BEIRUT: When some people hear the word “public school,” an image of a worn out, shabby, and under-equipped school might come to their mind. However, the staff at Riad AlSoloh public high school has worked long and hard to break this stereotype.
Most of the students at Riad Al Soloh participate in extracurricular activities such as the Model United Nations, Model Arab League, robotics competitions, mental math programs and English language enhancement programs funded by the U.S. Department of State.
By participating in such events, many students were able to land fully funded scholarships at the Lebanese American University, the American University of Beirut, and the University of Toledo.
Under the leadership of the school’s principal Abeer Homsi, English teacher Samar Kassar was able to introduce those programs into the school.
Homsi told Annahar that the school staff and administration are trying to do something out of nothing, despite being short on funds, as most public schools in Lebanon are.
They applied for a grant from the World Bank, through the Ministry of Education, to renovate the school’s theater and they received $7,000 to do so. Now they “hold big events, ceremonies, and graduation there, and the students have never been happier,” Homsi said.
Kassar, who took the initiative and helped establish, supervise and manage those programs in the school, does it as a service to the school and its students.
Bachir Ammash is a student in grade 11 who was at another public school before transferring to Riad Al Soloh, and he realized how different his experience is now as a student, he said: “Here we have rules, and we have to follow them. We actually come here to learn and we do learn from the best teachers.”
He used to suffer from extreme stage fright that would affect his class presentations, but now he has shown great progress after switching to Riad Al Soloh around two years ago.
He told Annahar: “After participating at MUN, and MAL along with other programs that enhance our reading, research, and public speaking skills I was able to overcome my fear and believe in myself more.”
Another student, Esmat Chahin said that the principal is welcoming and students can knock on her door and talk to her about problems they’re facing. “It isn’t like that in other schools, she knows every student by name and even gave us her number to call her whenever we needed her,” Chahin added.
The students are disciplined and the school has a 100% passing rate in the government’s official exams.
An-Nahar is not responsible for the comments that users post below. We kindly ask you to keep this space a clean and respectful forum for discussion.