Nobody’s perfect. But Kris Todi is pretty close.
The Marshall McLuhan Catholic Secondary School grade 12 student has, so far , earned a combined 99.14 percent average in his classes this semester.
“There’s always room for improvement but marks aren’t everything,” said Todi. “Marks are important but it’s about learning. It’s about understanding what you’re doing.
“If you’re passionate about it I think the marks just come.”
In addition to excelling in the classroom Todi also spends time playing centre-defender for McLuhan’s soccer team and is the top scorer for its Reach for the Top trivia team. He is a member of the debate team and recently won best delegate at the model United Nations.
“I’ve pursued the things I’m passionate about with as much vigour as I could muster and one of those passions in chess,” he said, while adding that he only started playing a couple of years ago.
According to David Ryder, the teacher who heads the McLuhan’s chess club, that passion and commitment has been on full display as Todi learns the game. After all, it was Todi who began the chess club at the school.
“He’s got a lot of stamina, for want of a better term,” Ryder said. “He doesn’t give up easily.
“In the beginning I think I beat him once or twice in chess. But now generally [Todi] beats me, so I’m lucky if I can get a draw.”
His work ethic is drawn from his early experiences, Todi said. His family arrived in Toronto from Albania in 2001. Their first place of residence was the Beach Motel on Lakeshore Boulevard West.
“I realized the value of education and I realized that in this type of society you have to really work hard,” he said. “Nothing would be handed to you but through hard work you could achieve your dreams.”
Todi said he has applied to schools such as Harvard and Yale with political dreams in mind, including possibly becoming Prime Minister. As junior representative on McLuhan’s student council two years ago Todi drafted a 15-page constitution outlining the council’s powers.
“I’d like to do a joint law and business degree and after that serve in some political capacity either here in Canada or maybe back home in Albania,” he said. “I really want to make a difference.”
What makes Todi different from other students, according to Ryder, is how well-rounded he is as an individual, excelling in both extra-circulars and academics.
“[Todi] is a student that I think every teacher would love to have,” Ryder said. “He’s a hard worker, he’s I think somebody that the other kids look up to.
“He tries hard and obviously he succeeds beyond our wildest dreams so we’re very happy to have him here at McLuhan.”
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