Columbia teen excels on and off the mat, heading to MIT

Leon Wang was named the Subway Male Student-Athlete of the Year in SC.
Published: Jun. 24, 2021 at 7:05 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Call him a renaissance man!

Leon Wang graduated earlier this month from Dreher High School.

Not only was he first in his class with a 5.07 GPA, he scored 1550 on the SAT and he was captain of the school’s wrestling team.

Now he prepares for the next step in life: college.

“It’s bittersweet,” he said.

Wang, excited for the future, reflects fondly on lessons learned while he was a Blue Devil wrestler.

“Wrestling put into me that -- even when stuff gets tough, when it’s starting to hurt, you got to continue,” he said.

Wang’s approach helped him pin the competition. He won multiple district and region titles serving as team captain. 

“I never really thought of myself that special,” he said. “Found myself as quite ordinary.”

But don’t let his humble attitude fool you -- his accomplishments are remarkable.

He graduated first in his class, is a National Merit Scholar, AP Scholar, and a four-time state champion in the U.S. Chemistry Olympiad.

And he was recently named the Subway Male Student-Athlete of the Year for excellence in athletics, academics, and community service. 

The award, presented by the South Carolina High School League, meant the world to Wang.

“It made me feel strong,” he said. “It made me feel all these efforts I put in helped me become a better person.”

Self-validation provides strength as he prepares to head to the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology, commonly known as MIT, this fall. 

He looks forward to creating his own path and giving back to the community along the way.

“I’m going to focus on trying to forge this path I can make an impact with,” Wang said. “I do want to use the opportunity to help out the less fortunate. That’s one of my specific goals. This next stage of life, being able to pull on the things I enjoyed these past few years.”         

Wang plans to major in chemistry and minor in humanities.

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