Toronto, July 11, 2007 – The Toronto District School Board’s (TDSB) top scholars for 2006-07 made their mark in secondary school, each achieving over 99 percent in their top six graduating credits.

Top scholar Amy Wang of Northern Secondary School achieved an overall average of 99.7 percent. Eugene Solodkin graduated from Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute with an average of 99.3 percent, and Cheng “Chester” Yao leaves Western Technical-Commercial School with a 99.2 percent average

“We are proud of all of our graduates and have particular admiration for our Ontario Scholars who achieved outstanding academic results,” said Gerry Connelly, Director of Education for the TDSB. “Thanks to our excellent teachers, support staff and commitment from the students’ families, these young people are well equipped to find success in the next stage of their lives.”

Eighteen-year-old Amy Wang came to Canada from Xian, China, with her parents in 2002 and immediately enrolled in English as a Second Language (ESL) classes. She excelled in maths, sciences and at the piano, and has accepted a scholarship at Harvard University where she plans to pursue a business degree.

“She has always wanted to be the best at everything she does,” said her father Alexander, who alongside Amy’s mother Fang Qu, are extremely proud of their daughter. Amy is currently travelling in her native country, her first return to China since leaving five years ago. “She wanted to see all the changes that have happened in China since we left, it has changed every day,” Alexander said.

Eugene Solodkin was born and raised in Belarus and immigrated to Canada three years ago. As a young teenager he developed a strong interest in computers, and at Marc Garneau CI enrolled in both its computer sciences and computer engineering programs. Coupled with his affinity for math and physics – he achieved 100 percent in his physics, calculus, computer engineering and computer sciences courses – he will study software engineering on a scholarship at the University of Waterloo.

He said his academic strengths developed naturally after a good start. “My parents encouraged me up to Grade 3, then I sort of went on my own,” he said.

The longest Cheng “Chester” Yao ever spent at one school was his last four years at Western Technical-Commercial School. He left his native Beijing with his parents at age eight, lived briefly in Japan, then two years in Australia before settling in Toronto.

“What I really appreciated were the people who came to help me build a successful life,” he said, something he feels compelled to give back, spending countless hours tutoring other students and volunteering in the community.

Cheng will represent Canada at the International Biology Olympiad in Saskatchewan next week and is off to the University of Toronto in the fall where he plans to take pharmacy and then medical school.

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