Alessandra Rizzo


Alessandra Rizzo

Valeria Torrealba, Staff Writer

A few strands of wild hair that represent the creativity within her are faintly spotted through the hallways. With her heartwarming laughter and caring for others, she forms part of the community of bilingual immigrants that inhabit the most diverse county in the nation.


When junior Alessandra Rizzo was fighting against time in order to become a Falcon, she did not expect to have to take a test having just barely slept the night before. Exhausted as she was, she managed miraculously to make it on time to school and attend the long and arduous exam that would determine where her English knowledge levels laid. The first breath after the exam was the very first real breath of reality for Rizzo. Her life would soon take a turn for her to grow as an artist, a writer, a musician, and most important of all: a person.


“I arrived in August of 2014 to Katy on the final day to register myself for school,” Rizzo said. “So I got home at 3 in the morning and hoped to sleep for three hours. I was so tired. I got to the point where I would answer questions just to answer them.”


Having been born in the beautiful Caracas, Venezuela, going to a tranquil suburb was not easy. In Caracas, the city was much like New York City; lights everywhere, music blasting until dawn, a hectic movement of cars — that’s what Rizzo grew up with.


“I lived next to Avila, and most of the nights I could hear the music at full volume,” Rizzo said. “I grew accustomed to living in a city that never stops for anyone and was always filled with music.”


Rizzo spent a full year in the English as a Second Language (ESL) program. Although having taken English in her old school previously, she still barely knew the language. However, utilizing her friendliness to her favor aided her in practicing her English and eventually perfecting it a year later. Rizzo now takes several Advanced Placement (AP) courses without the aid of ESL.


“I spent a full, chaotic year in ESL,” said Rizzo. “We never really had a stable teacher for more than four weeks, due to Mrs. Calzetta leaving after the first semester. The way I managed to learn and practice English was by making friends that were only limited to speaking English with me. Obviously I had some cheat hours where I would speak Spanish, and that would normally be in Spanish class.”


Aside from being a bilingual and music-filled student, Rizzo spends her time painting and writing. Her mesmerizing poems usually stem from late-night thoughts that find their way to her phone’s Notes application and evolve into a mirroring image of her experiences through life.


“I never had a specific process for writing,” Rizzo said. “The majority of my poems start as words on my phone that make no sense because I write them at 4 a.m. My stories have always been a reflection upon my past or present. I always try and use my experiences to transmit messages.”


When it comes to painting, music is a crucial factor for Rizzo’s mind to flow. Normally, music can aid in concentration for tasks that result in one investing themselves in their work; For Rizzo, it is a necessity. As one pours their soul into a piece of art, or a musical composition, or a lengthy story, they usually build a connection with it. In Rizzo’s case, her paintings nearly always have a deeper connection to her.


“I rarely ever paint for anyone else,” Rizzo said. “I always try to get the minimal details set and most of the time I develop a connection with the painting itself and it makes it complicated to give it away, unless I specifically made it thinking about them through the whole time.”


Typically when one is granted three wishes, they would normally respond with ‘money’ or ‘a big house to live in’. To Rizzo, wishes go beyond artificial aspects such as finance and housing. Her desires lie within her own home country.


“My first wish would be for my country’s greatness to be restored,” Rizzo said. “I would love to see it be the country it deserves to be, the one it should have been, so I can go back to my proud land that is truly the most beautiful country in the world that certainly deserves to be a place that we Venezuelans are proud to be from.”


Possibly following the footsteps of the famous book Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, Rizzo also desires to travel the world, for there are endless amounts of culture to learn from and appreciate the cultures that make up the ‘big, yet small’ world.


“I would love to travel through all the wonderful places that this world has,” Rizzo said. “I’d love to appreciate the different and beautiful cultures that make up this big, yet at the same time small, world.”


Lastly, Rizzo desires for everyone in the world to have access to education, for a large amount of individuals in the world have no such privilege.


“Like Simon Bolivar said: ‘An ignorant town is a blind instrument for its own self destruction.’, I have been a first-hand victim of how education — or lack thereof — can drive a town to look for solutions that can only worsen its problems,” Rizzo said. “That’s why I wish that for one day, everyone have access to education in order to be able to aid society, instead of damaging it in order to survive.”


So, how exactly has Rizzo dealt with the uprooting of her less-than-tranquil life throughout the year she has spent here in Katy? The bilingual artist and writer manages to balance a school life, a social life and a personal life excellently in order to further grow as a person and adapt herself to these constant changes.
“Something that has helped me adapt to this strange place is joining clubs and talking to people,” Rizzo said. “I believe that the memory that has always stayed with me was me entering the school library for the first time and gawking at all of the books that Tompkins has to offer. I come from a school that had a library that was composed of two library stands with just books related to classes. The Tompkins library is impressive. I’ve always loved to read, which is an expensive hobby if you care to look at the prices of books. But because of this library, I have access to all of the new books. When I found out I could check them out and take them home, I nearly fainted with happiness.”