If you think that Bishop Garcia Diego High School’s 2013 class valedictorian must be a shy, socially awkward, bookworm type, then you obviously haven’t met Therese Fazio.

Therese Fazio

Therese Fazio

With her 4.53 first semester GPA and well-rounded extracurricular résumé to complement her impressive academic achievements, she represents the best of her high school class with a style all her own.

She and Charlie Fling, the 2013 salutatorian, will be the first young women to graduate from Bishop’s STEAM program of study, which emphasizes classes in science, technology, engineering, art and math.

Despite her rigorous course load, Fazio found the time to play two years of volleyball, serve as a student ambassador for three years as well as taking the initiative to launch a peer-tutoring program for Bishop’s California Scholarship Federation chapter.

She combined her love of travel and leadership though participation in the National Youth Leadership Conference in both Washington, D.C., and China. She recently participated in the Senior Presents, which was the culmination of a six-year commitment to the National Charity League, a mother-daughter philanthropic organization committed to community service, leadership development and cultural experiences.

Fazio applied to 14 schools and notably was accepted to all 14, among them UC Berkley, UCLA, NYU and the University of San Diego. She has chosen to attend USD and plans to pursue studies in marine biology and business. She elected to attend a smaller university because she appreciated the fact that at her smaller high school the individual attention, class sizes and strong support system helped her to be successful.

She advises future Bishop students to “stay focused in school and enjoy every minute because the time goes by really fast.”

— Jennifer Van Donge is a publicist representing Bishop Garcia Diego High School.