Written by Cory Twibell Friday, 15 February 2013 00:00
Jessica Ricco knows a thing or two about perseverance.
After three tries, Ricco earned her crown as Miss Long Island 2013, and following recent lung surgery, the W.T. Clarke grad is back at it again, representing Westbury and Long Island in the Miss New York USA Pageant last month.
The Westbury Times caught up with the lovely and eloquent Ricco, an elementary teacher, who shared her story of success and strength.
The Westbury Times: What does it take to be Miss Long Island?
Jessica Ricco: Being Miss Long Island is what you make of it. I had waited so long to achieve my goal and become Miss Long Island that I decided I would never say “no” to anything I was asked to do during my year. There are many different appearances that I am asked to be at, during the week and on weekends. There are charity events, photo shoots, and runway shows.
In order to be Miss Long Island you need to have heart, be compassionate, manage your time well and truly want to make a difference and represent Long Island to the best of your ability.
WT: What are some of the misconceptions about pageants?
JR: Pageants are so much more than people see from the outside looking in. The world of pageantry is full of intelligent, driven women that truly hope to make a difference in this world. Besides the obvious beauty factor, there is so much more depth to pageantry. A Queen must be able to articulate her feelings and opinions in a way that makes people want to listen and be comfortable in her own skin so she is able to show confidence in front of many different groups of people.
Pageantry is also about building a sisterhood. The girls I have met through pageantry are friends I will have for the rest of my life and we all work together to help one another succeed at our goals. With a network of thousands of intelligent, driven women, anything can get done.
WT: What is the most rewarding part about doing what you do?
JR: Hands down the most rewarding part of being Miss Long Island is the charity work I do. When you attend an event that is all about making someone’s life better or raising money for an organization that is helping people in your community, you can’t help but feel good. The events really teach me a lot about Long Island and the people that live here. There are some amazing people on this island that I never would have had the opportunity to meet if it weren’t for winning the Miss Long Island Pageant.
WT: Any advice for effectively juggling work, hobbies and personal wellness?
JR: This is a great question for me right now. I underwent lung surgery in December and it really taught me a lot about myself and others. I learned that your health is the most important thing in this world. All the good that I want to do can not be achieved if I am not healthy, it’s like they say when you are flying, put your oxygen mask on first then help others.
I had been sick since November, but I was so focused on work and being Miss Long Island that I didn’t want to accept it. After the surgery, I realized that I am stronger than I though I was and now I am an even better Miss Long Island than before. I’m more thankful than ever before.
As far as juggling work and hobbies, I believe that you need to follow your heart and do something that makes you happy. Hobbies are a great way to stay happy and participate in something you truly enjoy – you need a healthy balance of work and play.
WT: What are some of your goals for the future?
Right now I am focusing on developing an organization that will help children succeed in their lives and give them a brighter future. I also hope to get a full time teaching position in the near future here on Long Island. As far as pageants, I am not sure if I will continue to compete after my reign as Miss Long Island is over, but I will never leave the pageant industry. I’ve been playing with the idea of becoming a pageant coach and will continue to promote the Miss Long Island pageant because it is truly a sisterhood that will change your life.
Wednesday, 11 December 2013 00:00
Once a week, Robert Blume goes to Virpa Convenience on Carman Ave. to buy breakfast and lottery tickets. When he bought his Mega Millions and Powerball tickets on Sunday, Oct. 20, it was just like any other day. But when he went in to Virpa to check his tickets later that week, life changed forever.
He won $7 with his Mega Millions ticket, and then ran his Powerball ticket through the ticket check. Instead of the usual reading of “Sorry You Are Not A Winner,” he saw a message that said ‘Big Winner. See Retailer.’
Friday, 06 December 2013 00:00
“Art is beautiful. It's all around us and makes you see the world in a different way. Anyone can learn to paint, it just takes time, but when you do, you never look at clouds the same way or water the same way or even at the beach the same way.” These are the words of Westbury’s own artist and teacher Laura Meshover. Her captivating oil paintings exhibit the very essence of photo realism.
“I always knew I wanted to be an artist even from way back at a young age,” explained Meshover. “I used to take painting lessons in my neighbor’s basement when I was a little girl. You can’t do that kind of stuff anymore,” she said with a laugh.
Thursday, 12 December 2013 00:00
Congratulations to the Westbury boys varsity basketball team who defeated East Meadow High Schoool 57 to 51 to win the championship game of the Coaches vs. Cancer tournament.
The tournament was dedicated to Coach Martin “Bunky” Reid and the 1985 state championship team. Before the finals of the tournament, a poster signed by many of the players from the 85’ team was presented to Mrs. Reid to honor her son.
Thursday, 05 December 2013 00:00
The wrestling team at Westbury High School looks forward to a fresh start this season. Last year, they struggled to stay atop the Nassau Conference, but this time, the team has a lot of valuable pieces that are crucial for them to flip the script and potentially climb to the top of the standings.
One of the shining stars in the school’s team this year is the dominating Raeco Jackson. For the past two seasons, Jackson has had an extraordinary winning record in the 113 and 120 weight classes. “Last year, my record was 28-5 and the year before that it was 30-5,” he said. With a total record of 58 wins and 10 losses, he has won 85 percent of his matches. His impressive feat helped Jackson receive all-county honors last season.