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    Monica Ricci: Never afraid to work

    From the time she started working a part-time job at Pet Valu in Purcellville, Monica Ricci found herself in a leadership role almost immediately.

    Even though she was not a manager, Ricci worked close to 35 hours a week at the store. She also managed a full class load at Loudoun Valley High School.

    “After I started [at Pet Valu], the manager was transferred,” Ricci said. “The new manager arrived and was very sick, She is an awesome person and she really wanted to turn the store around and get involved in the community. I really respected her for that.”

    With her manager's help, Ricci has organized adoption events for several local pet rescue organizations.

    Along with her dedication to her job, Ricci also has excelled in the classroom. She currently has a 4.12 GPA and is in the top 35 of her class.

    Volunteer work and helping others has become a major part of Ricci's life at work, at school and at church.

    Growing up in a religious family, Ricci often found herself participating in the choir. She has found her youth ministers to be inspiring role models.

    “They give up their whole lives to serve the youth in the church,” Ricci said. “They lead us, bring out the best in us, and that is what leaders do. I see myself in them and want to be like them when I get older.”

    When Ricci went to work camp with her church youth group, it changed her life.

    “I was really hesitant at first,” she said. “I eventually decided I would just go and it ended up being the best week of my life.

    “There were about 300 teenagers from around the nation and we split into crews, learning how to work together and fixing up this woman's house. I went back the next year and became the leader of one of the crews. The other kids felt like I would keep the group on task.”

    Ricci is president of the Nurses Club at Loudoun Valley. She considered becoming a nurse, but soon found out she wasn't a fan of blood.

    As for college plans, Ricci thinks her top school may be Virginia Tech, which she will hear back from this spring.

    She is also waiting on applications to James Madison, Christopher Newport and George Mason universities.


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