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(Posted 8:30 a.m., July 20)
Sir Wil grad earns near perfect marks, board award for highest average
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Mitchell Kember holds up the Governor-General's Academic Medal that is awarded to the graduating student with the highest academic standing in the recipient's school. Kember will also receive the D. Aubrey Moodie Award for having the highest average mark in the Ottawa District School Board in 2013-2014. Fred Sherwin/Photo

Sir Wilfrid Laurier Secondary School grad Mitchell Kember earned the highest average in the Ottawa District School Board this year, topping fellow grads at Lisgar Collegiate and Colonel By, with a near perfect 99.83 per cent.

It's the highest average earned by an east end student in over 10 years and the highest average achieved by a graduating ODSB student since the inception of the D. Aubrey Moodie Award in 2006.

Kember earned a perfect mark in five of the seven subjects he took this year. The exceptions were in physics, in which he received a 98 per cent, and French.

Besides earning a 99.83 per cent average, Kember also racked up a number of mathematic awards including Certificates of Distinction in the Pascal, Cayley and Fermat Mathematics Contests, the Canadian Senior Mathematics Contest and the 2013 Senior Canadian Computing Competition.

Kember plans to attend the University of Waterloo this fall where he will be studying Software Engineering.

At the beginning of the school year, Kember's goal was to simply do the best he could in every subject in order to earn as many scholarships as possibe, and while he didn't study every waking hour, he did devout a good deal of his spare time to making sure he was as prepared as he could be for each test and exam.

"I'm not really super organized so I had to make sure to stay on top of things and get the work done. I've been improving my focus and self-discipline with each passing year and this year was my best yet," says Kember, who tutured other students during the first semester and played badminton in his spare time.

The second highest mark among the graduating students at the four ODSB high schools in the east end went to Zi Kai Chen at Colonel By Secondary School who earned a 97.83 per cent average.

Like Kember, Chen had to teach himself how to properly manage his time and not to procrastinate. A common misconception held by most people is that marks come easy to top scholars like Kember and Chen and they don't have to study when nothing can be further from the truth.

"You do have to work at it. The differnece between 90 and 95 per cent is much greater in terms of the effort you have to put in, than the trying yo improve your mark from 80 to 85 per cent. A lot of it is psychological. For instance, when I started out in physics my mark was in the low 90s, but I took it as a challenge and I studied three times as hard as I did in my other courses I eventually got it up to over 95 per cent," says Chen who transferred to Colonel By from St. Francis Xavier High School prior to Grade 11.

A resident of Manotick, Chen had to walk 1.5 kilometres to and from his bus stop every day and then ride the bus for nearly an hour in both directions to get to class in the spring, fall and winter.

"It's was definitely worth it. Being at Colonel By has made me a better student and it has really opened up a lot of doors for me. I was also blessed with a lot of really great teachers who work extremely hard to get the best out of every student and helped improve my confidence in myself," says Chen, who like Kember will be attending the University of Waterloo next year, only in Computer Science.

The top graduating student at Cairine Wilson Secondary School this year is Chet Parekh with a 95.83 per cent average, while the top graduating student at Gloucester High School was Lauren Wise with a 93 per cent average.

The top graduating students at the east end's three Catholic board high schools were not known at the time of publication.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)

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