LUTZ — Summer brings lots of downtime for some — days spent lounging at the beach, northbound trips to see family and perhaps the luxury of escaping into a summer read without the pressure of having to take a test or write a paper.
The weeks since Nadia Sorezza collected her diploma from Wiregrass Ranch High have been filled with all that and more.
A bit of a laid-back stint, to be sure. Even so, she's eager to get on with the business of blazing her own trail.
That will happen soon enough.
Come mid August, Sorezza, 18, will pack her things and head to Westminster, Md., to start her freshman year at McDaniel College.
She will be the first in her family to embark on the college route, an impressive feat in itself. Add to that the fact that she's going on a full ride after being named a recipient of the inaugural Dorsey Scholars program at McDaniel. She is one of four incoming freshmen to receive the award, valued at more than $180,000; it includes full tuition, room and board for four years.
The small liberal arts school with an impressive study-abroad program and a small student-to-teacher ratio is the perfect fit, Sorezza said. She applied to a variety of out-of-state schools but happened upon McDaniel after taking a closer look at one of those postcards she was bombarded with during her senior year.
"It's gorgeous — like an old 1800s village," Sorezza said, recalling a February visit when the school was blanketed in snow. "There's a sprawling hill on the campus, farms and open air to the left and to the right there's a small, little town."
No doubt Sorezza has the smarts. But determination and an innate love for learning helped propel her public education.
"It wasn't an option not to go to college," she said. "Education was always important to me."
She was one of those kids who dreaded school vacations, said her mother, Harriette Sorezza.
"She had always heard there was homework to do and she was so upset that there was no homework in preschool," her mother said with a chuckle. "So she asked her teacher, Mrs. Booth, to give her homework, and she did it just for her."
The two moved from New York to Florida in 2004. Sorezza attended Sand Pine Elementary before transferring to the gifted program at Wesley Chapel Elementary. She continued in the gifted program at John Long Middle, and in the seventh grade was recognized by the Duke University Talent Identification Program for her impressive scores on the SAT. That opened the door to a summer course in AP psychology that left a lasting impression.
In her years at Wiregrass, Sorezza participated in Model United Nations and served as vice president of the Gay-Straight Alliance. She was also named a National Ventures Scholar and National Achievement semifinalist. She is an avid reader and enjoys writing poetry and short stories.
She plans to double-major in social work and psychology at McDaniel.
"I've always held an interest in humans in general and after taking psychology 101 in seventh grade I was just fascinated," she said.
Which brings her to the next step.
"I'm ecstatic. I have really big dreams," Sorezza said. "I'm taking advantage of this full ride at a great school. I'm going to live college to the fullest."
Contact Michele Miller at [email protected] or (813) 435-7307. Follow @mimichele525.