CHESHIRE – Like many teenagers his age, Yasin Tarabar isn’t sure what the future may hold.
The 2019 Cheshire High School valedictorian will be heading to Yale University, embarking on a journey of self discovery. Where will it lead?
“I think I am going to major in math, possibly with a double major in electrical engineering/computer science,” said Tarabar. “I think with math, you can go a lot of different places and maybe engineering is where I’ll wind up … then, in the back of my mind, I think about going to law school. I’m just going to take some classes, see what I like.”
During his four years in high school, Tarabar has stood out academically and athletically. His top-of-the-class ranking comes courtesy of a 4.992 grade point average. He is the captain of the boys’ tennis team and math league team, as well as an officer in the Young Democrats Club.
Tarabar’s accolades are numerous: He twice earned the highest math league score for the greater New Haven region; was selected to the state math team three times; earned the highest score in Connecticut on the National German exam; and was one of only 40 students from around the U.S. selected to attend a special study abroad trip to Germany last summer.
“My time on the sports teams has been the most fun,” he said. “Tennis, I captain (that team) and it’s a great group of kids. The Cross Country team, I’ve been running with them since eighth grade—another great group of guys. Swimming was something I decided to do this year for the first time, and my only regret is that I didn’t do it earlier.”
High school science teacher Stephanie Bertenshaw met Tarabar during his freshman year, when he would “hang out” in her class after school with other science-minded classmates. But it was over Tarabar’s sophomore and junior years, when Bertenshaw had him as a student, that the veteran teacher got to know him best.
“It became apparent very early on how bright he was,” said Bertenshaw. “He easily understood the chemistry we were learning, (so much so) that, when he’d accomplish his task, (Tarabar) would almost create his own puzzles to solve."
Tarabar has always been drawn to numbers and equations. Yet, as Tarabar was introduced to new courses in high school his appreciation for other subjects grew. It’s one of the reasons he chose to attend Yale over other prestigious universities.
“They have a great liberal arts program,” he said, “and while I don’t necessarily like participating (in the arts), I really enjoy watching.”
Broadening his horizons allowed Tarabar to meet new friends and take a passionate interest in different subjects, including current affairs. He joined the Young Democrats club as a freshman. His experience with the club resulted in political internships and a leadership role within the group.
Bertenshaw spoke of Tarabar’s humility and his ability to stay grounded despite being showered with praise for his academic and athletic achievements.
“What I love about him is that, everything he is, everything about him comes in this gentle, respectful package that (contains) a great deal of humility,” said Bertenshaw.
Tarabar admits to being a bit nervous about the next step. Thus far, he’s only had to worry about doing his best in classes and on the field but, at Yale he’ll have to start making important decisions for himself.
“I don’t mean decisions like, ‘Hey, should I go eat food now?’ I mean decisions like, ‘What do I want to study?’ and, ‘What do I actually want to do (as a career)?’” he said. “Now, I have to make decisions that will shape the path (I take) … but other than that, I am excited about my future.”