This 17-year-old knew he would do well in his Grade 12 exams but becoming the ICSE topper worldwide with 99.5 percent marks was unimaginable. India-born Rohan Sampath now looks forward to joining Stanford University and unlike many brought up in Dubai, he really hopes he can return to India some day.
"My first reaction was disbelief. I thought it was a typo. I didn't expect it," Rohan, a science student of Dubai Modern High School, said in an interview.
Born in Mumbai, Rohan scored 100 percent in mathematics, 100 percent in physics, 100 percent in computer science and 98 percent in English, becoming the highest scorer in the history of the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) examinations.
His parents, who have been in Dubai for 18 years, are naturally overjoyed but say they were more elated when he got through both Stanford and Yale universities in the US.
"We were not that concerned about marks. He has been topping in school every year with 98 percent. My elation was higher when he got through Stanford and Yale. Only later when we realised that he had topped ICSE across the world, then of course we were very happy," said his mother Sandhya Sampath.
Rohan has chosen to attend Stanford University and study either economics or engineering. Private tuition classes have no place in Rohan's study mantra, defying a trend among a majority of Indian families.
"I've been an opponent of tuitions. Teachers in school have been instrumental in my success. I look at private tuitions as an insult to my teachers as I trust them completely," said Rohan.