By STEPHEN O'KANE, Staff Writer | Published June 9, 2011
The Georgia Bulletin invited readers to send the names of Catholic students who graduated at the top of their class in 2011 at public high schools in North Georgia. Here are interviews with five outstanding students, who earned the rank of valedictorian or salutatorian in Gainesville, Rome, Alpharetta, McDonough and East Point.
Rome High School student Charlie Fisher recently earned the salutatorian title for the graduating class of 2011, marking one of many significant moments during the teen’s four years in high school.
A parishioner at St. Mary Church in Rome and son of Kenneth and Julie Fisher, Charlie has worked tirelessly during his time at Rome High School, earning academic recognition as well as athletic accolades. In addition to earning the salutatorian title in his class and serving as a member of the National Honor Society, Charlie also received the offensive player of the year award this season in baseball, leading the team’s batting average.
“I am proud of receiving the offensive player of the year award for Rome High School this season in baseball,” Charlie wrote by e-mail. “I worked very hard to improve my swing over the summer, and my hard work paid off during the season.”
He is also active in the local community, helping as an altar server at his parish for the last eight years, and participating in the Boy Scouts, where he earned the coveted Eagle Scout rank.
Charlie created many memories during his time in high school, one of them during a 10-day backpacking trip from the Scouts’ rugged base camp near Cimarron, N.M., where he experienced a certain spiritual renewal out in the wilderness.
“Being out in nature and seeing the beauty of God’s creation helped me get closer to Him,” Charlie wrote. “The trip left me with a lot of time for inner reflection, and at times I had to rely on my faith and inner strength.”
This fall, Charlie will be attending Georgia Tech with the intention of majoring in industrial systems engineering. He said his physics teacher, Wesley Styles, who taught him as a freshman and as a senior in AP physics, is responsible for his interest in the field.
“(Mr. Styles) has really gotten me interested in science and pursuing a degree in that field,” Charlie wrote. “After four or more years in college, I hope to start my career in industrial engineering. I’m not sure what I want to do exactly, but I’m hoping college will help me discover what I’m interested in specifically.”
Rising high school freshman would be wise to listen to Charlie’s advice, seeing as how he has become known for his success in and out of the classroom. Putting a certain focus on academics is key, he said, but being open to learning life lessons from your experiences is important as well.
“As simple as it sounds, pay attention in class. You can really absorb a lot of the material from the teacher and reinforce it with the homework given. Don’t wait until you’re at home doing homework or the night before a test to learn the material,” he advised new high school freshmen. “Mistakes happen, but the important thing is that you can learn from them and grow from your experiences.”