Eight students from the Toronto Catholic District School Board graduated with perfect grades this year – and six of them all hail from the same high school.

Father John Redmond Catholic Secondary School and Regional Arts Centre, an Etobicoke high school south of Lake Shore Boulevard West, saw the most graduates with 100 per cent grades in the 2022-23 academic school year.

Six students leave the school with flawless averages – the most the school has ever seen in one graduating class, principal John D’Onofrio confirmed to CTV News Toronto Monday. Last year, the Toronto District School Board saw five graduates leave high school with perfect averages – and even then, all of the students attended different schools.

“I was pleasantly surprised,” D’Onofrio told CTV News Toronto. “A little shocked, but knowing these kids, [it was] not unexpected with these six students.”

Amelia Campoli, Honora Murphy, Tano Nguyen, Natalia Zulek, Zachary Xerri and Robert Zupancic are the six esteemed Redmond students to score perfect graduating averages for the 2022-23 academic year.

D’Onofrio called the students “passionate, hardworking, and very disciplined,” which closely falls in line with the school’s motto of “teach me goodness, discipline and knowledge.” And while D’Onofrio says credit should be given to those attributes, he also pointed to the support that surrounds them.

“It is because of the students and the support they have at home, for sure from their families and their friends,” D’Onofrio said. “As a school we do what we need to do with respect to student engagement, and supporting these students and nourishing their passions and nourishing their interests, and giving them constant feedback as to how they can improve and meet the expectations.”

Xerri told CTV News Toronto he is proud and happy to see his peers succeed.

“It was definitely a great accomplishment,” Xerri said. “I always put my best foot forward, and in my studies I always try my best. There was no way for me to expect a recognition like this, I was truly, truly grateful for the recognition.”

Zachary Xerri

The Catholic school prides itself on focusing on academics, arts, and athletics, following the footsteps of Father John Redmond, the Basilian priest the school is named after.

Xerri followed the “Triple A” approach to his high school education, as he was involved in the school’s Congregated Advanced Placement (CAP) program, Regional Arts Band (RAP) program, safe schools committee, leadership collective, peer tutoring and peer ministry team, and was a member of the cross country and track and field teams.

Outside of school, Xerri said he devoted 200 hours of his time volunteering at Humber River Hospital, working part-time making dough at a local bakery in the Junction, and playing the piano and saxophone – “it’s just a great way to take a step back from academics.”

While Xerri credited his passion for learning – particularly in math and sciences – and his learning environment to stoking his fire to stay motivated, he says he would not have been able to juggle everything on his own if it weren't for time management.

“I still use a physical planner – I love it. It’s great for me, you know, to write everything down, keep me on track, and with time management also comes with prioritization and recognizing my priorities as a student,” Xerri told CTV News Toronto.

“It’s definitely a balancing act… I’ve been able to really hone down on my time management and I think that’ll be helpful as well come university.”

Zachary Xerri

If he had to impart any words of wisdom to his peers now entering their final year of high school, Xerri said he would just leave one: “participation.”

Outside of participating in class discussion and answering questions in class, Xerri said it is essential to participate in school’s programs.

“I’ve acquired many foundational skills through my extracurricular involvement at Father John Redmond, and those are skills that I am definitely grateful for learning, and I am sure that they’ll be of use in my future as well.”

The 17-year-old is set to attend University of Toronto’s life sciences program.

“I’m super excited to again be in that environment with like-minded peers,” Xerri said.