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Notre Dame Valedictorian from South Bend

NOW: Notre Dame Valedictorian from South Bend

NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- More than 3,100 students will receive degrees from the University of Notre Dame this weekend and the top student, the Class of 2019 Valedictorian, is from Michiana.

South Bend native Sofia Carozza says she’s excited to share her thoughts with the Notre Dame community.

“I basically talk about what it means to live a truly human life and how there are three lessons from our time at Notre Dame that will help us as we’re going forward from this institution to live exactly what’s being given to us for the good of others,” said Carozza.

Carozza jokes her entire academic career has taken place on the same street. She attended Saint Joseph Elementary School and Saint Joseph High School before Notre Dame.

“So many of the people who are going to be at commencement are people that I’ve known since I was a child, so it’s really exciting for me to be able to share my thoughts and my gratitude with them,” said Carozza.

The 2019 graduate is graduating with a degree from Notre Dame’s College of Science. Her primary major is neuroscience and behavior with a supplemental major in theology and a minor in philosophy, politics and economics from the College of Arts and Letters. Carozza is graduating with a 4.0 grade point average.

On campus, Carozza became involved with ND Students for Worker Justice, Show Some Skin, and the Women’s Boxing Club.

Off campus, Carozza worked with local organizations like the Juvenile Justice Center. She leads an exercise program and is a mental health coach for at-risk youth.

“My focus was never on professional achievement or academic success per say but always on the relationships that i built here on campus and how I can use what I learned to give back,” said Carozza. “It wasn’t just an experiential opportunity, like those were faces of people that I knew from my parrish growing up.”

Carozza says her South Bend roots and Notre Dame experience taught her to put people and the common good before academic and personal success. She advises other kids growing up in Michiana to do the same.

“Work really hard and not be scared to set your heights high and not settle for less, but then also not to place your value on achieving things that you thought you might but really to stay grounded and who your calling is,” said Carozza.

Carozza plans to at the University of Cambridge this fall and pursue a Master of Philosophy that leads into a doctorate in psychiatry. Her ultimate goal is to find a way to help children who have suffered abuse and neglect from a neurological standpoint.

The University of Notre Dame says 25,000 people will come to Michiana this weekend for the university’s 2019 commencement ceremony.

A university spokesman says people should expect heavier traffic around campus. There will also be police officers directing traffic near Angela Boulevard.  

Drivers do not have to worry about any road closures or one-way traffic patterns.

The university adds local bars and restaurants will likely be packed. They advise people to steer clear of campus the next few days.

“It’s a culmination of a lot of hard work by our students and an opportunity to celebrate them,” said spokesman Dennis Brown. “There are a lot of great things that have happened at Notre Dame stadium through the years. Obviously we’ve got Fighting Irish football, more recently concerts and other events and there will be in the future but there’s no more important weekend than commencement weekend. The opportunity to embrace the families and all the sacrifice that they’ve made and to recognize our students for their achievement; There’s a lot of joy, a lot of tears, and a lot of pride.”

For further details about this weekend’s ceremony, click here.

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