Now Reading
“All you need is love”: VHPS marks 10th anniversary with heartwarming celebration starring children, teachers and KHDA’s Dr Abdulla Al Karam 

Love was in the air at the Victory Heights Primary School’s joyful 10th Anniversary celebration today, which saw UAE-education VIPs and hundreds of primary school students coming together to mark the school’s first decade of operation.

In attendance were Dr Abdulla Al Karam, Director General of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), Dinesh Kothari, Chairman of Interstar Education and the Founder and Chairman of Victory Heights Primary School, David Flint, Principal of South View School, as well as the senior leadership from the UAE’s Delhi Private Schools and members of the media, including the SchoolsCompared editorial team.

Victory Heights primary School Tenth Anniversary

Sasha Crabb, Principal of Victory Heights Primary School, talks with Dr Abdulla Al Karam, Director General of the KHDA, and Dinesh Kothari, Chairman of Interstar Education

Victory Heights Primary School Tenth Anniversary

James Mullan, co-founder of Which Media and SchoolsCompared, speaks with David Flint, Principal of South View School, and Dinesh Kothari, Chairman of Interstar Education

But in classic Victory-Heights style, this event turned the traditional ceremony format on its head, doing away with standard formalities and instead creating an occasion bursting with fun, originality and a lot of heart; a Twelfth Night-style romp, where the children  – not the adults – did most of the talking, and it was the VIPs – not the students – whose critical-thinking skills were put to the test.

A Very Victory Heights Variety Show

The celebrations were opened by a performance from the Dubai Police Marching Band: a dignified troupe of performers in traditional Emirati dress, marching in formation while playing the bagpipes.


Principal Sasha Crabb introduced the day with a short talk to the guests and asking for a moment to stop and reflect on the importance of time on this milestone anniversary:

“I want us all to pause to consider how special time is.

“There’s never enough time and there’s never enough money.

“Our pause today of our proceedings is just to be grateful for the time that we’ve got together.”

The ‘Thought for the day’ in the school reception mirrored the sentiments of Mrs Crabb’s speech

Mrs Crabb then handed over most of the proceedings to the children.

“I’m not going to be saying too much today. Instead, the school student council are going to be helping me host today.”

Principal Sasha Crabb welcomes the children to the event

In an impressive display of the VHPS focus on oracy and public speaking skills, most of the speeches that followed were both written and delivered by the students. One of the highlights was a VHPS-themed poem, ‘A Student’s View of Victory Heights Primary School’, written and delivered by a Year 4 student named Jack, which included this ode to the much-loved Principal of Victory Heights Primary School – and the winner of the Top Schools Award for Best Principal in the UAE – Mrs Sasha Crabb:

“Our lovely school’s a family,

Led by Mrs Sasha Crabb.

She’s full of life and cheery,

And never, ever drab.”

Most of the day’s proceedings were student-led and performed by children

Dr Abdulla Al Karam, Director General of the KHDA, was in attendance, but instead of making a speech, he was invited to have his critical-thinking skills tested by completing a cryptic puzzle live onstage.

Dr Abdulla Al Karam completed a cryptic puzzle live onstage

In a significant break from tradition, while the Foundation Stage choir sang ‘Tomorrow’ from the musical Annie and ‘All you Need is Love’ by The Beatles, Dr Abdulla Al Karam stood to one side of the stage, working on a puzzle that turned out to be a heart-decorated picture celebrating the Victory Heights Primary School 10th anniversary.

The Foundation Stage choir performed ‘Tomorrow’ from Annie The Musical, and ‘All You Need is Love’

The complete cryptic puzzle: a heart-shaped celebration of VHPS’ 10 year anniversary. Here Dr Abdulla Al Karam, Director General of the KHDA, poses with VHPS Head Boy, Noah

VHPS Head Girl, Ava, then addressed the crowd:

“We are gathered here today to celebrate VHPS’ 10th anniversary. We have achieved many amazing awards, such as The Best Primary School in the UAE. When VHPS reaches its 20th anniversary, we will be sure to come back and hope that we keep making our school a better place.

“We would like to thank Ms Sasha and and all staff members new and old for creating a warm, loving and friendly school, which we feel has become like our second home over the last decade.

