Armed with a Library Card
by Cate Murway
Geraldine Victoria Josephina “GiGi” Northrop, BHS ’12 should probably not be allowed into libraries unsupervised. It should be made mandatory for her to carry a warning sign, “Voracious Reader…Got Books?” GiGi is pretty passionate about the written word!
She seems to have discovered the liberating pleasures of reading and mysteries intrigue her the most. A person's literary tastes can be very revealing….better build her another bookcase!
GiGi has been commended in many different venues for her outstanding significant accomplishments and for having exhibited excellence or the capacity for excellence far beyond that of her chronological peers.
Deservedly so, her mother, ISS Facilitator Denise “Nisey” Karen [Northrop] Smith, BHS ’72 is extremely proud of her daughter. This cheerleader, basketball and field hockey captain’s 1972 senior yearbook quote has proven to be quite a prophecy, “Self conquest is the greatest of victories”. Bristol High School can boast also of GiGi’s other family members, her Aunt Elizabeth Virginia [Northrop] Ithier, BHS ’70, her cheerleading/wrestling athlete sister, Ebony Unique Lovelace, BHS ’03 and her basketball/football/wrestling athlete brother, Thomas Ali Smith, Sr. BHS class of ’94.
Bath Street resident GiGi was named in honor of her late grandparents, Geraldine “Jerry” [Carter] Northrop and Victor Joseph “JoJo” Northrop, Jr. She currently has a niece 17 months old Keyra Denise Kornstedt, who has already attended Bristol Borough school functions and a 6 year old nephew, Thomas Ali Smith, Jr.
GiGi was chosen to represent Snyder-Girotti Elementary School and the Bristol community when she attended the Junior National Young Leaders Conference in Washington D.C. on February 18-23, 2006. The theme was The Legacy of American Leadership. She had the honor of participating with over 200 outstanding students from
across the U.S., having the opportunity to take part in interactive educational activities
and presentations, meet with elected officials and also visit historical sites.
In addition to examining notable U.S. leaders and historic figures, the selected students studied the impact of leadership throughout critical periods of American history, including the Civil War and Reconstruction, World War II, the Great Depression and the civil rights. This was truly an impactful experience for her. GiGi was quoted about her anticipation for this conference, “Attending this program will enable me to develop my leadership skills, build my confidence and help me become a better student at school and citizen within my community. I maintain a 99.9 GPA and I am involved in the following activities: drama, band, chorus, ice-skating and the Girl Scouts. I am looking forward to participating in the conference and I am so thankful for this opportunity and for what I am sure will be a life-changing experience for me.”
“It's the way that I feel
So come share my world with me”
GiGi has earned distinguished honors since 1st grade and has maintained perfect attendance. She has been awarded Citizen of the Month and her name has appeared on the Student of the Month commended lists. At one time, she was the only African American “Student Ambassador” for BHS, representing the school at the Warren Snyder-John Girotti elementary and middle school groundbreaking.
As part of “Black History Month”, Council Vice-President [West Ward], Robyn Trunell presented a certificate to GiGi for her outstanding achievements and leadership qualities at the Council Meeting in February 2007. She also earned 2nd place for her originality, theme development and literary mechanics in the “Americanism Essay Contest” [“Why I Am Proud To Be An American”] sponsored by The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, Bristol Elks #970. Her essay advanced to the Southeast District of the Elks and she earned a Wal-Mart gift card because she “truly believes she lives in the home of the brave”. Per chairman of the Americanism contest and all patriotic functions, Kristie Gaynor, Truman ‘98/BCCC, “Her essay was very good. She is very bright and will excel in everything she does. I wish her a lot of luck!”
An especially fun recognition took place at the 43,500-seat Citizens Bank Park during the Phillies vs. Houston Astros game [Astros 9, Phillies 6] when the talented and dedicated GiGi received the Prudential Spirit of Community Award honoring her outstanding volunteer community service. She helps raise funds for Lions Scholarships, for their dynamic Camp Kirby for hearing impaired children, as well as raising funds for eye exams and glasses for needy children.
