Being a middle child with a well-known older sister is no obstacle to this week’s C.V. Sun All-Star Star finding her pathway into the spotlight.
Rosemont Middle School eighth grader Francesca Ragusa has her own stride to sports success and has a passion for helping others.
“Francesca is a joy and great with helping other students. She’s really a positive young person,” said Elizabeth Mularz, a teacher at Rosemont Middle School and coach of the Students Run For L.A., a training program for youths planning to run the 26.2-mile Los Angeles Marathon.
This will be Francesca’s second-year to run in the marathon.
“She’s a really dedicated runner. It takes a lot of strength and dedication and willpower to be part of this group,” Mularz said, adding that Ragusa and the other youths show up at 7 a.m. every Saturday ready to begin their up to 18 miles of practice runs.
“She always shows up with a smile on her face and a positive attitude,” Mularz said of Ragusa.
Francesca Ragusa was born in Glendale and is the daughter of Salvatore and Linda Ragusa of La Crescenta. She has a sister, Rosetta, 19, who is the reigning Miss La Crescenta and a student at Cal State Long Beach, and a brother, Rosario, 9, a third grader at Valley View Elementary School.
She attended Valley View Elementary School for kindergarten through sixth grade. While at the middle school, Ragusa has been involved in student body activities and is the eighth grade ASB vice president.
She’s hoping to continue that service and become the freshman ASB president at Crescenta Valley High School next year.
Although she’s a bit less outgoing than her older sister — who started service organizations at her own and other area schools while a student at C.V. High — Francesca Ragusa has found her own niche in the community service arena.
“Rosetta is much more confident than me,” she said.
“Francesca is very quiet, Rosetta is more outgoing,” her mother interjected, adding, “They are quite different, but a lot the same. Francesca is very sweet, and slower paced. She goes with the flow. But, she has different aspirations, different dreams.”
The youth’s dreams include being of service to others.
“I put myself out there because I like helping people. Rosetta likes the spotlight, I’m not sure I do yet, but I like helping people,” she said.
The younger Ragusa spends every Sunday afternoon volunteering at a Los Angeles homeless feeding program. She enjoys talking with the people there.
“A lot of them will sit there and don’t have anyone to talk to, so when I sit down with them and talk to them, they will smile and it just makes me feel good inside,” she said.
Her generosity is one of her strong points, her brother said.
“She always gives me things,” Rosario said, with a smile.
Francesca Ragusa has been involved with Girl Scouts for the past five years. She recently completed the work for her Silver Award by helping out at the Glendale Salvation Army’s food bank and helping with a recent canned food drive organized by the Boy Scouts.
She’s also planning to hold a garage sale at her home in the next few weeks and donate the money to a neighbor’s altruistic work with low-income families at Christmastime.
In addition to logging more than 100 hours of community service work, she enjoys school, especially math, spending time with friends, reading books such as the Twilight series, and running.
When she grows up, this week’s All-Star wants to be either a teacher, because she’d like to “help little kids find their place in life,” or a wedding planner, because she loves weddings.