photos by Zeena Gregg Photography

Future World Changers

Madison Rhodes and Emily Laliotis have called Carmel Valley home for most of their lives, and share a mutual feeling that the area affords them both many opportunities to venture out and try new things, to find what it is that they love and thrive on it. They love CCA for the same reasons. “This school helps to foster a balanced but strong work ethic in its students,” Emily told us, “encouraging each person as individuals in their craft, whatever it may be.” Madison agreed, “My school has allowed for my flexible schedule where I can be an excelling student, dancer and organizer of TEDxYouth@SanDiego.”

Emily and Madison utilized those amazing opportunities to found a San Diego youth movement for TED. “I was excited by TED and TEDx events, but frustrated that they focused on bringing big ideas to adults already connected to and engaged in their world and world pursuits,” Madison explained. The girls became passionate about exposing the young people of this region – and across the globe – to ideas that can change the trajectories of their future. Leading TEDxYouth@SanDiego since their freshman year, Madison and Emily have experienced, through countless meetings, work hours, phone calls and emails, a taste of working in the professional world. This was accomplished through a unique trust between students and adults. “Instead of focusing their energy on doubting us,” Emily said, “our mentors took the opportunity to teach us how to be willing and able team members, leaders in our own right.”

These ambitious girls would naturally be drawn to TED, which started as a conference in 1984 where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and which today is a global force. Founding the TEDxYouth@SanDiego helped Madison “learn how to lead a diverse team, build a local and global community of thinkers, and run the everyday aspects of a complex nonprofit business, while managing my high school workload.” Emily affirmed, “I felt an extreme sense of connection and pride, when, on each event day, I gazed into the diverse, bright-eyed faces of future world changers.”

Madison and Emily’s involvement in TED has only amplified their participation in many other realms. Emily’s talents in music composition and performance, as well as Greek folk dancing and National Charity League work, along with Madison’s passion for dance, avid skiing and a continual desire to emanate her mother’s positive energy, combine to make these two perfect student stars.

At a Glance

Student_MadisonName: Madison Rhodes (17)
School: Canyon Crest Academy
Grade: 12
Awards: AP Scholar with Distinction, Commended National Merit student
Accepted into CCA Dance Conservatory (Ballet) Grade 10
Parents: Scott and Sonia Rhodes
Sibling: Kelsey Rhodes (22)
Favorite Local Spot: One of the many hikes around this area on a sunny afternoon


Student_EmilyName: Emily Laliotis (18)
Shool: Canyon Crest Academy
Grade: 12
Awards: Natural High 2013 Youth of the Year/Grand Prize Winner, PSA/Video Contest
National Youth Arts Award-Sound Design/Original Music for Sarah Ruhl’s ‘Eurydice’
National Charity League Yellow Rosebud Award
(Over fifty hours of community service during school year)
National Charity League Mission Bell Award
(Fifty hours of service to one philanthropy in a school year): For service to Helen Woodward Animal Center
AP Scholar with Honors
Parents: Dr. Ari and Kristy Laliotis
Siblings: Katy (14) and Grace (11)
Favorite Local Spot: Snuggled in my Mommy’s bed