Field hockey defensive halfback #22, GiGi shares her athletic skills and assists Recreation Director, Cynthia Mae [Cyndi] Wade in the summer rec programs. She is one of the original youth arts enrichment participants in the BRT Community Theatre Camp, ArtRageous, that focuses on learning new skills in improvisation, acting, singing, dance and movement. This program, run by Phyllis [Porecca] Slattery, Bishop Conwell '76/NYU '83, offers a creative and positive outlet while building the participants’ confidence and self-esteem. Now GiGi ushers at the Bristol Riverside Theatre!
GiGi’s “book marks” include an Honor award for reading Olympics, whose goal is to increase the quality and quantity of books the students read for enjoyment. This is primarily a celebration of reading rather than a contest. She also received an Honorable mention in reading from the Latino Leadership Alliance’s after school programs and activities that promote responsible social behaviors, educational success, and self-determination. Her poem, “My Best Friends Forever” was awarded the prestigious Editor’s Choice Award for its unique perspective and original creativity by The International Library of Poetry. This poem was published in the “Immortal Verses” Spring 2007 Coffee-table edition. The Bucks County Courier Times awarded her with a 1st Place Certificate of Merit and Top Honor for Best of Show in their NIE Contest for Creating an Ad.
Let’s not forget her potent math skills! GiGi earned an Honor award from St. Jude Children’s Hospital for fighting childhood cancer with her mastery of arithmetic through the Math-a-thon that helps the kids of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. The Math-A-Thon is a fun and educational fundraising program for the hospital. Participating students obtain sponsorships from family and friends to work math problems. After they complete them, they collect the pledges from their sponsors.
She has run the royalty route also! GiGi Northrop’s quest for the crown was successful when she won the diamond tiara and was crowned “Queen” among the 12- to 16-year-olds in July 2007. The theme of the Bucks County Community Pageant was prayer and contestants discussed how prayer is a part of their lives. Per GiGi, “A positive way which could make a difference in having a better day!” She sang "Never Say Goodbye" by JoJo [Joanna Noëlle Blagden Levesque]. P.S. Her mom was the 1st BHS black homecoming queen and sang [still on tape!] the National Anthem at BHS!
GiGi also made the July 2004 “Pilot” cover story when she and a friend controlled rubber band powered hot rods at a summer Bioscience program sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline, a leading healthcare company.
“So I'm standin here
Arms open wide
Ready to give my heart”
Alumni of the Congressional Youth Leadership Council and National Youth Leadership Forum are exclusively invited to attend private Inaugural Conference events and activities held every four years in January following the presidential election. GiGi is searching for funds to allow her to partake in this unique experience in Washington, January 17-21. The Knights of Columbus and the Mark L. Gesualdi family have made donations so that she will be able to take part in and share firsthand in the excitement and ceremony of the inauguration of the President and Vice President of the United States. Any monetary assistance is greatly appreciated to aid this Bristol Borough youth on her quest of limitless possibilities!
GiGi loves yellow and orange, the “bright and happy colors”. Her favorite food is seafood, especially, the popular delicacy, dungeness crabs, [valued for the higher meat to shell ratio] and shrimp. Her current career dream is to be a Marine biologist because she loves dolphins, [not to eat!], that are considered to be amongst the most intelligent of animals, and she loves water. She hopes to reside in Florida and work at Sea World in Orlando, possibly even getting to swim with her favorite marine mammals.
GiGi loves Bristol! “Everyone knows everyone” and one watches his/her behavior for sure since “your parents are gonna get told!”
So, go ahead! Tell her mom and everyone else you know what a good job GiGi Northrop is doing!
[lyrics from "Never Say Goodbye" by JoJo]
To recommend a “Bristol Bits” youth to be spotlighted: email: firstname.lastname@example.org