By Mary O'Keefe
Rosemont Middle School has awarded its Academic Student Award, representing the school motto of honor, excellence and pride, to eighth-grader Rosetta Ragusa.
Ragusa learned that she had won the award at an invitation-only ceremony at Rosemont on Wednesday, June 9. The winner was kept secret until the announcement at the ceremony.
"She had gotten her other awards and I'd put my camcorder away because it was the last award," said Rosetta's mother, Linda. "I never dreamed it would be us. I was flabbergasted."
Linda also said she remembered Rosetta's reaction watching last year's winner take the stage: "She said, 'I want to be just like her.'"
"When I want to do something, I do it," said Rosetta on winning the award. All 720 eighth-grade students at Rosemont are eligible to compete for the school's top award, but only one student receives it each year, said Rosemont Assistant Principal Ron Sowers. Top students are nominated by teachers who consider their grade point average as well as their overall commitment to the school and their community, shown by their community service projects and participation in school clubs.
The nominated students names then go to a committee comprised of Rosemont teachers and staff. Students are chosen for five awards, one for each subject: math, English, science and social studies with the final award for the overall exemplary student. In addition to good grades, the exemplary student must have a good citizenship record, active participation in class and must be able to get along with other students and teachers, Sowers said.
"I think the Rosemont Exemplary Student Award follows our motto of honor, excellence and pride," said Sowers. "Out of 720 students, she's the one."
As for Rosetta, who maintains a strong academic record while active in the Builders Club, Girls Club, California Junior Scholar Federation (CJSF), and running the L.A. Marathon for the last two years, winning has given her confidence. When asked how she felt when her name was announced for the award she said: "I was exhilarated and proud of myself. I wanted to win for my parents, myself and for my future."
Rosetta is looking forward to going to Crescenta Valley High School next year. Her career goals at present are to be a teacher or a journalist.