HONG KONG'S FIRST international school, King George V School (KGV), celebrates its 100th year in March. Former students and staff are returning to the SAR for the big party. The highlight of the week-long festivities, from March 13 to 20, will be a black-tie ball at the Kowloon Shangri-la Hotel, and 500 former and current KGV students are expected to get dressed up for the occasion. The alumni organisation, which is behind the big reunion, is still waiting for confirmation of many guests, but says its list includes several former principals - Angela Smith and Alex Reeve - and some surprise former students. At a push the guest list could include some of the world's top names in sport since this is a field KGV students have long excelled in. Success stories include David Millar, who won last year's Tour de France, cricketer Dermot Reeve, who played for England in the 1992 World Cup Final, and Mark McMahon, who went on to become an international lawn bowls champion. Other KGV graduates have gone on to make waves in the entertainment business. Michael Hutchence, who died in 1997, was the lead singer of INXS and Anders Nelson was a Radio Television Hong Kong DJ. On a more high-brow note, author Martin Booth has written a string of books, most notably Hiroshima Jo, which was nominated for the Booker prize. Booth, who left the school in 1964, remembers the school fondly for its racial harmony. 'While there were the usual teenage animosities, there was no racism in the school whatsoever. If you disliked someone, it was not down to race or colour or creed - just character,' he said. But the school has not always been so international in flavour, nor has it always been called KGV. The school owes its beginning to Robert Hotung, a wealthy Eurasian entrepreneur. He donated the crucial funds believing that the school would be for children of all races. He must have been unimpressed when he discovered that the school would only be for Europeans, but he nevertheless went ahead with the donation. The Kowloon British School was built on Nathan Road in 1902. In 1923, it was the only secondary school in Hong Kong for Europeans and it changed its name to Central British School to reflect this. Although the first few decades saw fewer than 100 students, by the early 1930s, this had risen to 500. In 1936, the school moved to a more spacious site in Ho Man Tin. But four years later, with the threat of Japanese occupation, the school was closed and the building used as a military hospital. When the Japanese invaded they took it over - and it is from this period that the tales of ghosts arise. School legend has it that the Japanese built torture chambers on the site and that countless people came to a terrible end here. When the school reopened after the war in 1947, the world was a far different place and colonialism was losing its grip. Rather than have a segregated school, it was now open to both Europeans and Chinese and changed its name to King George V School. Today the school is truly international - and proud of it.