Friends in high school, Harris Chan, left, and Shums Kassam will continue their scholastic careers together at U of T.

Pals tie as top students in York Region

By 
  • August 26, 2011

Engineering enthusiasts Harris Chan and Shums Kassam tied for being the top York Catholic District School Board scholars, ending their high school careers with a near perfect 99.6 per cent average.

Both are students from St. Robert Catholic High School. The pair of classmates and friends are enrolled in the same engineering program at the University of Toronto this fall.

Chan and Kassam were part of St. Robert’s International Baccalaureate program. As students in the IB program, they formed study groups with their peers to examine and analyse course material.

An interesting note on Chan is that despite being colour blind, he has the ability to solve the Rubik’s Cube in less than 10 seconds. He once held the North American record with the fastest official time at 7.33 seconds. At his school, Chan co-founded the table tennis club and tutors students in math, science and physics.

Meanwhile, Kassam isn’t aware yet of being tied for first at the York Catholic District Scool Board. He is in Tanzania with his older sister, Zahra, volunteering at an orphanage. Kassam was president of St. Robert’s social justice club and a member of the dragon boat team that travelled to Macau to represent the school last year. In his spare time, Kassam teaches taekwondo where he is a second- degree black belt.

The pair were a few of the top scholars in Catholic school boards around the GTA. At the Halton Catholic District School Board, Mateusz Krysztof Buraczynski of Holy Trinity Catholic High School in Oakville was the top scholar, achieving a 97.13 per cent average.

Other top scholars were: Julian Malixi of St. Ignatius of Loyola (96.52 per cent), Joseph Lo Presti of Corpus Christi Catholic High School (95.43 per cent) and Patrick Luzny of Bishop P.F. Reding Catholic High School (95.1 per cent).

In Dufferin-Peel, Claudia Frankfurter, from Brampton’s Holy Name of Mary High School, scored a 99.17 average. She will attend Hamilton, Ont.’s McMaster University in the health sciences program. Mississauga’s Simon Younana from St. Francis Xavier HIgh School earned a 99 per cent. He will also attend McMaster in the engineering program.

Meanwhile, in Caledon/Dufferin County, Lenka Baloghova from Robert F. Hall High School scored a 96 per cent as its top scholar. She will begin a double degree in business administration and mathematics at Waterloo, Ont.’s Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo.

At the Durham Catholic board, Fr. Leo J. Austin High School students scored top marks. This year’s Durham top student is Diba Somani with a 97.8 overall average, closely followed by Thomas Dingle and Sean Zheng with 97 per cent.

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