DUBAI // From a successful physician to a young female golfer, the Indian High School (IHS) has produced some of the most distinguished expatriate members of the Indian community.
Celebrating the school's golden jubilee yesterday, some former pupils looked back at the times when it was smaller, like a second home, to the present, when its education and technology in the classrooms have groomed graduates who have gone to take on the world.
Dr Rajesh Rai Pancholia, 42, is an interventional cardiologist in Dubai who graduated from IHS in 1983. He went on to study in Mumbai and London before returning to his family in Dubai more than a decade ago. He is the fifth generation of his family in the Emirates.
"Indian High School has changed a lot," he said. "It is more modern in its approach now. There are modern facilities. But for us, back then, it was still a great experience. There were less students than now but we had a great rapport with the teachers."
When he first entered the IHS in 1979, it was far removed from today's version, where classrooms are fitted with the latest gadgets, Dr Pancholia said. There was a closer sense of community, and most of the students' time was split between studying in the classrooms and playing in the hallways.
"There was no internet, no computers, no Facebook, nothing," he said. "We were a lot more communicative when we met, and we played wherever we found space, even in the corridors."
Dr Pancholia said he decided to become a doctor at "quite an early age", and leaned on his instructors to coach him.
"We relied on the teachers a lot," he said. "What we learned in the classrooms was very valuable. We did not rely on any tuition from outside the school. It is because of the Indian High School that I could go abroad and succeed and still come back."
Nilesh Ved, the chairman of the Apparel Group, graduated in 1988. Within the time that Mr Ved was in school, he was already witnessing the exponential growth that brought about the present IHS campus. There were 400 students at IHS in 1977. By the time of his graduation, the student population had ballooned tenfold.
Rhea Nair, 21, is a more recent graduate, and one of India's emerging female golfers. She received a special invitation to play at the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters earlier this month.
Ms Nair was sent to a private sports school in the US when she was 13, but she remembered the lessons learnt at IHS.
"When I left school and went to the US, I got to skip a grade because what they were studying at that time, I already knew," Ms Nair said.
"It gave me good grounding to go to America."