Stories from intrepid reporters attending the Illinois Press Foundation Journalism Workshop at Eastern Illinois University
Despite the influences a person can encounter from parents and major authority figures while growing up, Francesca Spizzo shapes who she is based on her own moral compass.
“I don’t really model my actions off of anyone, I just try to do the right thing,” Spizzo said.
For Spizzo, her Italian heritage and Catholicism go hand in hand. She grew up celebrating many festivals for various saints with her Italian-American parents, both because of her heritage and religion.
Her religious upbringing plays a role in the person she is now, Spizzo said does not do volunteer work simply because of her tutelage, but for the satisfaction of helping others.
“Whenever you are with your [volunteer] work, there is that sense of satisfaction that you did something, and it is great,” Spizzo said.
During 2011 Spizzo won a poster contest for the sixth to eighth category for respecting America’s veterans according to the Belleville public school’s archive because she “wanted to artistically show America’s respect for war veterans,” Spizzo said.
“A lot of the things I do, the choices I make, are based on how it affects people,” Spizzo said.
Her energetic nature lead to her involvement sophomore year of high school in a Teeter Totter-A-Thon for advancing research towards pediatric brain cancer as one of 60 teams, according to the Belleville News-Democrat.
To participate, Spizzo and her team had to raise at least $200, which was donated to Joshua’s Great Things Foundation, the paper said.
Following the Belleville High School theme of “Light up” for the event, Spizzo and the other members of the team dressed completely in black, decorated with a rainbow of colors, including lettering and accessories, according to Spizzo.
“I thought the experience was really fun,” Spizzo said.
Although she donated her own money, some in the group “raised money by selling cookies,” Spizzo said.
In no way does Spizzo plan to stop giving back to society. Looking toward the future, she plans to double major in journalism and either neuroscience or forensic science.
Her want to fight crime and help others influences her decisions for the future, according to Spizzo. She considers going into crisis journalism in order to bring attention to social and economic issues in the world. Spizzo also wants to learn about and report on conflicts occurring in the Middle East.
“I want to know if we are truly affecting [people in the Middle East] on a positive level,” Spizzo said.