May 8, 2003
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Top students named in Class of ‘03
YSHS seniors Matthew Zaremsky, Andy Chen and Eli Visbal

Andy Chen has been named valedictorian and Eli Visbal and Matthew C. Zaremsky salutatorians of the Yellow Springs High School Class of 2003.

Andy Chen

Andy Chen’s achievement is the culmination of four years of hard work and commitment to excellence in school and academics.

Throughout high school, Andy has strived to be as well versed in as many subjects as possible. “I enjoy every subject,” he said. “I can honestly say there isn’t anything I don’t like.”

However, he feels as though his greatest strength lies in science and math. Andy attributes his success in these areas to his math and science teachers, notably Chris Rainey (math), Iyabo Eguaroje (biology) and Emily Riley (chemistry).

Andy has also participated in many extracurricular activities in and out of school. At YSHS, he participated in Quick Recall, soccer, swimming and Student Review Board. Outside of school, he studies piano under Cammy Dell Grote, and he was a participant in Honor Seminars of Metropolitan Dayton. Andy said that his extracurricular highlights include competing on WHIO’s “High Q” for the past two years, participating in “Horizons in Medicine,” a summer program sponsored by Wright State University, and performing a piano concerto at the senior concert recently held at YSHS.

In fact, he said, attending YSHS has been very eye opening. “I was new to Yellow Springs my freshman year and the town was so much different than what I was used to,” he said. “Everything was so laid back and unstructured. It took a little while to get used to, but over time I found that my peers and I better accomplished many things because of the combination of self-motivation and raw talent that is so prevalent in this town. The freedom and opportunity to experience many different activities have shaped my outlook on life, and I feel wiser over the course of my four years.”

After a year of college applications, interviews and much debate, Andy has decided to attend Miami University, where he received the Harrison Scholar award, which includes scholarships to cover tuition, fees and room and board.

Andy’s ultimate career goal is to become a physician, so he will major in biochemistry with a premed track. Next year, Andy will also apply to an early admissions program between Miami and the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, where he hopes to attain conditional acceptance to medical school as a freshman.

Andy is the son of C.T. and Kay Chen.

Eli Visbal

Eli Visbal’s family moved to Yellow Springs just in time for him to start kindergarten at Mills Lawn School. He has since completed grades kindergarten through 12, all in the Yellow Springs school system.

During high school, Eli has been involved in a variety of extracurricular activities. He was a member of the football team for all four years, playing linebacker, offensive line and fullback. Despite suffering a serious leg fracture his sophomore year, he returned as the leading tackler his junior year and acted as a captain last fall. He has been a member of the Student Review Board, a group that gives student input on school policies and helps to mediate disputes between teachers and students at YSHS and was elected the board’s chairman this year.

Eli played trumpet in the high school band and orchestra. He was also a member of the TEAMS competition for the past three years. During each of these years the team has won the regional competition and placed third- and fifth-place nationally the last two years.

Academically, Eli has always been interested in math and science, particularly physics. After graduation Eli will attend Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, on a full-tuition scholarship, where he will major in physics. After receiving his undergraduate degree, he plans to attend graduate school to earn a Ph.D. in physics or a closely related field, such as engineering.

Ultimately, Eli hopes to work as a physics professor or as a research scientist in a government or industrial lab.

Eli’s parents are Jane and Miguel Visbal, and he has two younger brothers, Miguel and Alex.

Matthew Zaremsky

Matthew Zaremsky has attended the Yellow Springs public school system since kindergarten. While in high school, Matthew has been a cellist in the high school orchestra, a member of the cross country team, a Quick Recall team member and an Alchemist. Twice he has competed in the TEAMS (Test of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics & Science) competition, helping the Yellow Springs team place first at the regional and state level and third at the national level in their division.

Matthew’s two greatest passions during high school have been theater and video. As a member of the YSHS Drama Club, he has participated in nine productions as an actor, writer and director. His love of theater has also led him to perform for eight seasons with YS Kids Playhouse, being one of its founding members. Matthew is a member of the Thespian Troupe No. 4671, the Yellow Springs chapter of the International Drama Honor Society. He has been a member of the YSHS Video Club throughout high school, serving as its president.

“My experiences in theater and video have been great. We have a very small high school but the opportunities to participate and create in this school and community are awesome,” he said. “The support and encouragement I have received from teachers, directors, community members and my theater and video buddies has been wonderful.”

Matthew has been a member of the Springfield Youth Symphony for the past two years and was a member of the Yellow Springs Boy Scout troop for six years. He was awarded Life Rank, the second highest rank in scouts. Matthew is a member of Temple Israel in Springfield, where he has served as president and treasurer of the Temple Youth Group and worked as an assistant Hebrew teacher.

He has been included in Who’s Who Among American High School Students for three consecutive years and as a junior was chosen to participate in Ohio’s Martin W. Essex School for the Gifted.

Matthew is a member of the National Honor Society and is a National Merit finalist. He is a recipient of the Ohio Academic Scholarship, a National Merit Scholarship and the Distinguished Academic Scholarship from Kenyon College, which he will attend this fall.

“Kenyon has a lot of the qualities that I love about Yellow Springs — a strong sense of community and lots of open-minded, creative people,” he said.

He is the son of Mary Beth Burkholder and Gary Zaremsky.