Back to All News

Youngest St. George's students in 1976

This month we feature SHAIQUA MISRA, (now Vyas) who studied over two separate periods at St. George’s.  Firstly, as youngest girl in the school, aged 9 between 1976-1980 (pictured - back row, far left) and from 1984 to 1985 when she graduated, aged 17.

Alumni 1976

During her second period of studies, she was joined by her younger sister, Shaheen.  Rev. Leslie Wright was school Principal at the time. Originally from India, Shaiqua and her family moved from the Philippines to Switzerland where she attended as a day student.  She recalls travelling within Switzerland a great deal during holidays and weekends. She has good memories of school field trips and her favourite moment was appearing in the 1977 show to celebrate the school’s 50th anniversary.  Alongside American friend, Cynthia Likness, they performed a trampoline routine dressed as a cowboy & Red Indian!

Unable to choose her favourite teacher, she quotes “Mrs Zund-Cooper’s clan of three; Mlle Bacque, Miss Batten and Miss McHugh in particular, played great roles in her life” In the winter season, she recalls learning to ski under the watchful eye of the very popular instructor, Gilbert who many of the girls had a crush on!   A member of Atalanta, her favourite sports included rounders, gymnastics, trampolining and athletics.  Tennis was not a strong point, such that sports teacher, Ms Kemp, made Shaiqua an umpire! She remembers the beautiful art studio in the chalet where Ms Ross White taught and the walls of coloured inks which were such a treat!

At the time, the school was relatively small, some 100 or so pupils, so the experience growing up at that time was very special, great bonding with teachers who knew all the pupils individually.  The French they were taught was amazing and Shaiqua describes how she can still hear Miss McHugh and Mlle Bacque in her head and how Ms Batten really brought books alive for her students.  Shaiqua wishes her daughter could have been taught by them. In 1981, Nina Ambani, one of the only other Indian pupils at the time was Head Girl.
Shaiqua remains close to many of her school friends and counts, Lindsay Seth, who was head girl in 1985, as part of her family, having attended her wedding and is one of her daughter’s favourite “courtesy” Aunts! In fact, she has more contact with Georgentians Alumnae than University friends.

Mixing with people from all over the world and understanding different cultures is a life skill that was certainly part of the formation from her school days. Upon leaving school, the freedom of University and sharing dormitories and accommodation with boys was a pleasant shock! Unable to complete a masters meant Shaiqua had to juggle her career plans, but notes there is always a solution when faced with life’s challenges. Shaiqua’s career is in the aviation industry and since the pandemic the last couple of years have been tough in the sector.  She looks forward from both a professional and personal point of view to a time when travel becomes easier with fewer obstacles.

Words of wisdom to offer to today’s students is to “Use the opportunities school gives you…you miss the things you least think you will!! " Shaiqua has been fortunate to revisit Switzerland from time to time including the 90th anniversary celebrations in 2017 when she says it was wonderful catching up with so many old friends.  Given she left school before the era of emails and Facebook she says it’s remarkable to have kept in touch with so many.  She is proud of the fact that she and Louise Nickerson, now Baltesz have letters they exchanged from the age of nine!