27 Jul 2020
Doha, 27 July 2020. The academic year 2019-20 is a time that people at Aspire Academy are going to remember for a long time. Despite the suspension of on-campus classes due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Aspire Academy's faculty and staff was still able to offer the many services student-athletes rely on, even if they were moved online, over the phone or offered in a slightly different format. Training sessions were also shifted to the students’ homes and executed under the coaches’ remote supervision.
But this year is not only going to be remembered for how the people at Aspire successfully dealt with these challenges, it is also a year that will be remembered for the highest number of students that has ever graduated from the Academy within a single year. Altogether the “Class of 2020” consists of 42 graduates, among them 19 football players, 14 competing in athletics, 2 in squash, 2 in table tennis, 3 in shooting, 1 in fencing and 1 in golf. In total, 443 student-athletes have graduated from Aspire since 2008.
Due to the global pandemic the situation for the Grade 12-students was different compared to their predecessors. Their final exams in June marked the first time they returned to Aspire Academy after the nationwide closure of schools in Qatar on the 10th of March 2020. Stringent measures to safeguard and follow procedure in observing Covid-19 regulations were laid down and put in place to guarantee the well-being of students and staff during the time of their exams. Due to Covid-19, the graduation ceremony had to be cancelled.
Aspire Academy Director General, Ivan Bravo applauding the efforts in a very special year:
“No one could have imagined that these students’ final year was going to be so disrupted and the way the academic and the sporting season would need to be completed. But the way that they have risen to the challenge speaks highly of their inner will, character and focus. This special determination does not simply apply to how you complete a diploma, but rather about how you manage to push forward under difficult situations the rest of your life.”
Mr. Bravo went on: “During your time with us in the academy, some of you may have faced what seemed to be impossible odds. Yet you did not give up. In your future career you will face new obstacles. But you have learnt to adapt, persist and rely on others to continue growing. Such adaptation has meant that you have increasingly helped others around you to get through difficult time – sharing, lending a hand, motivating and trusting teammates, educators, and coaches. If you continue focusing on these values the future ahead is bright.”
Badr Al-Hay, Aspire Academy’s Director of Education and Student Affairs also paid tribute to the great effort of Aspire Academy’s faculty during the Covid-19 outbreak. “I know that it has been a challenging few month, especially for the teachers of Aspire Academy making sure that our students still have access to the best available education through distance learning, while juggling work, homelife and the worries of a pandemic. The effort of the administration, the resident educators and the student affairs staff of Aspire Academy’s education department has been tremendous as they kept in touch with students and parents and thereby ensured the smooth transition to distance learning and fostered the relationship.”
Aspire Academy School Principal Jassem Al-Jaber praised the graduating class for their effective participation, their spirit of teamwork and their sharp vision, that enabled them make to proceed towards the achievement of their goals in sports and school and that they could obtain the desired outcomes during this difficult period. “My advice to you is to continue the journey that you started at Aspire in higher education institutes while fulfilling your dreams and our vision to become successful athletes, which was one of the main reasons you enrolled at Aspire Academy. Always remember that you have a home in Aspire. We are always happy to see you again and to offer you our support whenever you might need it in the future.”
One of the stand-out graduates of Aspire Academy’s Class of 2020 is track-and-field athlete Owaab Barrow, who has been a part-time athlete with Aspire for four years prior to joining the Academy full-time in 2019. During this time won the gold medal at 2018 Youth Olympic Games in the 110m hurdles event and represented Qatar at the 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships in Doha. Being described by his teachers as a well-respected student, who is a hard worker, eager to succeed and a role model when it comes to teamwork, his coaches characterized his attitude, motivation and work ethic as second to none.
The 18-year-old Qatari praised the support the student-athletes had received during the pandemic that enabled them to take the final exams well prepared. According to him, Aspire had a great impact on his life. “After joining Aspire, I gained many skills notably striking a good balance between sports and studies and I learned the meaning of responsibility and respect for time. I have made many sporting achievements and academically, I developed my Arabic language, especially in writing. I advise my colleagues to keep their enduring readiness in sports and not to give up on difficult times and face challenges to reach the top. I thank my family, who supported me to get to this point, as well as the teachers and all the members of my second family, Aspire.”
2019/2020 Class included graduates in the following disciplines:
- 17 in Football
- 14 in Athletics
- 3 in Shooting
- 2 in Football Refereeing
- 2 in Squash
- 2 in Table Tennis
- 1 in Fencing
- 1 in Golf