Ricky Arvizu:

He's known as a “fine young man,” who has the respect of his teachers and peers.

Eighteen-year-old Ricky Arvizu is appreciated for his abilities, aptitude, academic excellence and all around exceptional attitude.

Arvizu, a senior at Crescenta Valley High School, is this week's CV Sun All-Star.

“If I could clone Ricky and have six of him of him, this world would be a better place,” said Master Sgt. Wilson Leguizamon of the Crescenta Valley High School Jr. ROTC, where Arvizu serves as squadron commander and director of cadet operations.

Arvizu has been involved in ROTC throughout his high school years and attained the rank of cadet major. In that capacity, he oversees all of the school's ROTC classes and the drill and ceremony team.

Leguizamon said Arvizu is an excellent role model for the other youths and is respected, despite being the same age as many of the other kids he works with.

“Ricky epitomizes the core values of the ROTC: integrity first; service before self; and excellence in all we do. He always leads by example and never has a harsh word. He's motivating and kind, yet strict and firm when he needs to be, but never in a harsh way,” Leguizamon said.

Leguizamon also said he has heard a lot of great comments about the youth from other staff at the high school.

“All his teachers share my opinion of him and are constantly talking about what a great kid he is. He's always respectful and always goes that extra mile, not because he has to, but that's just the kind of kid he is,” Leguizamon said.

Arvizu credits his parents, Oscar and Margarita Arvizu of Sunland, with bringing him up to be a respectful, loyal, optimistic and hardworking person.

“My parents are really great; they brought me up really well. They taught me it was OK to be different and then I always wanted to do the right thing,” he said.

He has two brothers, Michael, 28, a page designer for the Valley Sun, and Mario, 16, a freshman at Crescenta Valley High School.

He attended La Crescenta Elementary School from kindergarten through sixth-grade and Rosemont Middle School, before transferring to the high school.

Arvizu became involved in the Jr. ROTC program because his older brother was in the organization.

“I thought, 'I should try that. It can't hurt and it will most likely be good for me,'” he said, adding, “Then, I fell in love with it, especially the drill and ceremony team. Well, the whole idea of ROTC.”

Arvizu also is on the school Associated Student Body, where he is the senior class treasurer.

He also enjoys swimming, and during his freshman year, was on the school's water polo team. Spending time with family and friends also is important to him.

“I don't have a lot of time, so I cherish the time I have with family and hanging out with friends. I also love meeting new people,” he said.

In academics, the youth also is a high achiever. He received nearly $6,000 in scholarships from a variety of organizations, including the highest award from the Glendale Latino Association, as well as honors and awards from the American Legion Post No. 288, and the Kiwanis Club of Montrose and La Crescenta.

He received the highest award from ROTC, the Air Force Association Award, as well as the Crescenta Valley High School ROTC's 2009 Outstanding Cadet Award. He had previously received the 2008 Distinguished Cadet Award.

Since he was a small child, Arvizu has had an interest in space and astronomy.

“I've always wanted to be an astronaut. Space movies intrigued me and sparked my imagination,” he said.

That fascination intertwined with his excitement about ROTC, and has led him to enroll for this fall at the college ROTC for the U.S. Air Force, through Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Ariz. Embry-Riddle is the only four-year aviation college in the world.

Arvizu's goal is to become commissioned as an Air Force officer at the conclusion of his four years of college. Then, he'd like to fly planes and work in space command, he added.

Church and his faith also are important to Arvizu. He has served for the past four years as chief altar server at St. Bernard Catholic Church in Glassell Park. Prior to that, he was an altar server for three years at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Montrose.

Staff at St. Bernard also speaks highly of Arvizu.

“Ricky is very hard working and very reliable. He's very helpful here,” said the Rev. Gerald McSorley, pastor at St. Bernard Catholic Church, where Arvizu and his family attend services and he volunteers part time in the office.

McSorley said he has known the youth since he was a small child and is impressed by his work ethic and pleasant attitude.

“I'm sure he will do very well in life,” McSorley added.

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