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All-star runs with a smile on his face

May 15, 2008|By Ruth Longoria

There’s a sense of optimism about this 14-year-old St. Francis High School freshman that’s evident from the moment you meet him. His eyes sparkle and his smile is a genuine flash of brilliance.

“I’m a glass is half-full kind of guy,” explains Kyle Palazzalo, a recent Random Acts of Kindness award winner. “I’m very optimistic and I have this outlook that there’s definitely always something good in life.”

Palazzalo received the award because his peers at the school’s Life Team felt his joyful attitude, humility and anonymous good deeds were worthy of a little recognition, said Denise Gunter, who works in the school’s activities office. And, she confirmed, he’s also academically a good student.


Staff at the high school nominated Palazzalo as this week’s Valley Sun All-Star.

“Kyle is a very impressive young man,” said Patrick Donovan, a member of the English faculty and head cross country and track coach at St. Francis High School.

“I’ve had the pleasure of working with Kyle since last summer,” Donovan said. “He’s a likeable kid and is always willing to do anything the coaches need or help out his fellow athletes in any way he can.”

Palazzalo also is willing to help out people he doesn’t know. He’s involved in the Brothers Helpers program, and a few times each week he helps prepare meals for homeless people in downtown Los Angeles. He also helps out with Special Olympics; Camp Max Strauss, a program for underprivileged kids; and, he’s involved with various activities and programs at his church, Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Montrose.

“Kyle marches to his own beat,” said his dad, Vito Palazallo, a lieutenant in the Los Angeles Police Department. “He’s a good kid. He’s fun and outgoing and always has a smile on his face.”

Kyle is the oldest son of Vito and Lisa Palazzalo, of La Crescenta. While he and his brother, Travis, 13, were younger, Lisa was a stay-at-home mom, but recently she went to work as an implant coordinator for a local oral surgeon.

In addition to helping others, Kyle Palazzalo is an avid runner. He trained for and ran his first marathon, the L.A. Marathon, while he was a seventh-grader at Holy Redeemer School. He is currently one of two freshmen on St. Francis High School’s varsity cross country and track teams, for which he lettered this year. And, he was selected as this year’s Rookie of the Year, for cross-country.

He hasn’t yet decided on college and career aspirations; however, he said, “Maybe I’ll go into the police force, like my dad. That’s a good way to help people.”

IF YOU’D LIKE TO NOMINATE an exceptional young person who lives in La Cañada or is a student here to be a Valley Sun All-Star, e-mail us at

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