The fifth grader with ‘a smile underneath her mask’

Warwick. Superintendent’s Spotlight: Francesca ‘Frankie’ Fitzpatrick.

| 01 Oct 2021 | 02:16

Francesca “Frankie” Fitzpatrick just began her first year at the Warwick Valley Middle School, and this fifth grade student is not only doing great in classes, but has emerged as a helpful leader among her classmates.

To prepare for this fall, Frankie attended the district’s summer academy, and Middle School Principal Georgianna Diopoulos noticed her proactive approach and her leadership potential right away.

“Once Frankie got to her classroom this summer, within 15 minutes she was running the place,” the principal recalled. “She knew who everybody was. By the end of the summer she knew this whole place inside and out.”

A circu

When summer session wrapped, Frankie and other students in her summer class agreed to be peer helpers. They would help incoming fifth graders who hadn’t gotten to know the school over the summer feel welcomed and comfortable by showing them around.

When Sept. 2 came, Frankie was ready.

“I knew where everything was, so when people got lost I could help them go where they wanted to go,” said Frankie. “And that makes me feel really happy.”

Diopoulos assessment: “She rose to the occasion. She did great and she’s been a mentor and a friend and kind to all of her classmates.”

A circular house ... with a kickstand

Frankie’s leadership skills were on display again in science class recently, as she took the lead on an engineering and technology project. Using only a limited amount of dry spaghetti, string, and tape, groups of students had to work together to build a tower that would support the weight of a marshmallow on top.

Frankie had some great, useful ideas for her team, and it turns out there is good reason for that.

“When I grow up I want to be an architect,” she revealed. She also said her favorite subjects are math and science, and then threw in a little family history.

“And my dad is a builder, so he tells me about it, too.”

Frankie said she loves creating things and that also draws her to the idea of architecture. She has a pile of designs and drawings she has done, including one of her favorites - a design for a circular house.

“It’s a house, except it’s shaped like a huge wheel,” said Frankie. “I gave it a doghouse attachment, and it has a giant kickstand on it. You know, so you don’t have to spend too much money for a car; the house gets you where you need to go.”

‘She’s always helping somebody out’

In her free time, Frankie also enjoys dance and gymnastics. She said the latter hobby can be traced back to her love of turning cartwheels when she was six. She still enjoys acrobatics, but has also fallen in love with dance and musical theater in recent years. Frankie plans on trying out for the Middle School musical production this year, and can’t wait to see what else the new school year has in store.

“Every time I see her, you can see she’s got a smile underneath her mask, and she’s always helping somebody out,” Diopoulos said. “It’s so great, and I am so proud of her.”