Forecast looks bright for Miss Philadel­phia as she re­turns home to thank spe­cial spon­sor

The Advance of Bucks County - - PEOPLE - By Jeff Werner

aOvLESTOWN – The air was thick with the smell of fresh Ital­ian cook­ing as newly crowned Miss Philadel­phia Francesca Rus­cio em­braced Frances Grispino in the aisle at Al­tomonte’s Ital­ian Mar­ket and ael­i­catessen on March 14.

It was a heart­felt home­com­ing for Rus­cio, a 2011 grad­u­ate of Cen­tral Bucks High School East and a res­i­dent of Jami­son who grew up vis­it­ing the store. She stopped by to thank Grispino and Al­tomonte’s for spon­sor­ing her in the pageant.

Wear­ing her sig­na­ture crown and sash, Rus­cio smiled as she re­called her many vis­its to the store as a young­ster and Grispino and the staff of­fer­ing her Ital­ian cook­ies.

“This is the store I grew up in,” said Rus­cio. “I’ve been coming here since I was very lit­tle. The fact that they said yes to spon­sor­ing me in the Miss Philadel­phia Pageant meant the world to me. And I mean that from the bot­tom of my heart,” she said.

Grispino beamed as she posed for pic­tures with Rus­cio next to the store’s Easter dis­play.

“To­day for me means a lot be­cause I know this beau­ti­ful lit­tle girl from the be­gin­ning when she was a baby,” said Grispino, who co-owns the mar­ket with Maria Nappi. “She looked so beau­ti­ful when I see her on Ts the night she was se­lected Miss Philadel­phia. I wish her the best. I love her very much. She’s beau­ti­ful. This girl, she’s got ev­ery­thing. So I wish she is go­ing to go Miss Amer­ica.”

“They couldn’t have cho­sen a bet­ter per­son,” added Nappi. “We’ve known her since she was a lit­tle girl. She’s beau­ti­ful from the in­side out.”

When they heard she won, Nappi said ev­ery­one at the store was “ec­static. We couldn’t be more proud,” she said. “It’s like a dream. It’s sur­real. This lit­tle girl that you watched grow up into a beau­ti­ful, in­tel­li­gent woman and to see her with a crown on her head, it’s just beau­ti­ful.”

Ru­sico was crowned “Miss Philadel­phia” on March 2 at the Prince Mu­sic The­ater in Cen­ter City. In ad­di­tion to the ti­tle, she took home a $10,000 schol­ar­ship to Tem­ple Univer­sity, where she is sopho­more study­ing broad­cast me­te­o­rol­ogy.

“I did not ex­pect to win at all,” said Rus­cio, who com­peted against 16 other girls. “I put 200 per­cent into ev­ery cat­e­gory. When they called my name, I got so weak in the knees and I just started to cry. I was so ex­cited.”

Ru­sico said she en­tered the con­test to “ex­plore some bound­aries and to see what I could do.

“I wanted to give it a shot. I’m not your typ­i­cal pageant girl. I’m an ath­lete,” she said. “But I love the Miss Amer­ica or­ga­ni­za­tion be­cause it pro­motes the beau­ti­ful woman from the in­side and out and good mo­rals.”

Ru­sico will next com­pete for the ti­tle of Miss Penn­syl­va­nia in June. If suc­cess­ful, she’ll then turn her at­ten­tion to the Miss Amer­ica pageant.

For now, Rus­cio is con­tent on be­ing Miss Philadel­phia and bring­ing the crown back to Bucks County.

“It means the world to me,” she said. “I have a lot of fam­ily and friends here. And it’s nice to be able to bring some­thing that means the world to you back to where you grew up,” said Rus­cio.

Rus­cio, di­ag­nosed with Poly­cys­tic Ovar­ian Syn­drome (PCOS), will be us­ing her new found plat­form to spread PCOS aware­ness.

“If left un­treated, it can lead to a lot of se­vere dis­eases later on in life, such as can­cer, di­a­betes, heart disease, obe­sity and pos­si­ble in­fer­til­ity,” said Rus­cio.

In Rus­cio’s case, it was in­sulin-re­sis­tant di­a­betes. But through healthy life­style changes and changes to her diet, she was able to re­verse its af­fects.

“That is the mes­sage I am try­ing to get out to the Philadel­phia com­mu­nity and hopefully to the state,” she said.

Rus­cio’s long term goal is to at­tend grad­u­ate school, earn her cer­ti­fi­ca­tion in me­te­o­rol­ogy and to em­bark on a ca­reer as a broad­cast me­te­o­rol­o­gist. Her dream is to one day forecast the weather in the Philadel­phia mar­ket.

She’s al­ready lay­ing the ground­work for success.

At Tem­ple, she reg­u­larly pours over num­bers, charts and in­for­ma­tion from the Na­tional Weather Ser­vice in com­pil­ing the weather report for Tem­ple Up­date, the univer­sity’s stu­dent-run tele­vi­sion news pro­gram. She has also met with and dis­cussed her ca­reer as­pi­ra­tions with such Philadel­phia Ts no­ta­bles as aavid Murphy.

“It’s a sci­ence I can really re­late to hon­estly,” she says of the weather. “I have known what a cu­mu­lonim­bus cloud is since the fifth grade. And I was the one not hid­ing un­der the bed dur­ing a thun­der­storm. I had my face pressed up against the win­dow try­ing to take pic­tures of light­ning.”

As for the fu­ture, the forecast ap­pears bright and sunny for Miss Philadel­phia judg­ing from the re­cep­tion she re­ceived Thurs­day from her good friends at Al­tomonte’s.

*** The Miss Philadel­phia Schol­ar­ship Or­ga­ni­za­tion boasts two Miss Penn­syl­va­nia’s and three Miss Amer­ica’s and is the only lo­cal pre­lim­i­nary com­pe­ti­tion to Miss Penn­syl­va­nia and Miss Amer­ica, the world’s largest schol­ar­ship provider to young women.

From left: Al­tomonte’s owner Frances Grispino, Miss Philadel­phia Francesca Rus­cio, as­sis­tant gen­eral man­ager Robert Carter and Maria Nappi, owner.

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