8:30 a.m., July 6)
area grads earn top marks among the Class of 2017
By Fred Sherwin
Bach, Cole Johnson, Kishen Gao and Kathleen Keenan all
have two things in common: they all finished at the top
of their graduating class and they all have a very bright
future ahead of them.
Bach holds up the Governor-General’s medal
she received for earning the top mark in her
graduating class at Cairine Wilson Secondary
School this year. Fred Sherwin/Photo
plans to pursue a concurrent degree in education and biology
at Nipissing University in North Bay after earning a 97.7
per cent average at Cairine Wilson Secondary School. Of
the three top grads, she was able to maintain one of the
busiest schedules in her final year at school.
Grade 12 student was on the Relay for Life committee;
she helped coach the school’s swim team; she was on the
cross-country ski team and the cross-country running team;
and she organized the school’s first ever Diversity Day.
not surprising then that Bach feels that maintaining a
proper balance between academics and extra-curricular
activities, was the key to her success as a student.
worked for me the most was staying on top of things but
also doing the extra-curricular activities to keep me
occupied outside of school, because I think you can get
too invested in your school work, and if you can focus
on all the positive things in your life then things come
more naturally if you enjoy what you’re doing rather than
focus on your marks,” says Bach who was pleasantly surprised
when it was announced that she had earned the top average
in her graduating class.
wasn’t really a goal of mine at the beginning of the year.
I mean, I strived to do the best I could in all my classes,
so it definitely was a pleasant surprise. It was a nice
kind of reward.”
for any advice she has for students entering their final
year in September, Bach says they should simply focus
on learning the subject rather than getting the highest
you focus on learning then the marks will come naturally,”
was also highly involved both inside and outside his school.
Sir Wilfrid Laurier’s top grad was on the Relay for Life
committee and the school council. He also held down a
part-time job until midway through his second semester
and he volunteered at the YMCA as a basketball supervisor.
Johnson earned the top mark at St. Peter High
School with a 96.5 per cent. Fred Sherwin/Photo
says the key to his success in earning a 95.86 per cent
average was time management and self discipline.
have to be able to use your time properly and work around
your school work when it comes to other things. It also
helps if you put your cell phone in another room,” says
Gao, who will be studying software engineering at the
University of Ottawa this fall.
Johnson spent his spare time playing drums in a band at
school coffee houses.
St. Peter High School student plans to study psychology
at Carleton Uni-versity after earning an overall average
of 96.5 per cent.
interest in psychology stems back to a missionary trip
he took to Austin, Texas in Grade 10 during which he interacted
with less fortunate and impoverished individuals. From
that point on his goal was to get a doctorate in psychology
and use his degree to help others.
went in with the objective to get an 85 per cent or higher
in all my classes and earn a solid scholarship at Carleton,
but as the year progressed my marks were higher,” says
Johnson whose advice to other high school students is
to spend as much time as possible with their teachers
to gain a better understanding of the subject material
rather than simply depending on memorization.
perfect example of that is the approach Johnson took to
his English course.
the first two to three weeks, I was like okay I need to
learn what to do because my mark was in the mid-80s and
so eventually I figured out the teacher’s style and my
mark started to improve,” explains Johnson.
Keenan earned the highest mark in the graduating class
at St. Matthew High School with a 96.7 per cent while
being actively involved as a leader of the youth group
at Good Shepherd Church and working part-time at McDonalds.
also had to deal with the challenge of living in a house
with six other siblings. She has eight brothers and sisters,
but two of them are attending St. Francis Xavier University
in Nova Scotia.
intends to stay closer to home, choosing to study civil
engineering at Carleton University.
top grads in the east end include Peter Shen who earned
a 97.67 per cent average at Gloucester High School, and
Aaron Leonard who earned a 99.33 per cent average in the
International Baccalaureate program at Colonel By Secondary
School, narrowly edging out Yigga Zhang who had a 98.5
per cent average.
story was made possible thanks to the generous support
of our local business partners.)
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