An accomplished mathematician who combined academic achievement with involvement in athletics and the arts has been chosen as the 2017 recipient of the Saskatoon Board of Education's Award of Excellence.
Daniel Zhou, a graduate from Centennial Collegiate, received the award during a luncheon held Dec. 21. The award is given annually to the student who best exemplifies the goals and values of Saskatoon Public Schools.
Zhou graduated from Centennial with a 99.4 per cent average in his final year. An accomplished mathematician, Zhou began taking Advanced Placement Statistics with Grade 11 and 12 students at Centennial when he was in Grade 8. In Grade 10, he began taking upper-year math classes at the University of Saskatchewan. During his time in high school, Zhou completed five senior-level university math classes at the U of S, achieving an average of 100 per cent.
"The first striking quality that sets Daniel apart from his peers is his academic prowess," wrote Principal Cody Hanke in his nomination letter. "He truly has a thirst for understanding and it is this thirst that has led him to become a true academic as a high school student. One just needs to glance at Daniel's transcript to understand that he is not just an academically talented student but is at an elite level that is a rarity at any high school."
Aside from academics, Zhou played volleyball during his four years at Centennial, as well as junior and senior badminton. He played oboe in Centennial's band from Grade 10 to 12 and was a member of the jazz combo and chamber choir. Chess club, math club, grad committee and a large role in the school's production of Into The Woods filled his days.
"Daniel Zhou is the most outstanding student I have taught in my three-decade career," said Centennial math teacher Cameron Milner. "He exemplifies the qualities and values that our schools strive to instill in students: a deep desire to learn and a respect for others that has fostered a strong impulse to serve them."
Zhou is currently attending the California Institute of Technology, where he is also a part of an a cappella ensemble and plays oboe in the orchestra.
Established in 1990, the Award of Excellence is presented annually to the most outstanding graduate based on academic excellence, personal qualities, leadership and participation. Staff members from each public collegiate nominate a graduate to the selection committee. The winners each receive a $5,000 cash award and a medal. Nominated students are honoured and receive a $500 cash award.
Other award nominees were: Treyton Zary of Aden Bowman Collegiate, Revathi Nair from Bedford Road Collegiate, Sidney Shacter of Evan Hardy Collegiate, Alexandra Lowell from Marion M. Graham Collegiate, Kayla Denaka of Mount Royal Collegiate, Mikaela Sawatsky from Nutana Collegiate, Julianna Sparks of Tommy Douglas Collegiate, and Walter Murray Collegiate's Yuxin Bai.