“Fabulous” is the first word Robert Gottschalk uses to describe his time at the Zug American School (ZAS), the small educational establishment which grew to become ISZL. His family came to Zug because of his father’s job as director of a commodities trading firm. After attending Swiss Kindergarten for one year, he came to ZAS in Grade 1.
He made friends there for life but the biggest impression on seven year old Robert was his British Grade 1 teacher, with whom he cheerfully admits he was “infatuated”. She invited him to her house for tea, which was served in blue and white porcelain cups - a memory which has stayed with him ever since.
He was with the school as it moved, first in the original Felberhaus, then to another establishment close to the railway station on Gotthardstrasse, where these days you would find Pickwick's Pub. After that, the school moved to Alpenstrasse, where students had no playground, but had an agreement that they could use the play area at the nearby Neustadt Schulhaus. The great privilege, though, came in Grade 6, when students were able to go, unaccompanied, to the restaurant at Zug Coop for lunch.
As a small school, he says “we really were a family. Everybody knew everybody, and we would meet at the weekend and play baseball games by the lake”.
The school’s American roots meant that students pledged allegiance to the United States flag each morning. He remembers this causing some confusion among students who were not American! But he says his time at ZAS helped him as a child to have an international mindset from an early age. He says “for me, it was always a pleasure having friends who were from different places. You realised there were lots of ways of solving different problems, and that different cultures do things differently without being right or wrong”.
He also has fond memories of Gwyn and Anita Bevan, who led the school from 1964 to 1983. He stayed in touch with them, and their children. He remembers the support they offered his family. Later, as a young adult starting his graphic design business, he became friends with Martin Latter, who took over the school and renamed it the International School of Zug.
Robert also designed the logo for the Riverside School, which merged with the International School of Zug in 2008, leading to the school’s present name, the International School of Zug and Luzern.
Later, Robert’s daughter attended ISZL’s High School, which he says instilled a lot of confidence in her. “I think the school is something really special”, he says.