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Rising to the Challenge at Cairo American College

By Diana Shanaa
Rising to the Challenge at Cairo American College

Photo credit: Nashaat Ywakim.

The 2019-2020 school year has been nothing short of exceptional. The year 2020 started off with a big storm that hit Cairo, Egypt. The storm was so severe that it caused a great deal of road closures, and excess traffic. Accordingly, the Egyptian government urged everyone to stay home. It was during that storm that the coronavirus, known as covid-19, began to appear in Egypt, and the number of cases began to rise. The numbers rose gradually while globally international airports had already closed and countries had already begun going into lockdown. As of March 2020, the Egyptian Prime Minister began instating all the precautionary measures to combat the virus. 

The administration at Cairo American College (CAC) had been prepared to launch an online learning program, especially given the extreme circumstances that the school had lived through since its inception. CAC began gradually using the online learning system and made sure all the faculty and staff were fully equipped to launch the program if necessary. Eventually, in March 2020, CAC took the decision to fully launch and proceed with its e-learning program until the end of the academic year. 

The CAC e-learning program came to life and turned into a success with the constant support and cooperation received from students, parents, faculty, and staff. It was, however, especially challenging for the graduating class of 2020, who have had to deal with all the uncertainties regarding their SATs, their IB exams, and their college applications.

As was the case with most graduation ceremonies across the globe, CAC’s had to be postponed as well. We are pleased to report that, despite all these circumstances, the CAC graduating class of 2020 have already been accepted in many of the top universities around the world, including Harvard University, McGill University, UCLA, and University of Edinburgh.

Overall, this consistently challenging school year was a success on all levels for the school. In addition, the CAC administration and Head of School worked on hosting sessions with Dr. David Gleason, professional counselor, and author of At What Cost. These sessions were aimed at providing guidance and support to students, staff, and faculty during these difficult times. Dr. Gleason had previously visited CAC where he held a live session for all CAC staff as well. 

The CAC Design and Technology department took over a project to create face shields for doctors and “white warriors” around Cairo as a way to give back and also to say thank you for all that hard work they had been doing. 

It was during this lockdown that the George Floyd incident took place in the United States. Needless to say, there was massive attention drawn to the case, and a series of protests erupted in the U.S., prompting discussions about racism and social injustice across the world and within our community.

CAC prides itself on its uniquely diverse community and lives by its core values, which all entail the denouncing of any racial discrimination or prejudices. Since its inception in 1947, the CAC community has always been exceptionally diverse, with a student body comprised of students from all over the world with different ethnicities. The head of school launched a series of conversations with the CAC community, where they were all encouraged to share their thoughts and experiences and speak their minds. 

With so many major events happening since the beginning of 2020, it has been a great reminder for the CAC community of the importance of living within a solid and strong community that is able to rise to any challenge. Cairo American College extends its thanks to all the community members, as well as to our host country for the support it has received during these times.

We start the new school year of 2020-2021 with eagerness, positivity, strength, and most importantly a passion for learning and growing together. Today, the students are back on campus with very strict health and safety measures, as per the CDC and WHO instructions, a unique air quality monitoring system, and what has proven to be a successful mitigation plan for this new “normal.”

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