Community School of Naples senior wants to help women in developing countries
Editor’s note: This is one in a series of Naples Daily News stories on Graduates of Distinction, who are selected by staff at the high school.
Adora Teresi is likely to take Georgetown University by storm.
The senior at Community School of Naples set her sights on Georgetown in Washington, D.C., at a young age. Being accepted to attend was destiny.
“Going to Georgetown has been a dream of mine for so many years,” Teresi, 17, said as she explained her ambitions in a whirlwind of enthusiasm.
She will be a business major and intends to tap the network of Georgetown alumni to start a nonprofit organization.
The goal is to help young women in developing countries get an education. Teresi speaks English, Albanian and Spanish.
She may start laying the groundwork for the nonprofit before she graduates from Georgetown. Wasting time is not in her nature.
Her top role model is Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani activist who was shot in the head in 2012 by a Taliban gunman and became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014. Another role model is Michelle Obama.
“She is still fighting for women’s rights to this day,” she said, referring to Yousafzai. She is proof that young people can make a difference in the world, Teresi said.
Teresi’s parents immigrated from Albania and own three Mel’s Diners in Southwest Florida. They’ve taught their daughter the ropes of the business and the importance of compassion for others.
A family tradition is feeding the needy on Thanksgiving Day at the Fort Myers Rescue Mission with food from Mel’s.
She enjoys raising money at her church, St. Katherine Greek Orthodox Church, during its annual Greek festival. She’s part of a youth dancing group at the church.
“It inspires me to do good,” she said.
The audience traditionally throws money on the stage when she and others in the youth group entertain the audience with traditional Greek dances.
This past year she arranged for the donations to go to Golisano Children’s Hospital in South Lee County.
Teresi said the appeal of Georgetown is its cultural diversity and emphasis on respecting different cultures. Georgetown requires students to take theology classes and that is a big plus to her.
At Community School, Teresi was president of the mock trial program and president of the Spanish Club. She’s been editor of the school yearbook for five years. She liked learning how to design the yearbook and meeting students she may not have met in the normal course of her school day.
“It was super cool,” she said.
Teresi said she doesn't consider the pursuit of good grades and academic success to be a chore. She said she emulates her parents' work ethic. She has a weighted GPA of 4.67 and is graduating in the top 10% of her class.
“I always wanted to have straight A's and to learn more and try to master the topic,” she said.
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Peggy Rovins, director of college counseling at Community School, said in a letter of recommendation that “molecules in the air start to dance” when Teresi walks into her office because of her upbeat attitude.
“I am always happy when she pops in for a visit,” Rovins said. “When she leaves, I am still smiling because her enthusiasm is contagious. She tackles school with determination and a can-do attitude that is refreshing.”
Her core group of friends at school, like the rest of the student body, is academically focused. They spend their free time talking about their academics.
“I am definitely a nerd,” she said. “We are a very nerdy school. Everybody wants to learn and do well.”
She’s lived all her life in Naples and loves her hometown, but Teresi is ready for the fast pace of the nation’s capital.
“I will be happy to be popping the bubble,” she said.
What is your favorite TV show you binge watch on Netflix?
"Friends," "The Office" and "Stranger Things"
What is your favorite food and favorite place to get it?
Pasta and chocolate from Fresh Market
What is your favorite place to hang out in Naples?
What celebrity do you most admire?
If you could bequeath just one item to the incoming senior class, what would it be?
A journal. It is the ideal way to get rid of any stress or negative emotions so that you can end your day in a peaceful way.
Find more online. This is one in a series of stories on Graduates of Distinction, who are selected by the staff at the high school. Watch GIFs of each grad and read more grad profiles at naplesnews.com.