DAA Daily

From the United States, to Europe, to the UAE, Dr Yocom Shares His Story and Beliefs

By Zeid Atassi & Ali Radwan, Staff Reporters, The PawPrint

Doctor Yocom, the new high school principal of Dubai American Academy, is a  man who has been dealing with high school students and teenagers aged 15 plus for over a decade in over five different high schools in between the United States and Frankfurt, Germany; He shares his journey and experiences in his career so far and his emotions coming in to DAA, and what he hopes to uniquely offer. 

Firstly, as Doctor Yocom has spent the majority of his past 11 years as a principal, he spent most of his time in the United States, Transitioning from Chicago, Illinois all the way to Dallas, Texas. Resulting in him being surrounded with mostly the same nationality of students with similar ethnic backgrounds, As he states that 95% percent of his high school students back in Dallas were first generation Mexican Americans. Whereas in Frankfurt, Germany, His high school ranged from several different diversities and ethnic backgrounds. Similar to Dubai he states.

As some may state that being surrounded with similar ethnic background students may be more comforting and easier to advance with, Dr. Yocom strongly believes that being surrounded with a diverse community of students may be highly beneficial and “impactful” for most teenage students. Being the sole main purpose Dr. Yocom decided to take the opportunity of moving across the world and managing students in Dubai; As he states “at the end of the day, kids are kids, my wife and I made the choice of moving to the UAE in order for our kids to live in a diverse community, something different in which they are used to. The beauty of the UAE is being friends with a large diversity of individuals”.

Furthermore, Dr. Yocum believes that the UAE is a very fast paced and comforting country to settle down in; As he claims that Dubai reminds him of a large multicultural city of the US. Unlike Germany, in which someone must speak and understand German in order to feel like a comfortable resident, Due to this, Dr. Yocum’s time spent in Germany was made to be a “largely frustrating” experience. Whereas the diversity of Dubai allowed him and his family’s transition to a new city to be comfortably smooth. 

On another note, Dr. Yocom believes that there are both positive and negative aspects when it comes to highly populated high schools. As DAA being one of the most populated schools in Dubai, whilst being the most populated high school Dr. Yocom has managed through his eleven years, he believes that such a school could give and take opportunities. Unlike his previous high school in Dallas, Texas which held a low population of students, Dr. Yocom believes that DAA offers a wider variety of activities for students to participate in; whilst also believing that “the pathways were unfair, unlike a high populated school.” As DAA is mostly an IB curriculum school, Dr. Yocom has past experiences in managing an IB curriculum as he was an IB principal in his previous school in Dallas. He claims that the IB pathway has taught him a lot in terms of education, whilst also believing that it could open many doors for students in the future. 

In conclusion, Dr. Yocom is a firm believer in diversity and allowing students to have the opportunity of associating themselves with other ethnicities; and “seeing the outside world”. With Dr. Yocom’s past experiences in being a high school principal for over a decade, He is excited for his transition to Dubai American Academy and to witness what unique ideas it might innovate throughout his time as principal.

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