Francesca Cocchiarale has a lot on her plate. The 16-year-old junior is in marching band and St. Vincent de Paul Society at Bishop Ready High School, participates in COSI's Medical Career Discovery program and volunteers at OSU's Wexner Medical Center and her church.

Francesca Cocchiarale has a lot on her plate. The 16-year-old junior is in marching band and St. Vincent de Paul Society at Bishop Ready High School, participates in COSI's Medical Career Discovery program and volunteers at OSU's Wexner Medical Center and her church. On top of all that, she still finds time to help elementary students with their homework at the Northside library, where Francesca has volunteered for seven years. One of nearly 500 Columbus Metropolitan Library volunteers, Francesca is the only high school volunteer at the Northside branch and has clocked in more than 500 hours at the library since she started high school-and she doesn't even have her driver's license yet. 

I've always been at this library, and they asked me if I wanted to volunteer for the Summer Reading Club [at age 9]. I started volunteering [at the library's Homework Help Center] when I was a freshman. I usually work with kids in kindergarten and first grade, but there are some kids that are my age that come to me for help.

Volunteering has helped me get myself out there and find more opportunities to volunteer. Through the interactions I've had here, communicating with people has just really helped me develop my skills. I've become confident through it, and I figured out I really like helping people.

I love being involved, so I just try to be involved in whatever I can. I'm applying to be an ambassador at my school. I have to write two essays, and this one I'm writing right now is: "If you could change anything about Bishop Ready, what would you change?" It's really hard. I was thinking if I could change anything, I would introduce more programs that involve job opportunities.

I want to be a doctor. I'm interested in oncology, and I'm also interested in general surgery. But there's just so much I could pick from. My favorite subject is biology, so it kind of all came together. I really want to go to Ohio State. I've just had this interest in it for so long, and my parents went there. If I go to Ohio State, I will definitely dedicate some of my time to Northside. I'm planning on volunteering as long as I can.