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“The last thing I want to do is look back on these four years and say I didn’t get to ex­per­i­ence high school.” — Little Flower sopho­more Rose Clare Pisacano

Little Flower’s Rose Pisacano also stars for the school’s lacrosse team.

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To hear her or­ches­tra teach­er tell it, it wouldn’t be sur­pris­ing to see Rose Clare Pisacano be­come class pres­id­ent one day.

Heck, at the rate she’s go­ing, she might be­come the first fe­male pres­id­ent of the United States.

Pisacano is not quite through her sopho­more year at Little Flower High School, but that hasn’t stopped her from tak­ing on more ath­let­ic and ex­tra­cur­ricular en­deavors than most high school stu­dents would ever con­sider. Ma­ture well bey­ond her 16 years, it of­ten takes one of her cheer­ful, braces-filled smiles to be re­minded that Pisacano is just a kid, after all.

As a fresh­man, she played a whop­ping four varsity sports: field hockey in the fall, lacrosse in the spring, and she doubled up in the winter by find­ing time to swim and play bas­ket­ball. Al­though she had nev­er played or­gan­ized field hockey or lacrosse, Pisacano still made the varsity squads. This year, she gave up bas­ket­ball to fo­cus on swim­ming, but, not tak­ing it easy on her­self, de­cided to be­come the first diver in the school’s his­tory.

Just an­oth­er day at the of­fice.

“Rosie’s way is very old-fash­ioned,” said Phyl­lis Dalton, Pisacano’s or­ches­tra teach­er at Little Flower. “She re­minds me of kids I saw every day when I was grow­ing up. There were no cell phones, In­ter­net or com­puter games, so we were al­ways con­stantly in­volved in something out­doors. Back then, there was no time to waste your mind, and that’s how she ap­proaches her activ­it­ies. She’s a very unique young lady with an un­pre­ced­en­ted need to achieve. All of the things she’s done, she’s done well. It’s a gift that many of us don’t have.”

In ad­di­tion to her ath­let­ic ac­com­plish­ments and be­ing part of a re­sur­gence in diving, Pisacano is a skilled flute and pi­ano play­er, and this year has mastered the French horn in just a few weeks. She is a top-10 stu­dent in her class, with the rig­ors of her cur­riculum in­clud­ing a newly es­tab­lished (and very chal­len­ging) Chinese lan­guage pro­gram at Little Flower.

So how does she find time to bal­ance it all?

“It’s not too hard to bal­ance,” she said on a clear off­season even­ing, while she clutched a lacrosse stick dur­ing a workout at Fath­er Judge High School. “Things are ac­tu­ally bet­ter in-sea­son where I can man­age my time much bet­ter. Do­ing all of these things have helped me make friends so quickly, and that’s what play­ing sports and go­ing to high school is all about.”

For the re­cord, Pisacano says her fa­vor­ite sport is lacrosse, even though she is about to enter just her second year play­ing. However, she noted that swim­ming is the most ex­cit­ing, and re­ferred to it as “the best situ­ation, so­cial-wise.” She re­ferred to the girls on the Little Flower swim team as her fam­ily mul­tiple times, and it’s easy to see why she ex­cels and is so uni­ver­sally ac­cep­ted by her peers.

Pisacano has been swim­ming for as long as she can re­mem­ber, al­ways hav­ing en­joyed her swim club while she grew up play­ing sports in Rhawn­hurst as a stu­dent at Re­sur­rec­tion of Our Lord grade school. But her for­ay in­to diving is a new one, so much so that des­pite Little Flower’s rich tra­di­tion, Pisacano is the first diver in the school’s his­tory. And much like her oth­er activ­it­ies, Pisacano’s reas­on for get­ting in­volved is that she just wanted to try something dif­fer­ent.

“I saw last year that there was a diver from St. Joseph’s Prep that got to par­ti­cip­ate in the state tour­na­ment at the end of the year, and I figured since they were in our league that they had to have diving for girls, too,” she said. “I just thought it was something I would try since diving was al­ways an event left blank on our swim­ming-meet sheets. My hope is that girls from oth­er schools in the area that do dive for their swim clubs will ask their coaches to get in­volved at the high-school level. It’s not a com­pet­it­ive sport you hear too much about at our age, but hope­fully I can help bring it back.”

Pisacano ex­plained that her fath­er, Joe, helped whet her diving whistle by seek­ing out Steve Kut­truff, the diving coach at La Salle Uni­versity who also runs the Centen­ni­al Aquat­ic Diving pro­gram, which spe­cific­ally helps high school divers hone their skills.

“For the high school stu­dents, I just try to teach them the skills for the ba­sic six dives that they need to learn for their meets,” Kut­truff said. “Rose was fa­mil­i­ar with the ba­sics when she found me, and has been very coach­able. She has a good per­spect­ive and car­ries her­self well. She’s eager to learn, and her at­ti­tude is very im­press­ive for someone that hasn’t been diving com­pet­it­ively too long.”

Pisacano said that the most im­port­ant as­pect of diving is to un­der­stand that she has to let the diving board do most of the work. The ex­per­i­ence has made her men­tally stronger, something that cer­tainly has helped en­rich her mind in the classroom, as evid­enced by her de­sire to learn Chinese.

“I like learn­ing Chinese be­cause, like lacrosse, it’s very in­volved and you have to be very fast in or­der to pick up on it,” Pisacano said. “I also like the lan­guage be­cause it al­lows you to use a dif­fer­ent part of your brain. We have Asi­an neigh­bors, so I’ve al­ways been fas­cin­ated by their cul­ture. The Far East coun­tries have be­come so dom­in­ant in the world, so I figured it was a use­ful lan­guage to learn. It’s something com­pletely new, and I have to ac­cept that in or­der to find suc­cess with­in the classroom.”

The most com­mon ques­tion one comes up with after spend­ing some time with her is, how on Earth, with so much go­ing on in her life, does she find time to be a nor­mal 16-year-old kid?

“I take the sum­mers off to go down the shore and spend time with friends or go on va­ca­tion with my fam­ily,” Pisacano said of her mom, dad and three young­er sib­lings. “But it’s not a bur­den for me, and I wouldn’t par­ti­cip­ate in all of these activ­it­ies if I didn’t en­joy them. The last thing I want to do is look back on these four years and say I didn’t get to ex­per­i­ence high school. I want to re­mem­ber this time in my life, and it’ll be hard not to with all of these in­ter­est­ing things that I got to try.”

Joe Pisacano is proud of his daugh­ter, but he says he al­ways makes sure to check that Rose is en­joy­ing her­self too. The last thing he wants is to be­come one of those over­bear­ing par­ents who push their kids in­to something that will only cause re­sent­ment later in life.

“Like Rose said, her in­volve­ment in all of these things has al­lowed her to really en­joy her life,” Joe Pisacano said. “She im­me­di­ately feels like she brings something to the table, which is why I think she ex­cels so much at everything she does. My wife and I just want to give the kids an op­por­tun­ity to ex­plore the world as much as pos­sible. It’s im­port­ant to en­joy what life has to of­fer, and I’m not sure I know any­one who gets more out of life than Rose does.” ••

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You can reach at emorrone@bsmphilly.com.

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