Contact Information


King’s Academy
Box # AMM 2536
147-29 182nd Street
Springfield Gardens, NY 11413

this will then be forwarded to Jordan

Monday, June 8, 2009

MET tournament

The weekend of May 2nd, King’s Academy hosted over 100 students from three countries for the international Middle East Triangle (MET) track and field tournament. The six participating schools were the American Community School (ACS - Beirut), International College (IC), Iraq Olympic Champion School, American Community School (ACS - Amman), Amman Baccalaureate School (ABS) and King's Academy.

The competitors were of all ages- from all levels of high school to elementary school students. In fact, one of the most exciting victories was a nine-year-old boy from the Iraq Olympic Champion School. He finished the 3000-meter race in just over nine minutes. All participants ran their hearts out- many of them collapsed as soon as they crossed the finish line, completely drained from the exertion.

The youngsters from Iraq were quite a sight- they are so small and so fierce. With bright blue spandex uniforms and matching warm-up suits, they were by far the most professional looking team. They certainly lived up to their image on the track as well; their passion was intense and palpable. We kept forgetting they were actually children and not freakishly tiny adult athletes.

Many staff and faculty helped with timing and organizing the events with the Athletic Department and were able to befriend many of the young athletes. Nayab even lent her Andover jacket to a shivering Iraqi runner while he watched his teammates from the sideline.

The award ceremony at the end of the weekend celebrated all of the teams and their respective countries- flags waved and cheers rang. The tournament was a huge event that really shone an athletic light on KA and I hope it will become an annual happening for our students.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Dead Sea

Reema’s sister, Nour, came to visit us in Jordan!!! It was such a pleasure finally meeting another from the Attyeh clan I have heard so much about. While Reema and their family in Jordan hogged her for most of the time, we were able to all go down to the Dead Sea and welcome summer properly with sun and water. The Dead Sea sits right between Palestine’s West Bank and East Jordan, and most importantly, at the lowest point on earth.

The sea is the most serene body of water I have ever seen. The placidity of the light blue water and the misty horizon line had a soothing effect on all of us. The background of mountains were shrouded in a light fog which made the whole thing a bit surreal- it looked like a backdrop rather than a real landscape. We lounged on the beach all day, floated in the salty water and covered our bodies with the healing mud.

We ended the day with a delicious sea-food barbecue at a friend’s apartment. Up on the rooftop of his luxurious, newly built apartment building, we all ate jumbo prawns and watched the sun as it set over the water. It was the perfect ending to a day in one of Jordan’s gems.


That afternoon we left Syria and drove to Lebanon. This border crossing was significantly easier and we were in Beirut in a matter of hours. Once in Lebanon we stopped to observe the views of the city from afar. From atop a mountain a picturesque view of water and palm trees stared back at us. It was only from close up that you could see the damage from the havoc of the 2006 Lebanon/Israel war. We drove under an enormous bridge that had been destroyed and walked among buildings left completely decimated by the attacks. The overwhelming beauty of this European/Middle Eastern paradise and the intensity of the burnt and decayed buildings was certainly an odd juxtaposition and a reminder of the political turbulence that plagues the region.

Upon arriving we settled in the hotel and then went straight to Barbar, an empire with absolutely epic Lebanese food. Falafel, Shawerma, fresh-squeezed juices…the list goes on and on, Barbar has it all. Our loyalty and enthusiasm even warranted us free Barbar t-shirts!

We then spent the afternoon walking around the city. We toured AUB (American University in Beirut), which is a stunning campus. Situated on the water and amongst exotic Indian trees and as a fusion of Middle Eastern and European cultures, it was otherworldly. I am so excited that my friends Sam and Georgia will be attending school there next year and I will have an excuse to visit!

We stopped for street crepes and fresh blood-orange juice, and walked all along the water until sunset. The shore extends forever and makes for a beautiful walking city. We ended our journey at the infamous Pigeon Rocks and drank in the scenery.

