LOHS college credit creates opportunities for Zane Karimi

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Zane Karimi's weighted rank was 6 when he graduated from LOHS earlier this year.Qualifying for a study abroad program at Oxford University through the University of Oregon’s honors college calls for high academic standing and at least 45 college credits before winter term.

Zane Karimi expects to have 70 credits by then — and he’s only been in college for a few weeks.

He is one of three freshmen and about a dozen other students at the University of Oregon accepted into the program next spring semester at Oxford University in England.

“I thought that this would be a marvelous opportunity to go to a prestigious school and experience England,” he said.

Academic excellence is not unusual for Karimi, who graduated from Lake Oswego High School earlier this year with a weighted rank of 6. Achieving a final GPA of 3.93 at LOHS, he earned most of his college credits with several Advanced Placement classes, including economics, statistics, calculus and Spanish. He also collected credits through a Portland Community College class and the Clackamas Community College dual-credit program.

LOHS AP economics teacher Ryan Durrett said, even if it was difficult, Karimi always sought to fully comprehend the big picture when it came to learning and wasn’t satisfied with a shallow understanding of a topic.

“He wasn’t afraid of struggling or not having immediate success and then having to work hard or work through really difficult things, and that’s obviously really beneficial in life,” Durrett said.

Now, the 18-year-old is not only in the U of O’s Robert D. Clark Honors College but also Delta Tau Delta, which has been the school’s top academic fraternity since fall 2009, according to the Oregon Daily Emerald, U of O’s student newspaper.

A couple of weeks ago, Karimi was studying in one of his fraternity house’s silent rooms, where the students do homework, when he got the email that he’d been accepted into the Oxford study abroad program.

“I jumped up a little, very excited, and everyone was obviously looking at me weird because I was in a silent room, but it was a joyous occasion for all,” he said.

In addition to a required course load at Oxford, Karimi can choose a class. He wants to take a Spanish immersion class to maintain his near-fluent grasp of the language, a skill that will prove useful if he gets to travel to Europe as he hopes.

“I’d love to go to Spain, that’s for sure, and just see the Mediterranean,” he said.

He dreams of taking other study abroad trips or volunteering overseas, but he wanted to start with the Oxford program.

The best way for him to prepare for his time at Oxford is to focus on school at the U of O, where he is taking 18 credits, Karimi said. He is studying economics and he’s on the pre-medicine track. He’s interested in becoming an ophthalmologist with his own practice.

“Academically I feel all I can really do is do the best I can here, and hopefully that will translate over there,” Karimi said.

He plans to continue looking for other opportunities, including scholarships. He has earned two scholarships from the University of Oregon and scholarships from Kaiser Permanente and Lake Oswego Rotary Club.

Meanwhile, he’d like to continue volunteering, one of the values his fraternity espouses and he long has believed in. His fraternity recently spent time helping children put on a Halloween fair at a Eugene elementary school.

“We look forward to see what doors this (trip to Oxford) opens for him, and how he uses his talents,” said his father, Barry Karimi.

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