By Marivir R. Montebon
Chantilly, Virginia — One of the awesome perks in life is to wake up in the mornings to the lovely singing voice of a young girl. As she prepares for school with hurried footsteps to and from the bathroom, she belts out pop songs as well.
I smile to that, and in my mind, 10-year-old Josette Francia will be going places with this voice and personality.
Josette is the reigning Little Miss Migrant Heritage, a little ambassador of goodwill position for her to help promote the arts and culture of the Philippines. Bubbly and smart, Josette is friendly and can very well command an audience. She yells, “I want some noise!” and her audience roars. She begins to dance and sing in electrifying delight for them.
Josette’s father, Ronaldo Francia, coaches her to sing. He himself has earned the title “Elvis Presley in the Fil-Am community in Washington, DC.” Obviously, Josette takes on her father as a promising singing sensation.
She gets her dance lessons from the cultural development program head of the Migrant Heritage Commission (MHC) and co-
executive director Grace Valera. Grace teaches her the native tinikling and popular dances. “Josette is an eager learner. Has a very good attitude at learning something new,” says Grace.
Although growing up to be a promising star that she is, Josette’s mom Bel makes sure she grows up in discipline and responsibility. Mommy carefully normalizes everything by supervising their home chores, while Daddy Ronald makes sure they did their homework in the evenings.
Along with her elder sister Jasmine, whose talents at singing, visual arts, writing, and modeling are also beginning to show, Josette helps set up the table before dinner, clean up the kitchen, and fold the laundry. “We want our kids’ talents to be developed so that their self-confidence is honed. But while growing up, they have to learn the value of discipline. I am making sure that my children are well-disciplined. That is very important to succeed in life,” quips Bel.
During the recently concluded Fiesta Asia in Washington, DC, Josette was the busiest little performer on behalf of the MHC. She was part of the floral parade for the Santa Cruzan Festival, she danced the tinikling, and sang some pop songs at the Rising Star booth. Her rendition of Respect and Rolling in the Deep wowed the audience. “She carried her duties with the jolly heart of a child,” dance coach Grace says with thumbs up.
When asked what she liked best in Fiesta Asia, Josette simply said, the food.