After freshening up we headed for sushi and down the famous street Jameza to experience the chic nightlife and live music.

The next morning we awoke early and the six of us crammed into a cab for a 2-hour drive to the mountains. The transition from sunny, spring weather to heaps of snow was bizarre! As soon as we arrived we unpacked, ate lunch, fitted for gear and hit the slopes. It took me a few runs to feel comfortable- I hadn’t skied for years. But it wasn’t too long before I was rushing down the slopes with ease. The adrenaline rush was amazing- I had forgotten how good it feels to have the cold biting at your face and to feel the burn in your thighs while soaring down a mountainside.

The slopes in Lebanon are quite surreal. I used to ski in New England where pine trees are synonymous with mountains. Here, it was completely barren. It was all so wide-open and intimidating from the chairlift!

We skied all day-everyday for the next two days. As soon as the lifts closed we showered, napped and then explored the cute little restaurants and lounges in the resort area. It was quite the eclectic crowd- not the typical ski-bum scene found in New England. Woman were dressed to the nines! It would have never occurred to me to pack pearls and stiletto heels on a ski trip, but then again, this is Lebanon…

Sunday, April 26, 2009


For the long weekend in March a few friends and I traveled to Syria and Lebanon. After waiting for about 9 hours at the border, we were finally welcomed into Damascus. We stayed in the city for a short total of about 12 hours, where we crammed as much in as possible. Our arrival was quickly followed by a quick midnight snack run and a much needed sleep.

We awoke early and explored Damascus, the world’s oldest continuously inhabited city.
We walked down the narrow streets of the Old City- passing through 4ft thresholds, indulging in thick, bitter Arabic coffee from street vendors, and admiring the thousands of years of history at every turn.

Eventually we grabbed a breakfast that consisted of fresh squeezed blood-orange juice and the famous pistachio covered ice cream from Bakdash.

We then marveled at the handicrafts at Souq al-Hamidiyya, a long-established, infamous bazaar.
But nothing rivaled the awe-inspiring Umayyad Mosque. Worship in this site dates back 3000 years (9th century BC) and it has been passed down as a holy site for multiple populations- from the Armenians to early Muslims. The sanctity of the mosque was palpable- it was a place of tranquility and introspection. We spent a good deal of time just absorbing our surroundings and the change of energy within the walls of the mosque.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


In early February, Nayab and I chaperoned a school trip to Kenya. We, along with Tiffany and Teddy, brought 10 freshman delegates to a Round Square conference and safari adventure. The Brookhouse International School, just outside of Nairobi, hosted the conference. Schools from all over Africa, Canada and the UK that are apart of the Round Square association attended. King’s Academy was the only school representing an Arab nation, which proved to be a difficult, educational and highly enlightening experience for all of us.

Round Square is an organization dedicated to experiential learning. Member schools share very similar philosophies and pride themselves on adhering to and promoting the Round Square IDEALS: internationalism, democracy, education, adventure, leadership and service, as a part of their curriculum.

King’s Academy gained acceptance into the Round Square community earlier this fall- a process that Nayab and I became heavily involved and invested in. After working tirelessly on the application, and then more recently in preparing for the trip- choosing students, booking flights, registering, getting everyone squared away with vaccinations and such- Kenya became the light at the end of what seemed like a very, very long tunnel. This trip was truly a perfect culmination to our efforts.

We left early in the morning and flew to Cairo, where we had a 12-hour layover. We were lucky enough to spend this time exploring the ancient, mysterious marks of a distant and foreign civilization. We visited the pyramids and sphinx- absolutely massive and wondrous edifices I never expected to lay eyes on. This ancient splendor mixed with the grimy, overcrowded and industrious urbanity that is Cairo posed an interesting juxtaposition. A history book lesson set against a cityscape background. Perhaps the most bizarre part was eating in a Pizza Hut restaurant while looking out at the antediluvian Sphinx statue.

