Age: 12, Grade 7 at Joseph Melillo Middle School
Angelina (Angie) DeBenedet is the daughter of Maria Bronson of East Haven and Michael DeBenedet of North Haven. She was nominated as an East Haven Whiz Kid by her paternal grandmother, Rheta DeBenedet. Angie has two older brothers, Kyle and Kevin who are 19 year-old twins, and a younger brother, Anthony who is eleven. She and Anthony are very close, and they share the family pet dog, Toffee who is a Bassett hound.
According to Maria, “Angelina loves her 50 pound ‘sister, Toffee, she’s excellent in taking care of her, and doing her daily chores everyday, she tells me ‘it’s her routine.’ Her routine is perfect and we all love her very much.”
When Rheta DeBenedet nominated her granddaughter, she said “I have to congratulate Angelina on [teaching] her brother Anthony to read when he was three to four years old, her interest in reading and comprehending what she read at such a young age helped him and her as well. Angelina’s parents are also to be commended for a job well done by giving their children the right tools to learn by. My husband and I enjoy every minute with Angelina, she has enlightened our years.”
Angelina has been taking gymnastics since the age of five. Bronson commented about her daughter’s acrobatic activity by saying “she flips! she is so acrobatic that at numerous times I catch her watching TV upside down or by flipping over the couch.” She added “Angie is an all-American girl and is very athletic. She is competitive in all backyard sports from Wiffle ball to football and basketball, but she specializes in her gymnastics, and will be competing for the first time this fall. Angelina works extremely hard at learning the four components of gymnastics in bars, balance beam, vault and floor.”
In her spare time, Angelina loves to read and has an amazing collection of books in her room. Her mom says, "she has a lot of creativity, and her reading sparks that.” Musically, Angelina has been playing the clarinet for almost four years. She began in the third grade at Tuttle School, and is going into her second year in the school band at JMMS.
Angelina also has a strong love for art. She has a talent for drawing and painting and has a vast collection of pencils, charcoals and painted works of her own art adorning the walls of her room. She also loves to write stories according to her mom. “Sometimes I think she’s going to be a screen writer.”
Angelina plans on attending college when she graduates from high school, but hasn’t yet chosen a field of expertise. Angelina told her mom, “I want to eventually educate people in a way that sparks good changes for the world.”
In June of this past academic year, Angelina was voted as ‘Student of The Year’ at JMMS in the sixth grade class. She was also cited for her endless academic achievements and honor status in the areas of Unified Arts for her participation in the middle school band, Science, Language Arts and, Integrated Language Arts.
During her fourth and fifth grade years at Tuttle School, Angelina participated in an after school book club with teacher Cheryl Syc, and served as a prominent member on the school’s student council under the direction of teacher Dale Manna. While on the student council at Tuttle, Angelina gave back to her community by aiding the East Haven Animal Shelter and serving coffee and tea to senior citizens during holiday celebrations.
Along with six other very close girlfriends, she is also a member of J.U.G., (Just Us Girls) which is an exclusive little club of close friends who do fun things and activities together. The theme of the group is "Girls Just Want To Have Fun." Angie has also assisted in creating a J.U.G. Website with Olivia Petroccio, and hosts most meetings at her house with mom Maria’s help. The group was created outside of school for the girls to get together to share ideas and create memories. Bronson loves the group of friends Angelina is with, “it’s refreshing for all of them to know they can be themselves.”
Key to Awesomeness
Maria Bronson commented on what makes her daughter so awesome; “Angelina has the heart of all hearts, with the biggest smile. She never wants to hurt anyone and always tries to please everyone. Being the only girl with three brothers has been challenging for her, but they are all very close, and she loves them dearly.”
Michael DeBenedet, her father, added, “What can I say about Ang? I cried when she was born, and have watched her grow from a bouncing baby into a bouncing gymnast. I remember when she learned to read at the age of four, and taught her brother Anthony to do so as well, she’s always so giving. I dream of the day she becomes President, and I get to drive the limo. I held her in my arms until she was too big to hold; now I hold her in my heart.”