“VHPS has welcomed children from across the world with open arms. We are proud and grateful to be part of the VHPS family, and know that all future students are fortunate to come to a school as special as this one.

“We love being here, as all past students have, and Ms Sasha always says, “All You Need in Love”. And in Victory Heights, you will love, and be loved in return.”

A sand-to-stardust story

The climax of the event – as with any birthday – was of course the cake. A larger-than-life, three-tiered cake was rolled in, towering over the heads of the attendees.

A dramatic, life-size, three-tier cake was rolled in to mark the 10-year anniversary

In an inspiring blend of customs and cultures, the Dubai Police Band played the bagpipes, while the crowd sang ‘Happy Birthday’ and the VHPS Head Boy, Head Girl and Dr Abdulla Al Karam together “cut” the cake – revealing layers of hundreds of beautifully iced cupcakes inside.

The cake was ‘cut’ to reveal layers of cupcakes

Victory Heights Primary School Deputy Head, Ben Rothwell, shared his feelings on the proceedings:

“I remember being on this same field 10 years ago, when the KHDA was also here to open our school for the first time. I couldn’t have begun to imagine then what a journey we would go on.”

“The world has certainly changed a lot in these 10 years. But what has stayed consistent is that Victory Heights Primary School stays true to its values, as a school at the heart of its community with happiness in its heart and a dedication to learning.”

“We nurture, we challenge, and we most definitely excel.”

“We thank the many teachers who have played a role in our journey, many of whom have gone on to lead their own schools in their home countries. Thanks must also go to our Board of Governors, led by our Chairman Mr Kothari, for your unwavering support throughout our story.”

“We remember our successes: travelling to London as a nominee for the International Schools Award; a SchoolsCompared Top Schools Award for our incredible Principal, Ms Sasha; and of course last year, our SchoolsCompared Top Schools Awards for Best Primary School in the UAE award; a day of incredible pride that we will always remember.”

“Ours truly is a sand-to-stardust story.”

Victory Heights primary School Tenth Anniversary

VHPS students laughed, clapped and joined in with the singing and entertainment happening on stage

Joining hearts and minds

The final formal touch was a tree-planting ceremony, in which Dr Abdullah, Director General of the KHDA, and Dinesh Kothari, Chairman of Interstar Education, both took up a spade to dig and plant a olive-tree sapling, symbolizing the spirit of co-operation between their respective organisations, as well as the peace and hopefulness of new life and the quest for knowledge.

Victory Heights primary School Tenth Anniversary

The tree planting ceremony

All this was interspersed with a cornucopia of student and teacher creativity and talent – a ‘Very Victory Heights Variety Show’, inspired by the eclectic Royal Variety Performances televised annually in the UK – that ranged from singing and dancing to musical performances and even a comic science-experiment-cum-magic-show.

Children were the stars and took centre stage at this fun and joyful occasion

But alongside the playful spirit of joy and whimsy was always the VHPS key message: that learning is fun, science can be magic, and if you put your heart into whatever you do, success will follow.

Victory Heights Primary School blends a spirit of fun and originality with a serious commitment to learning

Perhaps the occasion can best be summed up by the rhyming words of Year 4 student Jack’s poem:

“So now we come together,

“To mark our first decade,

“Looking back, it’s obvious

“We always make the grade.

“And one more thing, before I go,

“With friends all hand in glove,

“The only thing you need to know is…

“All You Need is Love.”

Read our review of Victory Heights Primary School here.

Read our excluive interview with Dinesh Kothari here.

© A WhichMedia Group publication. 2023-2024. All rights reserved.

About The Author
Tabitha Barda
Tabitha Barda is the Senior Editor of Oxbridge educated and an award winning journalist in the UAE for more than a decade, Tabitha is one of the region's shining lights in all that is education in the emirates. A mum herself, she is passionate about helping parents - and finding the stories in education that deserve telling. She is responsible for the busy 24x7 News Desk, our Advisory Boards and Specialist Panels - and's The School's Report - the global weekly round up of what matters in education for parents which is published every Friday, reviewing schools across the UAE - and features on issues that really matter. You can often find Tabitha on Parents United - our Facebook community board, discussing the latest schools and education issues with our parent community in the UAE - and beyond.

Leave a Reply