Between the marvels of Egyptian culture and infamous Cairo traffic, we had no trouble filling up our long layover.

We arrived in Nairobi at about 5 am and headed straight to Brookhouse. From plane to bus to breakfast, our students were troopers. The settled in, mingled with the other students and dove head first into a full day of conference.

Each day was dedicated to an IDEAL. The first day was about Service and Environmentalism. We visited a slum in Nairobi where students interacted with the locals and helped with various community projects- cooking, painting, cleaning, picking-up litter, and playing with children. We were working in conjunction with a missionary group, which cast a positive but odd light on the impoverished community and its future.

We spent the afternoon in Nairobi National Park where we saw the aftermath of a lion hunt, planted trees and interacted with giraffes.

The next day was about Adventure and Democracy. The whole day was spent at Brackenhurst, an outdoor conference center, where our students were presented with various team challenges. Activities included conquering a ropes course and rock climbing.

The evening brought tension and confusion with a very controversial debate topic.
All of the students were split up and asked to represent different countries. They discussed the issue and then presented their country’s stance based on how their country would respond to such a scenario. It focused on the Palestinian/Israeli conflict with an obvious bias towards Israel in its phrasing, which accused Syria of taking Ban Ki-Moon, Secrtary-General of the UN, hostage and threatening an attack of biological warfare. Our student delegates were mostly Palestinian, and it was a shocking scenario to hear. As can be imagined and expected, tension ran high and emotions flared. We asked our students to wait outside as we spoke to the administration. They were extremely regretful and embarrassed. They admitted not having realized the presence of a group for which the topic was so close to reality. We gave our students the choice to participate or to sit out. At the end of the debate, our students made an impromptu speech about the conflict and how it has affected them and their families. They spoke about the history and the current conditions of the region and really educated their peers who knew very little about the issue. Everyone was extremely open to learning and it turned out to be a very positive and enlightening experience for all. The King’s Academy group became quite popular and distinguished as especially promising leaders of the world. I was filled with pride for Jordan, my new home, King’s Academy, my new family and our students for inspiring both kids and adults at the conference.

The third day of the conference was dedicated to Internationalism. We visited a traditional market abounded with wooden masks, rich textiles and local crafts. At Brookhouse, Students cooked meals of all different ethnicities, which were featured in a sprawling buffet dinner. We delighted our taste buds with cuisine from around the work- Kenyan, Chinese, American, French, etc. Each school wore their national dress to dinner, making the clothing as colorful and diverse as the meal on our plates.

The closing ceremony took place after dinner. Each school group made some kind of cultural presentation- skits, dances, readings, songs and more. Ours took the form of the traditional dubkah dance and a PowerPoint presentation, which served as another opportunity for our students to educate their international peers about Jordan and the Middle East.

The next leg of our visit to Kenya was not amongst students and teachers, but among wild animals. En route to our lodge, we stopped to take in the view of the Great Valley Rift. The rift was the most vast and infinite landscape I have ever seen. It was like watching the opening scene of The Lion King come to life.

Next, we took a boat ride around a lake infested with hippopotami. The soft late afternoon sunlight, green-rolling mountains, exotic plant life and cool, blue water spelled out perfection. We were only feet away from multiple families of hippopotami in our skimpy little motor boats!

We first spent time at Lake Nukuru where we saw rinos, enormous flocks of flamingos and pelicans, a hollowed out buffalo carcass and lioness licking her lips, and a baby baboon kidnapping.
The next two days were at the Masi Mara game reserve. We drove around for hours spotting cheetahs and other rare animals. At one point we were completely caught in the middle of a stampede of about 80 elephants. On another occasion we observed a pride of 15 lions. We were also given the chance to walk beside a river filled with crocodiles.

I never imagined I would be on a safari in Africa! My experience in Kenya was a wonderful introduction to Africa and I hope that my future is filled with visits to many more of its incredible countries.