Sofia Carlo makes Neumann-Goretti history

The recent graduate became the first Saint to gain admittance into Johns Hopkins University.

Sofia Carlo considers herself “very lucky” to have amassed the impressive list of accomplishments that her 18 years have yielded. Far more than luck, though, has pushed the Girard Estate resident to enviable heights, including dedication, tirelessness, self-belief, and loving parents. She will take all of those blessings with her, albeit figuratively with respect to mother Wanda and father Senen, on August 16 when she officially begins her life as a student at Johns Hopkins University. When she makes that journey, she will do so as the first Ss. Neumann-Goretti High School graduate to matriculate there. 

“I’ll be making my next step with so much gratitude in my heart,” the newly minted alumnus said of how her alma mater at 1736 S. 10th St. prepared her to tackle the world at large. “I’ll do my absolute best to fulfill my goals.”

In addition to the Baltimore-based biomedical school Carlo was admitted to the University of Pennsylvania. Rather than remaining local, she elected to further an intense interest in dermatology in a new environment. She feels that no matter the circumstances, she will continue to rely on every lesson, whether classroom-rooted or not, that she has picked up. 

“I’ve faced a lot of doubt over the years,” Carlo said of obstacles that include a scoliosis diagnosis at age 11 and mistreatment from bullies. “I feel pretty happy, then, to be able to be the first from my high school to test my abilities at Johns Hopkins.”

As Neumann-Goretti’s salutatorian, she gave a Baccalaureate Mass speech June 8, imbuing it with a “somber” tone that touched on the fleeting nature of the time that she and her classmates spent together while reinforcing how united they will be as graduates as they craft their careers. A self-proclaimed “kid who has always loved school,” Carlo kept active by participating in many clubs, and taking Advanced Placement classes. She also attended an entrepreneurial camp at Drexel University, part of Thomas Jefferson University Hospital’s program for future healthcare workers. The time at Drexel could prove particularly instrumental, as the teenager wants her own dermatology practice. 

“At Neumann-Goretti, we all focused on building relationships,” Carlo said of the we’re-in-this-together mindset that her fellow Saints nurtured. “We wanted everyone to do well and succeed.” 

Although there may be challenges ahead at Johns Hopkins, Carlo, who received a considerable scholarship, knows that plenty of people are already rooting for her, notably her parents.

“They’re my world,” she said with a smile. “I’d be nothing without them, and I certainly wouldn’t be about to go where I’m going without their sacrifices.”