Natalia Sulak is one of the six Father John Redmond graduates who attained a 100-per-cent average over the past school year. Photo courtesy of Natalia Sulak

Father Redmond a school for scholars

  • September 1, 2023


It’s a conclusion that comes to mind upon reading the biographies of the 2022-23 Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) top Grade 12 scholars.

Beyond the 21 ambitious young people who achieved a staggering 99 or 100 per cent overall grade average, they poured boundless energy into student leadership clubs, arts, athletics or community service.

The previous school year was impressive for Father John Redmond Catholic Secondary School and Regional Arts Centre as six top scholars attended this institution in Etobicoke, Ont.

Natalia Sulek, who graduated from Redmond with a 100-per-cent average, said she and her peers enrolled at this arts-centred academy because they each identified specific artistic passions and talents they want to nurture through their studies. The creative spirit of each student translates into an overall inspired milieu.

“It creates a stronger community,” said Sulek, who will study retail management at Toronto Metropolitan University this fall. “People are just more driven in general. I notice many teenagers at school are like, ‘whatever, let’s get this item done on my to-do list.’ But at Redmond, people are more motivated because they have this passion they want to pursue. They’re (motivated) to become more involved in the community and with a desire to keep getting better.”

Sulek directly enriched the communal atmosphere by co-founding the school magazine, TheRedmond Repertoire, in Grade 11. She shepherded this publication featuring student short stories, news, editorials and essays for two years. Her imprint was not limited to Redmond. She painted a large-scale mural for Transfiguration of Our Lord Catholic School and devoted many hours caring for dogs at a local daycare.

Zachary Xerri — he too attained the 100-per-cent benchmark — also loomed as an impressive student leader in Redmond’s halls. He participated in and guided winter clothing drives, senior home visits and sandwich-making patrols. He also sat on the Safe Schools Committee and was a reliable peer tutor. The forthcoming University of Toronto science student said his out-of-classroom experiences afforded him balance.

“It is important to be well-rounded,” said Xerri. “There are a lot of lessons to learn through textbooks and classroom work, but whether it is participating in clubs, charities or any extra-curricular activities, you also learn a lot of important traits like professionalism and the ability to communicate.”

Xerri also shone artistically as a pianist and alto saxophonist for the school’s Regional Arts Band Program, and athletically for the school’s cross country and track squads. This past May, he completed the Toronto Marathon.

The 18-year-old envisions becoming a medical doctor one day. Since July 2022, Xerri has racked up over 200 hours of volunteer time at Humber River Health, first in the hospital gift shop and now in the fractures and plastics clinic. This work opportunity has provided validation for Xerri that he has chosen the right postsecondary path.

Xerri also expressed appreciation for his instructors at Redmond for empowering his aptitude for science.

“They were passionate about what they taught, and I am very grateful they provided me with extra material when I was especially interested in a subject or a discussion. I can say without a doubt that all my teachers at Redmond have been supportive and have really helped me on my path to success.”

Fellow students were also solid in providing a kind word and a hand of assistance in this high-achieving environment, said Sulek.

“The environment is competitive, which is what you get when you have this many talented young individuals who are driven. At the same time, it is a very supportive competition. Everyone does want to see others succeed.”

Visit to learn about all 21 top scholars.

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