Giuseppe Carito, left, and Sarnaz Ale Mohammed.

Top scholars not bookworms you might think

  • September 6, 2022

Graduating with stellar grades isn’t easy but it also doesn’t mean having your head in a book all day. Just ask some of the York Catholic District School Board’s 2022 top scholars.

Giuseppe Carito and Sarvnaz Ale Mohammad are two of four graduating students in the district to score a perfect 100-per-cent average in all their courses this past school year, and both say the secret to their success has been about finding balance.

A fun-loving teen, Carito has always had a penchant for math, science and staying actively involved in his school community. In addition to serving on student council at St. Jean de Brebeuf Catholic High School in Woodbridge, Ont., and being involved with morning announcements and prayers, he was on the swim team and made sure to keep a healthy active social life.

“I didn’t spend, like, 10 hours a day just locked in a room doing math problems forever and ever,” laughed Carito. “I had a social life. I was really friendly with everybody and they were friendly back. People always tell me I’m a friendly person to be around. School’s important, but you have to make sure you have a good social life. Also be aware of your mental health and tend to that whenever you can.”

Ale Mohammad says earning an outstanding average was not something she was at all focused on. The unassuming teen from St. Robert Catholic High School in Thornhill, Ont., says she is grateful for her supportive family and amazing teachers who have enabled her success throughout high school. She also attributes this accomplishment to her time management and prioritization.

A member of the school debate team, she led the Model UN chapter, also served on the robotics team and was president of the school social justice council. Being actively involved in various activities and initiatives made school “fun,” she says. Instead of focusing on earning perfect grades, she prioritized her overall well-being, disciplining herself to stop studying at 10 p.m. each night to make sure she got enough rest.

Ale Mohammad believes that if students put their energy into enjoying themselves and doing their very best, the academic successes and other achievements will take care of themselves.

“I worked really hard on setting (time) limits for myself and valued my sleep and mental health,” said Ale Mohammad. “I didn’t believe that I would have to push myself like crazy all the time to get good marks. Realizing that I valued my own health was pretty important to me because then I stopped aiming to get a hundred on everything and just tried my best. I was lucky that it happened to be a hundred, but honestly it was just not something that I’d been actively aiming for. I’d just been hoping for a good mark that reflected what I was capable of.”

Carito will begin his undergraduate education in the fall at the University of Toronto where he’ll be majoring in life sciences. The last two years has shown the importance of having a strong support system, says Carito. It has also affirmed the importance of the health-care system and inspired him to pursue a career in medicine so he can help make the world a safer place.

“The pandemic has reinforced the integral role that health-care professionals play in our society,” said Carito. “I can attribute my success to my incredible high school teachers, who worked tirelessly to provide us with the best education possible. I also credit my accomplishments to my parents, who have instilled in me the importance of hard work.”

Ale Mohammad will be attending the University of Toronto engineering science program this year. Passionate about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), she hopes to someday get into biotechnology where her love for biology, physics, chemistry, computer science and math can come together.

The other 100-per-cent scholars in the district were Rachel Gaspar, also of St. Jean de Brebeuf Catholic High School, who will pursue a Bachelor of Science with a double major in mathematics and law and society at Toronto’s York University. Maya Paladino from Father Bressani Catholic High School will be studying engineering science at the University of Toronto.

“This is an outstanding academic achievement, and we send you heartfelt congratulations and wish you all the best on your next journey,” said Domenic Scuglia, director of education.

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