjoyed it because of the way you taught us, with wit and humour added to your interactions.”
Amiable and soft spoken with a mature sense of humour and rational thinking, Ms Justus maintained an excellent rapport with her students and colleagues. She showed tremendous commitment towards all school events and went beyond the call of duty to perform her responsibilities with dignity and honesty, making a lasting difference.