A Grade 12 Hay River student scored 100 per cent on his final exams in math this year, earning him the honour of being the top student in the territory in his subject.
“On the math diploma, I ended up with 100 per cent,” said Zack Horton during an interview with The Hub. “It means I’m at least tied for the highest mark.”
Horton was recently notified he was going to win the award by his math teacher, J.P. Brabant.
Horton said math comes to him fairly easily however, he put in a lot of time to pull off his perfect results, doing practice questions and reviewing his textbooks frequently.
However, the night before his final exam he spent his time helping other students study.
“I skimmed the textbook and I thought I knew everything,” he said.
He said he loves math because it’s one of those subjects where you don’t have to argue for the answer.
“You don’t have to justify anything. There’s a way to an answer (and) you get an answer,” he said. “I generally try and approach everything logically. It seems like the best way to approach things, objectively and with all the information.”
There is also a good chance Horton could get top honours in chemistry and biology. Results are still pending for the exams, but he had 98 and 100 per cent in the two courses respectively before writing them.
Horton is now getting ready to go to McGill for a joint honours degree in finance and commerce. He also got into pre-med but decided it wasn’t the path for him.
“I like math too much to choose that,” he said.
Grade 12 student Fiona Huang also got the top grades in the territory for math and chemistry last year, although she didn’t find out until recently when her parents showed her the letter.
“My parents were just like you got this and I was like, cool,” she said.
While math comes naturally to Horton, Huang said she had to put in a lot of extra hours working after class with her math teacher in order to get the top in her year.
“It’s good to have a teacher that is competent and knows what we they’re doing,” she said.
Brabant said regardless of natural talent, anyone who gets the top marks in the territory is obviously putting in the time to succeed.
“Resilience is the word would use to describe them.,” she said. “These are people that have put the work in since kindergarten.”
While the NWT’s education system is frequently criticized, Brabant said it’s important to celebrate the achievements of those who persevere to succeed.
“It’s important for us to support our leaders of tomorrow the people that are going to run our communicates,” he said. “These are the people that are going to be the best they can be in whatever field they choose.”