PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — This week’s Scholar Athlete of the Week sponsored by Perry and Young P.A. is Arnold’s Anna-Katherine Risalvato.
Risalvato’s true love is dance. She started when she was two years old, began dancing competitively when she was seven, and is now spending about 20 hours a week in the studio.
She’s turned her passion into a purpose by creating a dance group at her church called passion praisers. She teaches ballet at the Boys and Girls Club of Bay County and started a non-profit called ‘dance for all’ that gives children a year-long scholarship to cover tuition and recital fees.
“Just seeing the response of these kids being able to be in dance and having a role model in their life has just shown such improvement in their lives,” Risalvato said. “And so I wanted to be sure that I could reach out to as many people in the community as I could.”
Her role models in dance inspired her to reach out to local organizations to be a role model for these kids.
“Every coach has a dream of certain type of athletes,” Arnold Track and Field Coach Tom Dever said. “Anna-Katherine is that type of athlete. Not only is she gifted athletically, whether it be dance or running, but she also does those other things. She gives back to the community.”
Risalvato wanted to compete in a high school sport, so she started in track and field in the ninth grade. She competes in the high jump, 4×100 meter relay, 4×4 meter relay, and 200-meter dash.
“Going into high school I wanted to do a high school sport, and I figured track would help me out with dance and dance would help me out with the track,” Risalvato said. “So the stamina and the running helps with dance and then the flexibility and the strength that I get from dance helps into the track.”
In her junior season, Risalvato made it to districts for the high jump, but this year her goal is state.
She has above a 4.5 GPA, is a part of the National Honor Society, Key Club, and is the president of the ‘Got Hope’ Club at Arnold. A club that raises awareness for Cancer.
After high school, she is going to attend the University of Florida, where she will double major in dance and applied physiology and kinesiology.
Her biggest future goal is to become a Radio City Rockette, but she would also love to tour with a ballet company or sports team as a physical trainer.