As a young girl, Nancy Tedeschi struggled with her looks.
“I had really bad buck teeth,” she said. “People picked on me mercilessly.”
In her head today, at age 55, she can still hear the name-calling.
“They’d call me Bucky Beaver, and I was really skinny so they called me bony and bucky.”
By early high school, braces forced her teeth into neat rows but it wasn’t enough to get her out of the hole all the bullying had gotten her into.
“The damage was done with my psyche,” the East Wenatchee woman said. “I was so far gone. I was really detached from myself, honestly.”
She also wasn’t a good student, which she blames on the bullying. “I just didn’t care,” she said.
In high school, an IQ test put her at the low level of 92.
This wasn’t the real Nancy, who years later tested at 146 and has made a name for herself as the inventor of the SnapIt eyeglass screw. But all the bullying created a place in her heart for those who are bullied, and those who bully.
“I really feel that God had a hand in my life the whole time because I really believe I’m supposed to be doing what I’m doing now,” she said.
And that involves bringing an anti-bullying film campaign to local schools. Late last month, she and friends Lisa Bradshaw of Wenatchee, and Michael Feurstein, a film producer from Albany, N.Y., coached students to produce short films on bullying. So far, Tedeschi and Feurstein have been at a dozen schools in New York state, and they and Bradshaw have been at three classes in Wenatchee and three classes in Cashmere. In April, they will be helping with filming at schools in Quincy.
The schools have some funding for the projects, Tedeschi said, but, for the most part, she is bankrolling the projects with proceeds from her SnapIt eyeglass screw.
Tedeschi said she thinks an anti-bullying project like hers would have helped her back in her childhood.
“If you give them the right message and let them have their own voice, they will live by it,” she said.
Tedeschi, who grew up in Florida and New York, found her own voice at age 20, when she started running in races. She found she was good at it, and “that started to give me some self-esteem.”
Tedeschi worked as a dental assistant for about six years after high school, then applied to a community college in Troy, N.Y. Because of her poor high school grades, she had to take remedial classes to get in.
From there, she took off. In 1986, she said, she earned a biochemistry degree from Albany State University. She didn’t end up working in that field, however, but found a niche in the mortgage and title insurance businesses. She got the idea for the SnapIt eyeglass screw in 2007, when she helped her mother with a pair of broken glasses.
Now divorced and the mother of a 24-year-old son, Tedeschi promotes her invention, which, she said, is taking off in Europe, and she speaks at universities on how to become an entrepreneur. Her SnapIt repair kits are shelved at Walmarts across the country after it was a winner in the company’s recent Get on the Shelf contest in June.
“Mine is just a story of a kid being alienated, bullied and stifled,” she said. “It’s pretty sad, but it happens every day to kids. It doesn’t do any good for kids to listen to my story, though. This program gives them their own voice, and it’s fun.”
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Posted By: Aisle7 |
4/15/13 1:04 PM
This is what happens when you put your head down and keeping moving ahead.Congrats on your success Nancy!
Posted By: MainDeal |
4/16/13 1:55 PM
Very nice to show the road to achieving her goals and reaching the level of self esteem that she needed well after high school. This is proof that when you have a bad go while you are young it really can improve later for you.
Posted By: Inning7 |
4/16/13 2:56 PM
shocking how bullying can lower her IQ so badly and have her disconnect like that.Makes me wonder how many kids never reach their full potential because they are bullied by their peers so badly they give up entirely.