Written by Cory Twibell Friday, 24 August 2012 00:00
On Sunday, Aug. 12, Ricco was named Miss Long Island 2013 at the Patchogue Theater for the Performing Arts.
The community activist, who has been participating in pageants since she was 16, has taught in the Westbury School District and made advocacy for the prevention of child abuse one of her main focal points during her time on the pageant scene.
The Westbury Times recently caught up with Jessica, who shared her experience leading up to last Sunday’s event.
The Westbury Times: What was your reaction when they called your name as the winner?
Jessica Ricco: It was a surreal moment and one I will never forget. It is hard to remember anything that happened after that moment because my emotions took over. I have been participating in pageants for nine years; I have been waiting for that moment since I was 16!
WT: What’s next for you now that you’ve been crowned Miss Long Island 2013?
JR: Now that I have been crowned Miss Long Island 2013, I will be preparing for the Miss New York USA pageant which takes place some time in January. I will also be appearing at different events all over Long Island this year. My platform has been child advocacy so I will participate in many walks, fundraisers and events that focus around the idea of helping children all over Long Island.
WT: What advice would you give to the younger generation interested in pageants?
JR: For the younger generation who may be interested in pageants I would tell them they should go for their dreams. Pageants have given me so much confidence and have prepared me for many moments of my life. My hope is that the younger generation continues to go for their dreams and dream big because anything is possible.
WT: Your platform is based on the prevention of child abuse. What sort of endeavors can help you promote the cause?
JR: Prior to being crowned Miss Long Island 2013, I participated in many activities for my platform. While in college I was the vice president of my sorority, Sigma Delta Tau, and our philanthropy has always been Prevention of Child Abuse America, so I put together many fundraisers that raised money for the prevention of child abuse.
This past school year, while I was teaching in the Westbury School District, I organized a prom dress donation event and collected more than 150 prom gowns. Those gowns were all donated to girls all over Long Island who could not afford prom dresses. The confidence that these girls gained from putting on a beautiful gown was amazing to witness. Most of them were so thankful they cried as they were leaving the event. I will continue participating in events like these and I will make my prom dress donation event an annual thing.
WT: What sort of expectations do you have for the future?
JR: This is going to be the most amazing and inspiring year of my life and I cannot wait to hit the ground running! I already have so many events lined up and I am excited to see where all of this leads. My hope for the year is to make a difference in children’s lives all over Long Island and in turn they will make a difference in my life.