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Top grads ready for next stage in their education


The Diocese of Palm Beach honors its Catholic high school graduates, particularly the valedictorians and salutatorians, with senior spotlights. In the second of three articles shining a light on excellence in Catholic education, the Florida Catholic spoke with the top seniors at John Carroll High School.

FORT PIERCE  |  No matter the context, friendships make life enjoyable. For high school seniors, those close connections, developed during a stressful four years, can make a significant difference.

The highlight for Arielle Rosenberg and Charles Smith, the valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively, at John Carroll High School, are the friends they have made in the past four years. They both attribute those close ties among peers and teachers to the smaller size of John Carroll, compared to many other high schools.

Smith, who attended Imagine South Vero charter school for earlier grades, said he got to know his teachers and fellow students a lot better during high school. “I think we made a lot of connections over the years. And it’s a nice place to be,” he said.

Rosenberg agreed, saying that “being able to build relationships with the teachers as well and get a little more help when you need it has been really great. And getting to know them personally is also a big part of it.”

The daughter of Michael and Suzanne Rosenberg and a product of St. Helen School in Vero Beach, she is honored to finish at the top of her high school class. “I’ve dedicated 12 years of my life to getting to where I am, and I’m proud of myself for following through on that commitment,” Rosenberg said. “Even with all the ups and downs and burdens of high school, I’ve still managed to just dedicate myself to my studies and have my priorities aligned.”

Smith, the son of Craig and Jaimie Smith, is looking ahead to attending his “dream school,” Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, where he’ll major in aeronautical science and pursue a career as a pilot. “I put in a lot of hard work to get where I am, getting good grades and all the clubs and activities that I do, and I’m just proud of where I’ve gotten to be,” he said.

Rosenberg is planning many more years of education after committing to the University of Florida and majoring in biology, then medical school and a career as a cardiothoracic surgeon. Her ability to build solid relationships with her instructors should continue to serve Rosenberg well. She credits her junior and senior year English teacher, Caroline Miller, with readying her for college.

“She’s really helped me so much in so many different ways I can’t even begin to name them,” she said. “Having a genuine person be a teacher is kind of a little different like that. She’s a good person, and she’s really just so helpful in everything, and she’s been there for me.”

The John Carroll teacher who has made the greatest impact on Smith is science instructor Beau Roberts. “He’s been my teacher three years now. I’ve had him for chemistry, AP chemistry and then marine biology honors here. I really enjoy his classes, the way he teaches. They’ve kind of fostered my love of learning,” he said.

The two highly motivated students spoke of their involvement in clubs and honor societies, which have been fun and a way to develop leadership skills. But their advice to younger students is to not get carried away with extracurriculars and forget their main objective.

“I would just say make sure that you don’t get distracted by everything that goes on in high school and make sure that you do kind of have priorities with your academics,” Rosenberg said, “because yes, high school is a huge social, quote-unquote, experiment. But your real priority should be your future and making sure you do get good grades, and really focus on that to prepare you so that you can have the future you desire.”

Smith’s comments were similar: “I would say don’t blow off studying, but don’t give up your life as well. Try and find the fine balance where you can enjoy your years in high school.”

To learn more about John Carroll High School, visit or call 772-464-5200. Follow the school on Facebook, Instagram and X. Stay updated on the diocesan Office of Catholic Schools at or follow on Facebook, Instagram and X @diocesepbschools.