GEMS bids fond farewell to Modern Academy’s ‘Iron Lady’ Celine after 34 years of service

  • Teacher joined school at launch in 1986 and has worked for six principals
  • KHDA Director General joins staff and students to offer tribute to educator
  • Accolades for Celine pour in from around the world from her former pupils

Celine Ribeiro will make her final farewell to GEMS Modern Academy (GMA) tomorrow (Thursday) after an extraordinary 34-year teaching career at the school that began the day it opened with portacabins as classrooms.

Her final week at GMA before she retires has been marked by an outpouring of tributes from around the world by her former students and colleagues, who number in the thousands, as well as current staff and pupils at the school. Some 700 logged in for her final, virtual school assembly, where fulsome tributes were given to her unquenchable energy, passion and dedication for the education and welfare of her pupils.

The school was joined in its celebrations of Celine’s stellar career by Dr Abdulla Al Karam, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Director General of Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), which oversees private education in the emirate.

The Chairman and Founder of GEMS Education, Sunny Varkey, also paid his own tribute to Celine, 68, who only joined the school after a recently hired teacher friend requested that she also be recruited. Celine, who hails from Mumbai, started as a Grade 3 teacher and went on to become Head of Primary before being appointed Head of Policy and Compliance. She worked under six principals and in three campuses at GMA.

“Celine has been an inspiration to her students, current and past, who are doubtless still benefiting from her teaching and guidance across the globe. She is an example to her colleagues both in professionalism and in embodying the GEMS core values of kindness, respect, empathy, helpfulness and compassion each and every day of her extraordinary career at GEMS Modern Academy,” said Mr Varkey.

“We will miss her greatly, both at the school and throughout GEMS, but I am sure that her legacy will continue to inspire future generations of exceptional teachers. I extend to her all my best wishes for an enjoyable and very well-earned long retirement.”

Nargish Khambatta, Principal of GMA, which carries an ‘Outstanding’ rating by KHDA, said that Celine would leave a large hole in the school community after guiding its pupils for so long. She said: “A teacher like Celine makes a difference to entire generations. Her quest for perfection, her optimism and her affection make her unique. She will always be remembered for the four pillars she lives by – faith, hope, love and charity – which inspire us daily. We wish Celine well and will miss having her around. She is always first in at school and last to go home. She is known for this as ‘The Iron Lady of Modern’ or just our wonderful Ms. Ribeiro and always with the utmost respect and affection.”

 223 total views,  2 views today