Excellence at Ajax High School

Posted On Tuesday July 23, 2019
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L-R: Ajax High School students Chuting Wang, Zena Shamli Oghli, and Marissa Toshack joined Ajax High School Teachers David Gatt, Senthuran Paramasamy, and Michael Bentley on the last day of school to reminisce on their high school experiences.

Three Ajax High School students graduate with averages over 96 per cent

Marissa Toshack, Zena Shamli Oghli, and Chuting Wang just wrapped up their final year of high school, with all three students achieving graduating averages above 96 per cent.

On the last day of school, they gathered together with three of their teachers and reminisced about the highlights of their Ajax High School experience.

Marissa’s Experience

“The French Immersion stream was definitely my highlight,” says Marissa Toshack. “Whether it was learning science or history in French, or just learning the French language, I could tell the teachers were super passionate about what they were teaching us.”

Over the four years Toshack was involved in the school’s Swim Team, Remembrance Day Committee, and Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA). DECA prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in a variety of business-related sectors through case study competitions at the regional, provincial, and national level. This past year, Toshack participated in the regional DECA competition, as well as the provincial competition in Toronto, “I got the chance to go to provincials with my partner in the Travel and Tourism sector. We had a great experience in Toronto. We got to dress up in business attire, and I learned a lot about public speaking and interviewing skills.”

One of Toshack’s teachers, Senthuran Paramasamy, says that before teaching Toshack he had never had a student achieve a mark of 100 per cent in every classroom assignment, “In my entire teaching career only this one person got perfect in everything.”  Paramasamy laughs, “At first I thought, am I doing something wrong? I try to throw my students off so they don’t know what to expect, but she was always very stable. Nothing bothers her!”

Toshack completed her Grade 12 year with an overall average of 99.2 per cent, and will be continuing her education at Queen’s University in the Honours Bachelor of Health Sciences program in the Fall.

“The program is general in the first year, and then I’ll probably specialize in physics or chemistry in my second year,” explains Toshack. Smiling, she adds, “I’m really excited for the change, and the new stage in my life.”

Zena’s Experience

Zena Shamli Oghli says that the extra-curriculars she was involved in contributed to a positive high school experience. Throughout her four years she was a part of Student Council, Remembrance Day Committee, Spoken Word Club, Tech Club, and more. She even started her own editing business called Zena’s Editing Services, where she edited assignments for her peers.

She says her motivation to do well in school comes from her family, “I think a lot of what drives me are the sacrifices that were made in order for me to have this education. My family came here 15 years ago from Kuwait. The idea of everything my parents are putting towards my education really drives me. And the idea that there are so many people that are less fortunate, and would give a lot to have this education.” She adds, “I think it’s really important for me to take that privilege and use it to help others, and to encourage a love of learning in others.”

Michael Bentley, one of Shamli Oghli’s teachers, noticed her eagerness to help others from the beginning, “She always worked really hard. When other students were away she offered to help them get caught up.”

Shamli Oghli finished her Grade 12 year with an overall average of 96.2 per cent, and will be continuing her education in the Fall at McMaster University in the Honours Bachelor of Health Sciences program.

But before that, she wants to take a ‘full and complete’ break from school this summer, “At least for the next month I want nothing to do with school.” She grins, adding, “I want to spend time with my friends, go biking and hiking, finish all the TV shows I’ve started, and just get away from it all for a little bit.”

Chuting’s Experience

Chuting Wang is an International Student who travelled from China to Ajax in her Grade 10 year. Wang says when she first came to Ajax HS she had a hard time with the English language, “My favourite class that year was English as a Second Language (ESL) because of my teacher, Ms. Beattie. I really appreciate her because I could not understand any of my other classes at first, and she was very patient and she helped me a lot.”   

Wang says the best parts of being an International Student in Canada are that she can study a variety of courses such as visual art or technological design, and that the experience has allowed her to become very independent. “Even though I live with my guardians, I had to do a lot of things on my own. I opened my own bank account, bought my own insurance, and figured out how to travel around on my own. I feel like that has prepared me for university life,” Wang says proudly.

“She’s determined,” says Wang’s Grade 12 English Teacher David Gatt. “Anytime there was a big assignment she’d be in my classroom before and after school. It was amazing to see someone who is so young, has their head on straight, and wants to do really well in life. It was so refreshing.”

Wang was also involved in DECA, and excelled in her Grade 10 Technological Design class, “I learned how to make mechanical parts by using a software called Inventor, and ended up building a robot in that class.”

She finished her Grade 12 year with an overall average of 96.3 per cent, and will be continuing her studies at the University of Waterloo in the Mechatronics Engineering program in the Fall.

Wang says she’s excited to enjoy this summer because her parents are coming over from China, and they will be travelling to places like Ottawa and Montreal, “I haven’t had a chance to see much of Canada yet, so we’re going to do that together.”

Educators Make All the Difference

All three students unanimously agree that it was the educators at Ajax HS that made their experiences unforgettable. Shamli Oghli concludes with an earnest smile, “Thank you guys for being such a crucial part of the high school experience. What really made high school was the teachers.”