BY Molly Congdon
CLIFTON PARK — If you asked any of Florencia Feleder’s teachers since the seventh grade, they would tell you that her dream school was always New York University, a dynamic urban institution that engages students within the classroom and also immerses them in the rich culture within the metropolis of New York City.
Now, wrapping up the final weeks of her senior year of high school, Feleder is happy to tell you that come fall, she will be one of the violets in the class of 2019 attending New York University, specifically the Colleges of Arts and Sciences. She’s planning to pursue a major in international relations and then continue on to law school after obtaining her undergraduate degree.
“Even when I was little, I always drawn to injustice and things that weren’t fair,” Feleder said. “I think that was part of the inclination, and I’m also a very verbal person. So I think when you take this passion for societal ills and writing, when the two intersect you have law.”
Heading to the city was an instinctual choice for Feleder. “My family goes to the city very often, so it’s a place that I feel very comfortable, But it’s also so different from where we live that it’s kind of exotic,” she said. “So it has this great balance offering new, exciting and unique things while also have a sense of familiarity.”
“Obviously there are some anxieties that come along with leaving all that you’ve ever known, but I’m tremendously looking forward to it,” she said. “I’m looking forward to customizing my education and taking classes that I’m really intrigued about, fascinated about the idea of living the urban life, walking the city streets. It’s an atmosphere that I crave.”
Feleder was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. When she was 4, her family moved to Memphis, Tennessee. “My dad wanted more career options and they wanted more opportunities for their children,” Feleder said. “We go back at least once a year; the people there are very passionate and there is intense camaraderie — a warmness among people.”
Finally when she reached the age of 8, they came to Clifton Park.
Her father, Carlos, is a professor and scientist at Albany College of Pharmacy and her mother, Maria, is a supervisor of social workers at Samaritan Hospital. These two guideposts are the ones who have influenced her the most. “They’ve gone through so many struggles to get to where they are,” Feleder said. “It blows my mind to think about moving to a new country, learn a new language and to leave behind your family, your culture and everything you’ve ever known. It’s an incredible leap of faith to take.”
She also has a sister, Julieta, a 13-year-old seventh-grader. “She’s incredibly bubbly, tenacious and supportive,” Feleder said.
As you may have guessed, her list of extracurriculars is quite extensive. She is a member of Mostly A Cappella, the group that went to Carnegie Hall to perform this year. “It was surreal,” Feleder said. “When we went to rehearse for the first time on the stage, the echoes were so vivid that we actually all stopped singing — the whole choir — simultaneously because we were all so awestruck by the sound that we were creating that we all had this moment of laughter and amazement.”
She’s also part of World of Difference, a group that does peer-training seminars within the elementary, middle and high schools and discusses prejudice, intolerance and similar issues.
Recently, Feleder abdicated her throne as vice president of Tri-M Music Honor Society. “I helped organize big events like Shen’s Got Talent, planned volunteering and focused on contributing to the community through acts of music,” she said. “This year we introduced a new event, which was a performance at Coburg Village — it was really well received.”
She has also been one of the students involved in the first year of the Clifton Park Youth Court. “It’s been great; I was a prosecutor recently in a trial and what they do is they set up a trial as they would in the adult version and everything is legal,” Feleder said.
“All the consequences that occur are solidified and I felt very confident throughout the process so that was very confirming that that’s what I really want to do.”