The Jubilee School in Amman, Jordan

King Hussein Foundation

As Virgin staff gear up for their South African Connection trip to Ulusaba, future Virgin Galactic Astronaut Marc Hagle recalls to People & Planet about his Virgin Unite Connection Trip to Jordan.

I had a great pleasure today to visit the Jubilee School in Amman Jordan as a participant on the Virgin Unite Connection Trip to Jordan. The Jubilee School is a non-profit, co-educational school for gifted students in grades nine through to 11 in Amman Jordan. Only after testing in the top percentiles in math, verbal and logic are students considered for enrollment. What makes the school unique is that its enrollment of 350 students has a special emphasis on the underprivileged, those who could not afford this quality of education.

The Jubilee School not only offers an intense but broad curriculum in the to-be-expected subjects of math, science, technology and verbal skills, but also a broad program of elective subjects and an emphasis in the arts and music. I only had time to visit part of the schools campus but the classrooms for chemistry, electrical engineering, computer skills were state of the art.

We met with a graduate from the original class in 1995. Today he is 35 years old, founded a successful new media company, Kharabeesh, employing over 100 people and is happily married and a proud father. Not only is he successful as an entrepreneur, but is a grounded individual contributing in positive ways to the social and financial well-being of his community. What more could be wanted or expected from an education?

There were other examples of the Jubilee's success, including students participating in international competitions for the environmental benefits of a device to greatly reduce the omissions of carbon monoxide from automobiles, the design of a race car to minimize the coefficient of drag, and a robotic completion. But what impressed me the most was the excitement demonstrated by the kids. These are children, except for the opportunity provided by this venture, destined to live a life defined by their lack of means and resultant lack of opportunity. They were eager to learn, responsive to new ideas and confident enough to discuss openly their projects and circumstances. Most importantly they were appreciative of the benefits provided and indicated a willingness to contribute to the productive future of their communities.

My congratulations to the King Hussein Foundation and it's investors for this life changing opportunity. The Jubilee School is an example of how a collaborative and focused social endeavor can positively affect the lives of those with the talents but not the means.

For more information about Virgin Unite

Guest blog by Marc Hagle

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