Ron Bull/torstar news service


Andrew Cheung, who graduated with the highest marks among Grade 12 students in the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board, is headed to McMaster University in the fall.

When Stephen Jacobs would announce the highest mark on a test in his chemistry class, his students would say it must be Andrew Cheung.

Cheung, 17, has the highest marks among Grade 12 students in the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board. He just graduated with an average of 98.7 per cent.

Jacobs, a teacher at St. Francis Xavier Secondary School in Mississauga, gave Cheung a 98 per cent average in his chemistry class. Jacobs said he rarely gives out an average so high unless the student really stands out.

After biology and chemistry in Grade 12 Cheung knew exactly where his future would take him — health sciences.

“My biology teacher was actually a medical researcher so he talked about how he would travel around the world.

From then, I thought I would like to go into sciences,” Cheung said.

Cheung has accepted a four-year scholarship at McMaster University.

“My goal for this whole year was to get into this program at McMaster because it’s really hard to get into,” Cheung said.

Cheung was enrolled in the International Baccalaureate Programme at St. Francis Xavier. The type of material covered is the same as the regular curriculum his school offers, but more intense, teachers say.

To get such a high average in the IB program, Cheung admits he spends a fair amount of time doing homework. But his secret to the highest average in his school board isn’t sacrificing his social life.

“I’m not really good at cramming, so I usually start studying ahead of time and review bit by bit,” he said.

Cheung is very modest with his high average and said the key to success is staying focused even when he has difficulty completing an equation.

When he’s not studying, Cheung has been a basketball coach for the Mississauga Monarchs. He also volunteered at the Mississauga Central Library and at St. Gregory Elementary School.

Having reached his goal of getting into McMaster, Cheung will now work toward doing well in university.

“I am definitely going to pursue my career in the sciences in research, medicine or medical research. There is an MD program and medical science master’s program at McMaster that I might look into,” Cheung said.