Riverside senior treasures family

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 11, 2001


RESERVE – Though she has proven herself to have the talent to go anywhere, Heidi Richard, a senior at Riverside Academy in Reserve, hopes to stay close to home in the days ahead. She has learned to treasure things that are closest – her family. “We live within five minutes of each other and are all real close,” said Richard. “We are a big family.” In a community such as Reserve family and friends matter. Sometimes it is all that you have, and Richard, who spoke about her last year’s track accomplishments – coming in third in the district, but still going on to win in regionals – interrupted herself, and said, “Around that time my mom got sick.” Her mom, Patti Amato, made news and shocked a community. She contracted viral meningitis that left her hospitalized for seven months. Richard explained during that time her mom ultimately had to have the lower parts of her arms and legs amputated, but quickly added, “She’s at home now, and she is doing real good.” Their community had a fund-raising effort, which helped buy prosthetics for Amato. Her daughter smiled and said, “My mom is getting fully recovered and is starting to walk again.” On April 15,2000, Richard’s life changed, too. “I think it made me really appreciate my mother,” said Richard. “I did not realize how much she did for all of us until she was in a coma for two months. We could not talk to her, and I felt lost. You take stuff for granted, and it makes you appreciate what you have got.” One thing Richard has is talent. She has excelled athletically for four years in track, volleyball and softball. In track she throws the shot put. Richard has played volleyball and softball, with the latter being her favorite, and has won district her sophomore and junior years, with this year’s district not decided yet. She is also student council president this year. “I’ve been on it for three years, and I’ve been class treasurer for four years,” said Richard. She is also an active member of the Drama Club and the Beta Club. Academically, Richard has a 3.7 grade point average. She enjoys physics and math, but her favorite subject is English literature. “I want to teach,” said Richard. “I’m not sure what grade – I think high school, but I want to do English.” “I love poetry,” she said. “And I like to write. My friends and I always used to write. And I love Shakespeare’s plays, like Romeo and Juliet.'” As a graduating senior, she is a little nervous at going off to Louisiana State University. She has been at Riverside Academy for 14 years – since pre-school. “It is small, and I enjoy it,” said Richard “You know everybody.” She likes that and said, “I definitely want to live around here, get married and have a lot of kids. I want to stay close to home. I am going to LSU so that I can stay close.” She said it is a little scary because LSU is so big, but added: “Four of my friends that go here, we will all rent an apartment so we should be all right.”