Christopher Wan is 2013 Valedictorian

Spotlight Date: 
April 22, 2013
Chris Wan 2013 Valedictorian


In addition to being a stellar pianist Music Department senior Christopher Wan is also the class of 2013 valedictorian!  
Under the guidance of his parents Chris started playing the piano at the early age of 5.  By the time he was 10 it had become a real passion and it was evident that he had something special.  He took the initiative and started practicing for hours a day.    When asked about what interests him about piano performance Chris explained, “Piano is a great way to escape from the pressures and stress of school.”
It wasn’t until his sophomore year of high school, when Chris took Advanced Placement biology and Advanced Placement chemistry with Mr. Anand and Mrs. Dann, that his interest in science was sparked.  “Mr. Anand encouraged me to do the science fair in 11th grade but I was hesitant because of the demands of my other classes and music.”    As a senior Chris won the State Science and Engineering Fair of Florida and will now move on to compete at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair this summer.  
Q: Can you explain your science project?
A: My science project is a combination of computer science and environmental science. The first year (11th grade) I spent about 400 hours on the project. This year I continued it with an additional 800 hours. The goal was to develop a model to simulate salinity in the Loxahatchee River as a performance tool. My project allows engineers and environmentalist to predict salinity at any given moment in the river. Currently the South Florida Water management District has 3 dimensional models to predict this and they require days to run. My model works instantaneously.  I am talking with them to see if they can use my model but it is a difficult legal process. This project won 1st place at State Science Fair held in Lakeland, Florida this year.  The project is going to onto internationals this year in Phoenix, AZ.  (Stay tuned to see how he does!)
Q: What do you feel has most influenced you in your science pursuits? 
A: Last year I attended the International Engineering and Science Fair with 1,500 other students from around the world showcasing the coolest things ever.  There was a kid finding a novel way to detect colon cancer!  Being exposed to that environment kindled a flame for science and was also a very humbling experience.
Q: Have you attended any summer programs?
A: In 2011 I attended the Eastern Music Festival through the School of the Arts Foundation’s Benenson Scholarship.  Eastern only accepts 21 students internationally and I was the youngest one there. I also felt I was one of the worst performers there.  Being one of the top dogs at Dreyfoos, it made me realize I had to practice harder and more often.
Q: Why did you choose to attend Dreyfoos over your second choice of Suncoast?
A: The reason I chose Dreyfoos over Suncoast is because of the strong arts programs; this is the same reason I am thinking of going to Yale over other schools (Princeton and MIT) because of their strong music program.
Dreyfoos is diverse above everything else. Because we have so many different art areas  we have so many different people.  We are all happy at Dreyfoos, there are no fights and we all get along. I am not sure but I don’t think the students can be this happy at other schools. 
Q: Where do you plan on attending college?
A: Yale - I will major in bio chem and bio physics and maybe minor in music.  I can take lessons there and most easily continue my interest and love for music but will major in science because I feel that is my future.  I want to attend med school and maybe pursue cardiology.  My interests are volatile and maybe computer science might be a viable path as well. It is up to the future to tell me what I will do.
Q: In a brief statement tell us “What does Dreyfoos mean to me”?
A: Dreyfoos means a place where I can go to not only excel but also enjoy myself. It gives me the opportunities to do what I love and prepare myself for the future in the best way possible. The student body is loving, caring and fun and while some students at other schools find it a chore to attend, I find it quite enjoyable.
Watch Chris perform Liszt Rigoletto-Paraphrase: