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Meet OHS top graduates:


Chen, Schonfeld, Thaler



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Chen (click for larger version)
June 08, 2011 - After spending numerous hours cramming for tests, writing research papers and giving countless presentations, three students rose above the rest to become this year's valedictorian and co-salutatorians.

The valedictorian for the class of 2011 is Xing Chen, while Mark Schonfeld and Konrad Thaler are the co-salutatorians.

"I'm really happy with the way it turned out," Schonfeld said. "Xing (Chen), who got valedictorian, is really smart and he worked really hard and he is a friend of mine and Konrad (Thaler), the other salutatorian, he is another friend of mine. So it is really cool for all three of us to get that."

Chen, the son of Qiu Ping Zou and Jian Kang Chen, graduated with a 3.977 grade point average.

He was shocked when he found out he was going to be his class's valedictorian.

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Schonfeld (click for larger version)
"That was something I didn't expect; I never thought I was going to be valedictorian," he said. "It's unbelievable and I worked very hard and I deserve it."

After graduating, Chen plans on attending the University of Michigan, where he is going to study Pre-Med and one day become a doctor or surgeon.

He said the desire to become a doctor stems from his desire to help his family members when they got sick.

"I want to become a doctor so someday I can help my family and other people instead of standing there and doing nothing," he said.

Chen said his favorite memory from high school was when he learned how to swim during swim class in his freshman year. "I think that is the best part of high school, along with my teachers and friends."

Thaler
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Thaler (click for larger version)
While at OHS, Chen was a member of the Oxford Robocats and participated in the school's quiz bowl.

When he wasn't in the classroom or hitting the books, Chen could be found working in his parents restaurant China House, in Oxford.

Schonfeld, the son of Dave and Leslie Schonfeld of Oxford, graduated with a GPA of 3.993. He said he wasn't sure if he was going to be the salutatorian because alot of his friends had been successful in school. "I worked really hard for it and I am really happy to earn that."

During his time at Oxford, Schonfeld participated in the marching band, pit band and wind ensemble. When he wasn't in school or doing school functions, he liked to go camping, backpacking, swimming, watch movies and play video games.

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One thing he was going to miss about high school is being in the band.

"Mr. Gibbons was a great director and I am going to miss it alot because I am probably not going to have the same opportunities in college because I am going to be really busy," Schonfeld said.

Schonfeld plans on attending Michigan State University, where he plans on studying Biochemistry and History.

After visiting many smaller private schools, Schonfeld chose MSU because of the vast amount of research available to students.

He also received a two-year professor assistantship, giving him the opportunity to study and conduct research with a professor.

"No where else offered me something like that, and that is what really did it for me," he said. He added that it also helped that his family is alumni and he is a Spartan fan.

His career goal is to be able to conduct research while being a professor.

"I know I do want to do research, but I thought being a professor would be a good way to do that because I can teach and enjoy working with young minds and discovering new things," Schonfeld said.

Thaler, the son of Roland and Bonnie Thaler of Oxford, graduated with a 3.93 GPA.

"I'm really happy to be receiving this award," he said. "I wasn't expecting it, so I am glad I am able to be with the best in my class academically."

Besides attending classes, Thaler was active in the school's social life. He served on the student council, was in the National Honor Society and participated on the varsity wrestling and lacrosse teams.

He added the thing he was going to miss the most about Oxford is hanging out with his friends, his teachers and competing on the varsity squads.

When he wasn't in the classroom or on the athletic field, Thaler could be found playing his guitar, snowboarding or camping.

After graduation, Thaler will be attending the University of Michigan, where he plans on majoring in Biomedical Engineering.

He said he made his career choice after speaking with his cousin, who works as a mechanical engineer.

"I've always been interested in medicine...so after talking with him extensively I decided I would like to apply medicine through engineering," Thaler said.

When he completes his undergraduate degree, he is hoping to attend medical school and become an emergency room surgeon.

Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.
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