KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Not many high school students can say Yale University recruited them for a summer leadership program, but Alexis Theoharidis can.
The Staley High senior was selected to attend a National Youth Leadership Forum focusing on business innovation. She made her mark and continues to, day in and day out.
"She believed she could, so she did." It's one of Alexis' favorite quotes, and it couldn't be more fitting to explain her story.
Alexis is a second-generation American. Her grandfather immigrated to America from Greece to give his family a better life. It's his story of will and determination that pushes Alexis to greatness.
"I've had that same drive to be successful and reach to be the best I can be," Alexis said.
The Staley senior dreams of one day being the CEO of her own companies. That's right -- companies, as in more than one.
The DECA president recently was recruited by Yale University to collaborate with 100 like-minded students from around the world to come up with the next great invention.
"It was a long process," Alexis said. "We spent the whole entire first day just brainstorming."
Alexis was placed into a group with four fellow students. They were tasked with creating a product from the ground up. Together, they worked tirelessly to find a product that "just made sense."
"When you're thinking about trying to create a product, it doesn't need to be the thing that ends world hunger. Just little problems that you can solve in your everyday life," she said.
The Staley track star came up with a brilliant idea. It's a product called "cleat guards."
"It's so hard to walk across hard surfaces or concrete, for example, without slipping or falling or worrying about ruining your cleats," she said. "You can quickly go to the bathroom or go to the locker room without having to take your shoes off completely."
The team crowd-sourced and developed a strong business model. The idea was executed so well, Alexis and her group were selected to pitch the idea "Shark Tank-style" in front of a panel of successful entrepreneurs.
The team placed in the top eight.
"She has an amazing way of fighting through even the toughest things that are thrown at her," said Kelly Rule, Staley's DECA advisor.
In her time working with Alexis, the standout senior has won two first-place trophies for her business Acumine on the competitive level.
"Alexis, for me, is one of those students that has this amazing character," Rule said.
It's a character that is sure to catapult her to maximum success.
"My parents actually got me this little card that I keep at my table where I do my homework that says 'Future CEO,'" Alexis said.
Alexis is also a member of Staley's National Honor Society, Student Council, varsity track team and is the secretary of her school's Future Business Leaders of American organization. If that wasn't enough, she also has an international black belt in Tae Kwon Do!
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