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Rula ZakiClass of 1991, Rula Zaki is one CAC Alumna who took the time to give us her thoughts about her time at CAC. She is a remarkably talented young woman who sings in 16 different languages. Discovered by her mother, at the very young age of 9 years old, Rula has received numerous awards; from Arion Music Award for Voice to Grand Prize Winner of the International Song Festival in Cairo. Zaki has also performed in a number of important international and local events, including performing for Queen Elizabeth’s birthday event, the Opening of the new Suez Canal Port in Egypt, and even performed in several events of Egypt’s First Lady. 

Rula ZakiWhen asked to recount her memories and time at CAC, Rula had the below to say, “ My parents gave me the best life-long gift: sending me and my sister to CAC. Naming how the school and teachers have shaped me could turn into a novel. My creative nature has been fostered by a village of teachers. Not only did CAC grow my talent in the arts, it also made me realize that I had an athletic side. My track and field coaches taught me discipline and how to constantly push myself through the pain of hours of practice in the scorching heat. Mr. and Mrs. Criens and Mr. Mazhar turned us into champions both on and off the field. Every single educator at CAC was passionate about teaching. The classroom was like their stage and I enjoyed learning from them; so much so, that I became a teacher myself. What I have learned from them in the subject areas and in the manner in which they taught, I am now passing it on to my students. I am inspired and eternally grateful.”  

Zaki went on to thank many of her teachers, who she says played a major role in her successful musical career. She thanked her 5th Grade Music teacher, Mr. Larry Catlin who she says was the first to hear the potential in her voice. Mr Catlin took Rula with him to New York during the summer to attend Crane Youth Music School where she was awarded the Most Outstanding Vocalist Award. 


The singer also recalled Swing Choir with Mrs.  Verna Brummett who taught Rula that singing did not have to mean standing still behind a microphone. Choir and Honor Choir trips with Mr. Montgomery reminded her of rigorous voice training and fun, hilarious moments. Zaki also added, “ Both Mr. Montgomery and Mr. Evans could have been an incredible stand-up comedy duo. I was able to showcase my voice through Honor Choir trips, one of which was funded by my Chemistry teacher, Ms. Mett, because she believed in me. I can still hear Mr. Marshal's voice directing me on stage. He treated us like adult professional actors, and we rose to the occasion because of his high expectations. My Fair Lady remains one of my sweetest memories and accomplishments.

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She further mentioned Ms. Hromiak, her English teacher who made her love English as she connected it to drama. She starred in her first musical, “Ferdinand the Bull”.

The CAC Alumna had a lot of great memories to share. It is amazing to hear back from our alumni about how their time at CAC influenced their lives and their careers. 

Rula Zaki

At the core of CAC philosophy, we believe that learning extends beyond the classroom walls. Our learning environment promotes independence, collaboration and engagement. Classrooms are places where inquiry, creativity, thinking and problem solving are at the heart of all social and academic learning. Our philosophy at CAC revolves around the Whole Child approach.

The school acts as a place where friendships flourish and personalities develop. Close partnerships with our parents give every student the attention they need to develop core values and academics, the building blocks for school success. This is the reason that CAC has been known for its strongest Co-curricular program in the region, over the years. 

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CAC faculty fully understand that each phase in a child's life requires special needs for the development of the child. This is at the heart of what we do here. Each division has a special program catered to different growth stages.  

 What is the Harkness Method at CAC and what is its impact on learning?

Harkness at CACCAC is the first and only school in Egypt to have adopted the Harkness Method of teaching in several classes. The Harkness Method is a method of instruction where the classroom is designed where students sit at a circular table and are encouraged to participate and engage in dialog, rather than sitting at separate desks and being lectured by a teacher. The Harkness allows the  teacher’s role to be more focused towards leading and guiding discussions which are run by the students themselves. This is used very effectively in English and Social Studies classes where conversations often take place. Today, seven years after implementation of the Harkness Method at CAC, it is also being gradually rolled out into other departments such as math and science.

Johnny Griffith and Tom Seidenberg are professors from Phillips Exeter Academy with first hand experience using the Harkness Method. Seidenburg has been coming to CAC for 6 years and Griffith for two years to work with faculty and share learning experiences using this method. A common misconception concerning the Method is that it takes too much time for teachers to cover the same material because discussions during classes tend to go deeper into the material presented. When asked about his opinion regarding this disadvantage, Griffith explained, “ In mathematics for example, we do cover less content but what we do cover, we cover in more depth.”Harkness12

The two professors have been able to see a significant improvement in our student’s learning over the years they have come to CAC, especially Seidenburg as he has seen the evolution of the Harkness Method at CAC from its inception. “As an example, in 9th Grade Mathematics, students think the teacher has all the answers. For that reason they want the teacher to tell them what to do, so it’s a little bit of a battle, but then you get the same student back in 11th grade, and you can easily see the growth in their confidence, and their ownership of the material and their independence.” Seidenberg added.




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