Senior Cup: Chenzhe Cao & Ariel Kirshenbaum

By Andrea Braver and Justin Quinn
Published: June 2010

Every year, two seniors are chosen to receive the prestigious Senior Cup award. Seniors Chenzhe Cao and Ariel Kirshenbaum were selected this year as recipients of the award, announced at the Graduation ceremony.

Throughout his years at South, Cao has exhibited exceptional leadership, beginning with positions in Class Office, including two Vice Presidencies and the seat of President his senior year.

According to his teachers, Cao’s impressive natural leadership abilities have led him to succeed and stand out amongst his peers.

“Chen is a leader in so many facets of school, but certainly his role of class [President] is his hallmark, British Literature teacher Corrine Popp said. “[He] loves helping his fellow students and his unifying presence has made such a difference in our school.

Math Department Head Steven Rattendi shares similar sentiments, admiring Cao’s leadership qualities as well. “My first experience seeing Chen in action as a leader was during the pep rally earlier in the year. I was amazed at the way he was able to interact with a large crowd of students, Rattendi said.

Cao is extremely involved in other aspects of the South community as well, such as being a member of the Band, and the web editor of Denebola.

“Chen is an excellent musician, band teacher Lisa Linde said. “His discipline shows in his playing.

Cao combined his talent for technology and passion for music by creating a website for the school’s band.

He continually updated the website, each time accommodating the band’s needs. Cao’s determination and tendency to exceed expectations is what makes him such a beloved member of the senior class. He is valued for his friendliness and approachability. “Students seem comfortable talking with him, Popp said, “He is always smiling and laughing.

Cao is able to balance his extracurricular activities, the pressures of high school, and added stress in his life. “When all the seniors seemed to be at the end of their rope and beyond stressed, Chen remained consistently calm and composed, French teacher Sebastien Merle said.

Cao is also a hardworking and dedicated standout student who “always goes beyond the expectations of the assignment, Popp said.

Next fall, Cao will be attending Boston University.

Ariel Kirshenbaum, a talented student, athlete, and artist, exhibits admirable qualities. She was an integral member of both the Varsity Girls’ Soccer and Gymnastics teams since her freshman year. Kirshenbaum became a captain of both of these sports during her senior year.

Kirshenbaum’s gymnastics coach, Greg Beaupre, could not say enough about her.

“She is incredibly talented, yet incredibly humble, Beaupre said.

When she initially joined the gymnastics team her freshman year, Kirshenbaum knew nothing about the sport; however, she was extremely athletic, dedicated, and quick to learn, which resulted in her rapid success in the sport. In fact, her athleticism was a contributing factor in her team’s tremendously successful season this year.

Kirshenbaum is a phenomenal student and person as a whole.“Ariel puts 100 percent into everything she does, Beaupre said. “She is very gifted, kind, and supportive of people academically and athletically.

Kirshenbaum’s Journalism teacher, Alexander Kaplan, agreed. “She is an academic star, but you would never know it by sitting in a class with her, he said.

She does not openly exhibit her intelligence; “Ariel tries not to stand out from her peers, Kaplan said.

Kirshenbaum demonstrates exceptional skill in art. She was one of three recipients of the annual Newton South High School Drawing and Painting Award.

“Ariel never settles for mediocre results in art and life. She faces challenges head on, grappling until she can come out on top with the best possible results, art teacher Megan Leary-Crist said.

Along with her talents in a plethora of different activities, she was also the Sophomore Speech winner.

One can hear her laugh across the halls; she has a vibrant countenance and a winning smile. Along with a stellar personality, Kirshenbaum has an incredible sense of humor.

Many were left in hysterical laughter after reading her monthly column in the Lion’s Roar.

Next fall, Kirshenbaum will be attending Yale University.

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