Dubai: Students of a Dubai school, who sat through UAE astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi’s splashdown to Earth yesterday morning, can't wait to see him in the UAE, even as they accorded him a warm welcome with a special video.
Christopher Greenfield, Science Teacher at Jumeirah College, told Gulf News, “Our students watched the (Dragon spacecraft) landing and are eagerly awaiting updates on Al Neyadi upon his return to the UAE. This celebration has not only ignited a passion for space exploration and science, but has also showcased our school’s commitment to nurturing a curiosity-driven and engaging learning environment for our students.”
He said the students watched the broadcast live in their science class.
“These events are essential in education. They provide students the ambition and aspiration to go to space themselves. The mixed crew strengthened global partnerships between the nations of our planet, and showcasing such partnerships is essential in education for the future of the world,” he said.
What made the occasion even more special for the students was that they had engaged in a live conversation with Al Neyadi when he was on the International Space Station earlier this year.
“Following our radio call, students felt a real connection to him and this story. Al Neyadi is an inspiration, and his achievements make the UAE the first Arab country to complete the longest space mission. He will be remembered both in science and in history,” added Greenfield.
Meanwhile, Year 7 winners of an earlier social media competition received a bounty of prizes from the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC).
Lamia Al Abbasi, a student of Year 10, said, “As an Emirati, I am really proud of how far Al Neyadi went to achieve the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s dream. I am passionate about everything he has achieved. I really enjoyed it when the school gave us the opportunity to talk to him, and I have learned a lot from him answering our questions. Yesterday morning, I watched his safe return, along with the rest of my class. We were relieved to see him return safely.”
A group of students made a special video of their welcome for Al Neyadi. “Welcome back Sultan,” the video said, with the students addressing Al Neyadi with different messages. “Can’t wait to see your family and friends again”; “It must be so amazing to come back home on earth”; “Hope you had a safe and fantastic journey”; “We really enjoyed speaking to you at the beginning of your mission and now that you are back, we can’t wait, please come to Jumeirah College” – the students said in right earnest.
Dream come true
“Our students watching the splashdown were thrilled to see Al Neyadi return safely and they hope that when he returns to the UAE, he will come to see them at Jumeirah College. That would be a dream for them,” said Greenfield.
“This milestone is a huge step in the UAE’s space exploration efforts and its broader ambitions in the field of space science and technology. Here at Jumeirah College, we aren’t just proud of Al Neyadi, we are also proud of the UAE,” he added.