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Pupil’s determination drives school to go green

Dubai: A determined high school student saw her dream of helping to save the environment become a reality when the solar panels she worked so hard to get were finally installed in her school on Thursday.

After working for two years to complete the project, 18-year-old Nasim Mirzajani’s face lit up with joy when the electricity for a room powered by four solar panels at The Westminster School was turned on.
“Throughout my years of study we always seem to talk on and on about how the sun is the number one source of energy. We keep talking, yet we never do anything about it. I wanted my school to be one of the first schools to implement such a project in Dubai,” Nasim, an Iranian grade 13 student, said.
Refusing to take a no for an answer when she was told  that the project was too expensive to fund, Nasim presented research and statistics that showed the positive impact that the panels will have in the long run, which convinced GEMS education to finance the four solar panels at a cost of Dh18,000.
Per year, the school will save Dh717 from the electricity saved in the common room, which is used by senior students. Although it will take more than 25 years to break even, Nasim believes that it is worth it if it means saving the planet.
“Initially, I hoped that the whole school’s electricity would run on solar panels, because in the long run it will help the school financially, since they won’t have to pay any bills, and environmentally. Due to financial reasons only one room was approved but I see it as a first step towards hopefully expanding to the rest of the school.”
If the entire school’s electricity was powered by solar panels an estimated Dh69,379 would be saved per year.
The school’s principal, Kingston Gilbert, told Gulf News that the project will become an ongoing one that will be integrated into the curriculum of the senior student’s, who will be involved in transforming the school one room at a time.
“We are not only working on transforming the school but we are more importantly working on creating solar minds that will help transform the world as a whole.”
Six other students from grade 12 and 13, as well as staff members were involved in the calculations and estimations needed to implement the project.
Seren Zevker, one of the students who was also involved, said: “We chose the apple [computer] room because us seniors spend most of our time here working on our projects.”
G. Ramamurthy Thevar, Senior Project Manager at GEMS, was one of the biggest supporters who helped the students bring their project to reality.
“Most children are now drifting away from nature; we want to get them back to becoming environmentally friendly, so GEMS wanted to promote this through supporting this project,” he added.
The students also expressed their gratitude to their teacher, Lali Saji Mathew, who stood by them until the project was implemented.
“Our dream is that all schools in Dubai will follow our example so we can save the world,” Nasim said.