Ikbal Ahluwalia: Then and Now
His journey from Blake to Rutgers Preparatory School
November 13, 2017
Whispers of where Blake’s beloved lifer Ikbal Ahluwalia ‘18 disappeared circulated following 2015. Whispers of where he went, how he is doing, and what he has been up to has encapsulated the minds of Blake students for the past few years. Here is an interview with the man himself down below.
How did you feel about leaving Blake and moving to an entirely new school and state?
Initially, I was not super happy about leaving because it wasn’t on my own choice. We moved because of my father’s new job and also to be closer to my grandparents. Having been at Blake for 10 years and also right before leaving having won the state tennis championship, I was reminded me that I was going to be leaving a close school, community, and team. I knew everyone at Blake and had been there for so long.
Shifting the perspective to now, how do you feel now after 2 years of leaving?
Two years later, moving to New Jersey is a lot better than I anticipated. I have made great friends. The biggest thing I have appreciated about New Jersey is more diversity of thought and race. Especially at my school, there is a lot of socioeconomic diversity, which is something that I believe could be better at Blake. It has given me a new level of perspective and more opportunities to value what I have.
What has Blake given you that will stick for life?
I have been asked this a lot of times. Blake cultivates a great sense of community and it’s a place where students like learning in all my classes. Everyone was engaged and everyone wanted to help each other learn. It had a collaborative and great social learning environment. I believe there is more competition and stress at my new school due to the nature of the Northeast region. It feels like kids are pursuing good grades for college instead of enjoying learning. Blake teachers really value learning and they want to work with you to ensure you keep learning. I also feel like Blake teachers care about the subjects they are teaching. Other than making lifelong friends, the thing that will stick with me most from Blake is that I was really given a space where I could be my true self and where the teachers are very committed to helping students learn. The love of learning in school and my experience with classmates at Blake helped me learn new lifelong perspectives.