. Image Credit: Supplied

The American School of Dubai Class of 2021 has had a challenging final year in the midst of a global pandemic—and yet they have shown great resilience in order to meet the challenges and complete their senior year with a number of outstanding achievements.

Here we acknowledge just a few of those student successes.

Valedictorian, Yoonsuh Park

A valedictorian is recognized for achieving the highest academic scores of their Senior Class. This year’s valedictorian is also a student who loves learning for the sake of learning. Yoonsuh Park ‘21 has taken a total of 11 Advanced Placement classes in her time at ASD, but it was never about padding her applications, it was always about challenging herself and making herself better. One of Yoonsuh’s greatest characteristics is her desire to help people around her grow and be better. Her teachers note that what really sets her apart is her willingness to jumpin and explain concepts to classmates— she prioritizes supporting others. That’s not to say she isn’t a committed, competent student. Her macroeconomics teacher remarked that she was always a step ahead of the class and her research and analysis are already at the university level. Yoonsuh can be a quiet and unassuming student but it doesn’t take long to recognize she has a real passion for learning and a thirst for knowledge. Yoonsuh will be attending medical school in Korea.

ASD Salutatorian and National Merit Finalist, Meera Bhat

Our Salutatorian is recognized as the student who has the second highest average in the senior class. Such an accomplishment is only possible with extreme dedication, focus, and perseverance. Beyond these essential qualities, this year’s salutatorian is truly unique. Meera Bhat ‘21 combines humbleness and charm with extreme intelligence and a strong work ethic, but what truly makes her special is her ability to find joy in everything she does and to spread that joy to those around her.

Said one of her teachers, “It's hard to write words to describe how much Meera is adored. It's more of a feeling—when she walks into the room it's like the sun just popped out from behind the clouds. Her kindness, enthusiasm and curiosity for learning are all contagious and brighten up the day for those in her presence.” Meera always looks to challenge herself academically and has set herself apart this year with a rigorous academic load. In addition to her school recognition, Meera was recognized as National Merit Finalist, an incredible accomplishment.

“During these past two years, my time at ASD has been an incredible experience of friendship, communication, and dedication. The driven people, endless opportunities, and unforgettable lessons have continually challenged me to be my best, and I hope to continue to embody all that I have learned here in the future.”

—Meera Bhat ‘21, ASD Salutatorian

Meera will be studying Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University

ASD ‘Lifers’

For thirteen senior students, the ASD High School commencement ceremony will be that much more special, marking the end of a full school career that started in Kindergarten at American School of Dubai—thirteen or fourteen years in all.

This year’s ASD ‘Lifers’ are: Aaliyah Ismail, Armaan Hiranandani, Ayla Yazdi, Catherine Elliott, Joe Wahba, Madhvi Khianra, Mary Anne Khoury, Maxwell Cooper, Mizan Nurani, Mohammad Ali, Sayeed Sheikh, Seri Serhan, and Tiana Jatwani.

Congratulations to this exceptional group of students!

“I will deeply miss the supportive teachers, the incredible ARTS programs, and the eye-opening INSPIRE trips all around the world. I’m proud to be the fifth Ismail to go to ASD and the school’s first graduate-of-a-graduate. ASD has inspired me to challenge myself and discover my passions, even in the midst of a pandemic in a rapidly changing world.”

—Aaliyah Ismail ‘21

Aaliyah will be attending SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies) in London to study International Development


“After 14 years, I will certainly miss the sense of community at ASD which is one of a kind. I know that my experiences at ASD will stand me in good stead at university.”

—Catherine Elliott ‘21

Catherine will be studying business administration at Saint Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia, Canada


“My advice to younger students: There will always be obstacles. Embrace them and they will help you to become the best version of yourself.”

Maxwell Cooper ‘21

Maxwell will be studying Economics and International Relations at The University of British Columbia, Canada

Excellence in Athletics

The following senior student-athletes received the Booster Club scholarship in support of their college or university education: Sakina Asghar, Omar El Barbir, Isabella Barham, Alizae Chassé, Maxwell Cooper, Sonia Fekete, Ulysses Hendershott, Carl Myers, Nathan Sawyer, and Alicia van 't Riet.

Excellence in Academics, Service, and Leadership

The following Senior Awards are given to students for excellence in the areas of academics, service, and leadership:

Distinguished Service Award: Maya Hinedi

Award for International Understanding: Arnav Bulani

Senior Arts Award: Ammar Ul Haq and Jamila Abdel-Razek

The Bob Ackerman Award for Excellence in Technological Innovation: Simran Vora

The Dale Haus Waldoch Visual Art Award: Allia Darwish Mostafa

The Sikander Shallwani Senior Business Award: Mohammad Sani Ali