Bishop Verot High School Alumni Spotlight
Our alumni go on to do great things once they have left the halls of Bishop Verot.
This month's Alumni Spotlight is on Fernando Vieira '97
First of all, I’m the proud dad to a wonderful 7 year-old second grader named Locke. He’s a bundle of energy and curiosity and keeps me on my toes while bringing lots of smiles to my face. I graduated from Verot in 1997. I studied biological engineering at the University of Florida and then medicine at Harvard Medical School. My career and professional life has been dedicated to trying to better understand and treat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. ALS is a devastating disease that results in complete paralysis and death of the person afflicted, usually within 3 to 5 years of diagnosis.
I have been studying ALS for 17 years with the ALS Therapy Development Institute (https://www.als.net/about-als-tdi/) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where I am now Senior Director of Preclinical Research. During that time, I’ve been part of a team that discovered a drug target (https://www.nature.com/articles/ng.557) and invented a drug (https://patents.google.com/patent/WO2010065819A1/en) we hope will begin human clinical trials within the next year. We hope this drug will slow ALS disease progression. However, we know this potential treatment won’t be a complete solution to ALS, so we continue to try to better understand the disease and search for even better treatments.
Our work as been featured in a couple of documentaries over the years:
Bishop Verot High School has helped me in so many ways. First, I’ll say the Bishop Verot faculty and staff modeled the Golden Rule and the Beatitudes wonderfully. I try to carry that model of living into my daily life with family, friends, and colleagues - admitting I fail possibly as often as I succeed. That said, Bishop Verot is where I also began to learn failures don’t mark the end of a worthy pursuit, rather failures mark the beginnings. Perseverance in the face of adversity goes a long way. That started to crystalize for me on the athletic practice fields and tracks at Bishop Verot. I also learned how to be part of a team. I learned how to rely on others and how to be reliable for others. Ultimately, Bishop Verot instilled in me the concept that a life in service of others is a life well lived. I should also mention it has been wonderful to stay in touch with my former Bishop Verot classmates and follow all of their fantastic growth and accomplishments through the years.
March ~ Shannon York '05
I graduated from Bishop Verot High School in 2005 and then from Florida Gulf Coast University in 2009. Though I majored in Hospitality Management, I somehow found my way into politics after living in DC for a couple of years. I now work at Stanford University as Chief of Staff to Condoleezza Rice.
When I think back on my high school years, I have such fond memories. The education I received at Bishop Verot has proven invaluable, both with the tangible but more importantly, the intangible. Verot instills a commitment to faith, family and community that is unmatched. Self-discipline is taught; hard work is expected; service is ingrained; and character is honed. Combining the structure of a Catholic education with the compassion of a communal environment forms a unique foundation for excellence in whatever you choose to do.
I'm a big believer in wisely choosing who and what surrounds you. There's no doubt that being surrounded by the Viking family during such formative years is ample preparation for all of the opportunities and challenges that may lie ahead in life. It's a special family that remains supportive, and I'm beyond grateful to be a part of it.