Three YCDSB students who wanted to be challenged in high school have graduated with perfect averages.
Brett Gugel of St. Theresa of Lisieux Catholic High School in Richmond Hill, Jessica Schneider of St. Robert CHS in Markham and James Xu of Father Michael McGivney Catholic Academy in Markham each earned 100 per cent in their top-six Grade 12 courses, resulting in a three-way tie for the title of the top graduating student for the York Catholic District School Board (YCDSB) this year.
Gugel was enrolled in the Advanced Placement program. Not procrastinating helped him earn a perfect graduating average. “I always stayed on top of my work and paid attention in class instead of cramming at the last minute; for me this worked,” he says. Gugel was a member of the school’s varsity baseball team and was its captain during his senior year. He was also a member of the debate team in Grade 12. He’s going on to study management and organizational studies at the University of Western Ontario’s Ivey Business School in London.
For Schneider, being in the International Baccalaureate program taught her the importance of time management and how to live a balanced life. “It stressed creativity, service to others and participation in activities,” she says. Schneider was a member of the school’s social justice council and was active in the health and business leadership clubs.
She was also on the school’s badminton and ultimate Frisbee teams. “The teachers at St. Robert are amazing,” she says. “They encouraged me to ask questions, which I was afraid to do when I was younger and I think it held me back in elementary school.” She will study life sciences at McMaster University in Hamilton this fall.
Xu enrolled in the International Baccalaureate program because he was looking for a challenge. He was a member of the school’s art club, a graphic designer for the school newspaper and on the cross-country team. He attributes much of his success to his love of reading. “I read a lot and enjoy learning about new things,” he said.
“I found my classes interesting and I also decided that I will always try to do my best in whatever I do. I think I was able to do well in high school because I was interested in the coursework.” Xu will study computer engineering at the University of Toronto.
Following is a list of the top graduating student from each of the board’s other secondary schools: Daniel Casbarro (Cardinal Carter CHS), Daniel Harrington (St. Maximilian Kolbe CHS), Anne Yonan (St. Luke CLC), Kiyan Karim Jadavji (St. Augustine CHS), Isaac Cheng (St. Brother Andre CHS), David Saunders (Sacred Heart CHS), Kate Marisa (Jean Vanier CHS), Anthony Colarusso (Father Bressani CHS), Allesandra Di Lieto (Holy Cross CA), Ea Na Han St. (Elizabeth CHS), Anita Sarkis Misrop (St. Jean de Brebeuf CHS) and Nadia Cesarina Gaudino (St. Joan of Arc CHS).
“The YCDSB is proud to have the top four-year graduation rate among both English and French school boards in the province, as well as the top five-year graduation rate among English school boards in the province,” says Director of Education Ab Falconi. “We attribute this success to the dedication of our school staff who work with students and their families to ensure that all students can succeed and reach their full potential.”
Photos courtesy of the York Catholic District School Board from top: Brett Gugel, Jessica Schneider and James Xu.