OCCUPATION: Fourth grade science teacher at State Street School in Westerly and youth director for Peace Dale Congregational Church.
BORN, RAISED & GREW UP IN: Westerly
RIGHT NOW I’M IN THE MIDDLE OF: Organizing my calendar of events for Church school and planning the fourth grade field trips with my team. Also, I’m working on a few committees for the improvement of our town, including Elementary Redesign, The Jean Coduri Crowley Fund for Westerly’s students and teachers, The Feinstein Good Deeds and Family Engagement Committees through State Street School, Stand up for Animals (not actually member of the committee, but do what I can for fundraising.)
I ENJOY SPENDING MY TIME: Walking my two white Shepherd mixes, named River and Summit, and my newest addition, a two year old English Bulldog, Duke. I enjoy skiing, traveling abroad, live music, being tortured by my little brothers Christopher and Alex, and hanging out with my sister Ali.
MY PROUDEST ACCOMPLISHMENT: Keeping my friends and family close by as life races on.
I’D LIKE TO BE REMEMBERED FOR: My “open door” policy for holiday celebrations, random dinners, or just a visit for a shoulder to lean on for friends, acquaintances, or even people I meet on a day to day basis.
TOP ON MY BUCKET LIST: Vacation to Bora Bora.
ALWAYS IN MY POCKET: My keys. - I don't like the thought of being stuck anywhere.
WHAT I WANTED TO BE WHEN I GREW UP: A veterinarian. I am still close with family friend Veterinarian Stephen E. Morrone of North Stonington. I accompanied him on rounds for livestock during my middle school years and assisted in several surgeries for dogs and cats.
PERSON WHO HAS INFLUENCED ME THE MOST: My mother, Debra Pendola. She raised me and my sister and always taught us how to fend for ourselves, to always be true to ourselves, and to give back to our community.
FAVORITE AUTHOR: James Patterson.
BOOKS ON MY NIGHTSTAND: "Nocturnal Animals" by Austin Wright and "Alex Cross" by James Patterson.
I AM LISTENING TO: 90ś Hip Hop/ R&B Fly station on Sirius.
FAVORITE MOVIE: "The Witches of Eastwick."
LAST MOVIE WATCHED: "Instant Family."
FAVORITE TV SHOW: "Will and Grace." Fifteen years ago, and now, the most recent version.
FAVORITE SONG: “ I Will Be,” by Christina Aguilera.
FAVORITE COMFORT FOOD: Ribs from Mario's. It's still the original Vocaturaś recipe.
SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES I USE MOSTLY: Facebook and Instagram.
TRAIT I MOST ADMIRE: Honesty.
PET PEEVE: Litter...I'm known for picking up trash whenever I am out and about. I was the one who didn’t stop annoying the building and grounds department until trash receptacles for our elementary school playgrounds were delivered.
FAVORITE QUOTATION: "All things happen for a reason."
MY FAVORITE THING ABOUT OUR LITTLE CORNER OF THE WORLD: The ocean and the beautiful stone walls.
CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT: The memory of my Nana Pendola's soft hands as she holds onto mine, while sharing stories with me, and asking, “Now who's that one's mother?" or "Who's that one's father?"
LITTLE KNOWN FACT ABOUT ME: My late grandmother Anna Serra and I had a special relationship that I can’t explain. We were so much alike and shared the strongest bond. My grandmother and I were inseparable and I loved everything about her. She would always tell me to “just do it!” Maybe it was the Nike Logo in her mind from ARRES SPORTING GOODS, (she used to spell my name NIKE on birthday cards.)
BEST ADVICE I EVER RECEIVED: Take time to rest.
ADVICE I BEST LIKE TO GIVE: Let things go... sometimes I have trouble following this advice, but I always try to be forgiving while admitting my faults.
IF I RULED THE WORLD I WOULD: Recognize and treat mental illnesses just as we strive to treat physical illnesses. I would also work to end hatred towards any individual or groups.
IF I WON THE LOTTERY, THE FIRST THING I WOULD DO IS: Take care of my family and friends.
I DRIVE A: Champagne 2015 Chevy Tahoe.
I WISH I DROVE AN: Aston Martin.
ALWAYS IN MY FRIDGE: Diet Coke.
IF I COULD HOST A DINNER PARTY WITH A GROUP OF PEOPLE FROM THE PAST, PRESENT OR FUTURE, I WOULD INVITE: My Grandfather Joseph D. Serra. He was the best human I ever knew. He was known for helping families in need. One way he did that was by letting people pay as they could when buying sports equipment for their kids at Arres, his sporting goods store that for many years was located on East Avenue. He was an amazing father and grandfather. Many people looked up to him and admired him. He gave much to our community and to his family. When he passed on, my family was overwhelmed when we realized the numerous lives he had touched. I was 12 years old by his side when he passed. He was a quiet, humble man, I feel I have many more questions for him, however, I try to walk in his footsteps every day. I would also invite Sue Misto Comolli. She was one of my favorite people and we lost her way too soon. She had a beautiful heart and I could talk to her about anything. She was truly a force and I am so glad that I was able to know her so well.
— Interview arranged and edited by Nancy Burns-Fusaro