March-April 2011 | Parenting

Top Teens 2011

Bethesda Magazine's 2011 Extraordinary Teen Awards.

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The Entrepreneur

Alison Zhang

Senior, Winston Churchill High School

What sets her apart: Alison Zhang entered high school at 13, and will graduate at 17 with top honors this year. While maintaining a 4.79 weighted GPA with four AP classes this year, the Potomac resident co-leads her school’s debate team and plays principal viola for Churchill’s orchestra. And that’s not all: She runs a successful business that sells anime merchandise and graphic arts created by artists from around the world, as well as her own artwork, at anime conventions and festivals. Last summer she went to wholesale markets in China and “loved doing my own negotiations.”

Other accomplishments: National Merit finalist; co-captain of the debate team; and violist in the National Symphony Orchestra Youth Fellowship Program.

What others say: Eleanor Goodwin, who teaches Alison’s AP English Literature and Composition class, recalls the teenager explaining “how Shakespeare’s sonnets illustrate Friedrich Nietzsche’s ideas in his work The Gay Science.” Furthermore, “Alison’s poetry and accompanying computer-generated collage art always stuns the class with its originality and elegance.”

What her future holds: Alison wants to major in finance, business or marketing, and minor in philosophy at an Ivy League university, while expanding her business.