York Catholic District School Board announces its 2021 Top Scholars

Nine students achieve perfect 100 per cent graduating average

The York Catholic District School Board is proud to share its list of the Top Scholars from each of its secondary schools. For the first-time in the Board’s history, the top spot is a nine-way tie between students who earned a perfect 100 percent average in their graduating year. Congratulations to: Geethan Baskaran, Fiona Dan Chang, Brian Gao, Kristy Lau, Caroline
Francis, Rosaleen Siroosi, Shveta Suresh, Edward Wang and Matthew Wong.

Three of the perfect-average students hail from Father Michael McGivney Catholic Academy; two each from St. Robert Catholic High School and St. Theresa of Lisieux Catholic High School, and one each from St. Augustine Catholic High School and St. Brother Andre Catholic High School.

“Congratulations to our Top Scholars,” says Mary Battista, Interim Director of Education. “A perfect average is an exceptional accomplishment and no doubt the result of many years of hard work and commitment to their studies. I am very proud of their achievement, especially in light of the challenges over the past year and a half. I am sure that their future will be bright and full of exciting opportunities. The success of all of our Top Scholars is also due in part to their parents, families, friends, teachers, administrators and school staff who have supported and encouraged them throughout their time with York Catholic. Congratulations to all of our Top Scholars and Grade 12 graduates!”

Fiona Dan Chang, Caroline Francis and Shveta Suresh are this year’s Top Scholars from Father Michael McGivney Catholic Academy in Markham. All three graduates are in the school’s rigorous IB (International Baccalaureate) Programme. Fiona will begin the Chemical Engineering Program at the University of Toronto in September. She credits her success to the support of her family and friends who helped keep her grounded. “The IB Programme at McGivney was great,” Fiona said. “The course material was interesting and it taught me how to stay organized and develop good studying and time management skills. I think it has prepared me well for university.”

In September, Caroline will study Life Sciences at the University of Toronto. She said that she “always wanted to become a doctor as it’s the perfect combination of logic, helping people and serving the community.” The COVID-19 Pandemic helped cement her decision. “I learned so many things about what doctors do that aren’t necessarily clinical, like the importance of education through social media. I have so much more appreciation for doctors now.”

Shveta will begin the Clinical Psychology Program at Western University in London, ON in September. “I’m super passionate about mental health and combating the stigma around it,” said Shveta. “I liked planning mental health initiatives, helping younger students and I made a lot of friends through the many leadership opportunities at McGivney. Participating in extracurriculars really enhanced my high school experience.” Shveta says her motivation to do well at school comes from her family, “My parents especially have sacrificed so much for me and have always supported me. I want to do well in school to give back to them and make them proud.”

The 100 per cent graduates from St. Robert Catholic High School in Thornhill are Brian Gao and Matthew Wong. Brian will study Systems Design Engineering at the University of Waterloo in September. In addition to obtaining a perfect average, Brian also holds down a part-time job. He said, “I get great personal satisfaction from achieving the goals I set for myself. I like to challenge myself to do well. I also liked the academic culture at St. Robert; I never had a teacher I didn’t like there.”

In September, Matthew will study Biomedical Engineering at the University of Waterloo. He credits some of his success to his forward-planning. “I made time last summer to prepare for my Grade 12 year and build routines prior to September, which freed up time during the school year to focus on extracurriculars and university and scholarship applications,” he said. “I really liked the extraordinary community at St. Robert. The teachers, especially this year with online learning, as well as guidance counsellors, administrators, friends, and my family were all very supportive.”

Kristy Lau and Rosaleen Siroosi graduated with a perfect score from St. Theresa of Lisieux Catholic High School in Richmond Hill. In September, Kristy will study Software Engineering at the University of Waterloo. “My inspiration to work hard comes from my family,” she said. “The community at STL was very supportive and helped me overcome mental health challenges so I could learn how to achieve a good work-life balance and headspace. Taking school one step at a time and prioritizing my mental health has helped me succeed.”

Come September, Rosaleen will study Mechanical Engineering at McGill University in Montreal. She hopes to become an automotive engineer for a company like Tesla, where she can use her skills to build electrical cars. “The environment is near and dear to my heart,” she said. “I want to use my skills to create a more eco-friendly world.” Rosaleen is a graduate of St. Theresa’s Advanced Placement Program (AP) and says she enjoyed how vigorous it was. “A lot of my motivation comes from my parents and myself. I set high standards for myself and try my best to reach them.”

Edward Wang graduated from the STEM+ Focused Laptop Program at St. Augustine CHS in Markham. He will study Computer Science at the University of Waterloo in September. He said, “The students and staff at St. Augustine were very welcoming and supportive. They were always willing to help you learn and I enjoyed the extracurriculars. I would like to build upon my knowledge to create meaningful change in society that will improve the lives of others through software and technology. I am driven to succeed by a determination to make my parents proud and to always try to be the best I can be.”

Geethan Baskaran graduated from St. Brother Andre Catholic High School in Markham, and in September will begin the Health Sciences Program at McMaster University in Hamilton. Geethan considers himself a lifelong learner and says, “I try to put my full self forward and aim to excel in every subject area to reach my full potential.” In addition to his academics, he pursued several extracurricular activities, including music and two research internships. He graduated with his twin brother, Brevin who scored an impressive 96.83 percent average. “He’s a big pillar of support for me,” said Geethan about his twin. “We learn together and help each other, not only with coursework, but all our endeavours. We will be taking different paths now as he is going to university in Ottawa. It’s very humbling.”

The York Catholic District School Board congratulates the Top Scholars from each of its secondary schools on their remarkable achievements and wishes the entire graduating class of 2021 continued success in the future.

Following is a list of the Top Scholar from each York Catholic secondary school, based on the average of their best six Grade 12 courses.

The Top Scholar from each York Catholic Secondary School, by Community
Student Photo Student Name School Community Grade 12 Average*
Nicholas Gesualdo Cardinal Carter CHS Aurora 99.50
Vanessa T. Tiberio St. Maximilian Kolbe CHS Aurora 98.66
Laura Tolentino Our Lady of the Lake CA Keswick (Georgina) 95.83
Meshaal Khurram St. Joan of Arc CHS Maple (Vaughan) 99.33
Christensen Gargantiel St. Luke CLC Maple (Vaughan) 87.50
Fiona Dan Chang Father Michael McGivney CA Markham 100.00
Caroline Francis Father Michael McGivney CA Markham 100.00
Shveta Suresh Father Michael McGivney CA Markham 100.00
Edward Wang St. Augustine CHS Markham 100.00
Geethan Baskaran St. Brother Andre CHS Markham 100.00
Kelly Oliphant Sacred Heart CHS Newmarket 99.50
Cassandra Tin Kwon Yuen Our Lady Queen of the World CA Richmond Hill 98.50
Kristy Lau St. Theresa of Lisieux CHS Richmond Hill 100.00
Rosaleen Siroosi St. Theresa of Lisieux CHS Richmond Hill 100.00
Luca Venanzio Gravina St. Elizabeth CHS Thornhill (Vaughan) 99.00
Elena Scobici St. Elizabeth CHS Thornhill (Vaughan) 99.00
Brian Gao St. Robert CHS Thornhill (Markham) 100.00
Matthew Wong St. Robert CHS Thornhill (Markham) 100.00
Benjamin Goloubov Father Bressani CHS Woodbridge (Vaughan) 99.66
Vanessa Reale Holy Cross CA Woodbridge (Vaughan) 97.83
Deric Soares Holy Cross CA Woodbridge (Vaughan) 97.83
Giulia Cescolini St. Jean de Brebeuf CHS Woodbridge (Vaughan) 99.50
* Based on the average of the student’s marks in their six best Grade 12 courses, to two decimal places.