Living up to the values of the Character Tree

Living up to the values of the Character Tree

Living up to the values of the Character Tree Rawdat el Zuhur feels so proud of its character tree which bears branches of various values that children choose and want to live by and remind others of them.

Living up to the values of the Character Tree Rawdat el Zuhur feels so proud of its character tree which bears branches of various values that children choose and want to live by and remind others of them. This year we were blessed with two students who stood out for living up to some of those values.

Shihab came to school on a Friday morning to participate in the fund-raising event that the school was holding that day. Seeing the playground filled with a lot of dried leaves and garbage from the storm of the previous night, his commitment to public welfare urged him to do something about it. Working like a storm himself he got busy cleaning up the place so that when the guests arrived the place was spick-and-span.

Forgiveness and humility are other values hanging on the Character Tree. Mohammad shamed his colleagues who committed a grave offense against him, when he so humbly forgave them and made them realize how wrong they were.

Volunteerism has a special branch on that tree as well. And our special thanks go to Rev. Robert Quillen who dedicated so many years as a volunteer to build the webpage of the school. His commitment was remarkable. He had the real meaning of the name of the school Rawdat El-Zuhur (Garden of flowers) in mind as he worked hard to reflect the spirit of the place and to ensure that the webpage was budding and flourishing, while radiating the odor and colors of the Garden.

Having Fun and fund raising

As many of you already know the school is facing financial problems besides the other challenges that schools in East Jerusalem are facing. So the school continues to do whatever it can within its humble means to meet some of those challenges.

Two fund-raising events were planned. One was a breakfast with homemade “manaqeesh with zaatar.” Zaatar is a local herb mixed with olive oil and spread out like a pizza. It was a great morning filled with enthusiasm. Teachers volunteered to do the dough for the pizza, others were mixing the zaatar with the olive oil. The place seemed like a beehive, and as the alluring smell of baking was reaching out through the hall, no one could resist coming for more and more. The gathering was beautiful with the participation of board members, friends, alumni, students and their parents.

The other event was an evening of music and folkloric dancing. The melodies carried memories of the good old times, and was a reminder of the rich Palestinian heritage and culture.

The musicians were students of the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music and some were alumni of the school. The night heated up as the school children danced folkloric tunes and the audience accompanied them with clapping their hands and tapping their feet. It was a beautiful event, followed by a reception prepared by members of the Parent teacher association who are always there to volunteer for school functions.

Encouraging Music

Due to the vision of Muna and Basem Hishmeh and their love for music and their belief in its importance as a learning and developmental tool, eight of the school children will be able to enroll at the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music. The Muna and Basem Hishmeh Foundation is supporting this project and the students will be privileged to study music and learn how to play an instrument.

Laughs , laughs and more laughs

Monsieur De Stephane Lucca, a professional clown visited the school with the support of the French Cultural Centre‑Chateaubriand. Monsieur Lucca managed to get through the hearts of the children. Everyone was laughing; language was no barrier. Monsieur Lucca commented afterwards that the children were a very special audience because they interacted and were very responsive.


The school has two pararell training programs. One with the Early Childhood Center ( ECRC) sponsored by the Welfare Association which focuses on early childhood years and works with teachers as well as parents.

The other is with the Faisal Husseini Foundation which concetrates on classes 1-6. The approach in this training program is more hands on trainng while in the classroom. The focus is on languages, Arabic and English as well as science.

Science in Action

Through the Faisal Husseini Foundation, the science lab was equiped and is in full use. A science club was also formed and the students enjoy experimenting away every Friday . Another nice activity of the science club are field trips were students go in the fields, to collect rocks and examine the different formations, or the different seeds that are produced in the plant kingdom……

We seize this opportunity to personally thank all our friends whovisited the school between Dec7th 2011 and 30th of April 2012 and to share some of their words:

Over the years, it has been a joy to visit Rawdat-el-Zuhur. The
minute we arrive at the school, we are struck by the happy
atmosphere, with students concentrating on their studies in the
classrooms, or actively participating in music and dance.


The dedication of the teachers and staf to the academic and
individual needs of their students is obvious. The results are
clearly seen when we speak with the students, as they show a
confidence and ease of manner, grounded on personal discipline
and respect for themselves and others.

The achievements of the school are a credit to everyone involved! Cyril and Roxanne Bennis

Mon Voyage en Palestines ‘est termine avec la visite de l’ecole..Merci pour votre reception –je suis enchanter et tres touchee.— Vera khouri

Mr. Basem Hishmeh and his daughter Amal Ibrahimaj Hishmeh
Mr. Cyril and Mrs. Roxanne Bennis
Ms. Vera Khouri
Mrs. Anne Marie and Mr. Haribert Kleber and their children
Mr. Andrew Davis
Ms. Nancy Fowler
Mr. Russell Cortez
Mr. Rick Froehbrodt
Ms. Shan Monn
Mr. Tony Waterston
Mrs. Linda Shawa
Mrs. Genevieve Farah
Ms. Wafa’ Al’ashhab

And special thanks to those who made a donation between Dec 7th 2011 and 30th of April 2012.

Mrs. Abla Nasir
Mrs. Anne Marie Kleber
Cairo Amman Bank
Center Harbor Congregational Church
Mr. Cyril and Mrs. Roxanne Bennis
Faisal Husseini Foundation
Global Ministries
Mrs. Hala Shubeita
Heart of the Rockies Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Mr. Amjad Habbas
Mr. and Mrs. Scott
Mr. and Mrs. Whiteman”
Mr. Harold and Mrs. Joyce Buckingham
Mr. John and Ann Weller
Mr. Ralph and Laurel Doermann
Mr. Roger Abuzalaf
Mr. Shafiq and Mrs.Susanne Nasir
Mr. Stephen Moloney Family
Dr. Gill Evans
Mrs. Lucy Khoury
Mrs. RimaTarazi
Mrs. Samia Khoury
Mrs. Sue Heargreaves
Mrs. Penelope Harley
Muna and Basem Hishmeh Foundation
Reverend Liz Knott
United Palestinian Appeal
Ms. Vera Khouri
Mr. Waleed Kawasmi

Submitted by: Salwa