Whether it’s in the classroom, surfing, snowboarding, biking or playing beach volleyball, Spanish teacher William Luzzi knows how to energize every activity he gets involved in, say those who know him best. For his efforts for and his impact on Lynbrook High School, Luzzi was recently named 2021 Lynbrook Teacher of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce.
The chamber annually hosts an Evening of Excellence to recognize work in the Lynbrook community. Luzzi will be presented his award, alongside other community members, at a black-tie gala on Jan. 15.
“Not only is Mr. Luzzi an expert Spanish teacher, but he also leads professional development and puts himself out there,” Principal Joseph Rainis said. “Mr. Luzzi exemplifies what it means to be an educator, as he is so invested in helping young people succeed.”
Luzzi is originally from Valley Stream, where he played football and lacrosse, continuing his lacrosse career at Hartwick College in Oneonta upstate. While in college, Luzzi and his family traveled to Cozumel, Mexico, and the experience gave him a new outlook on life.
“Cozumel is the place where I realized my passion for the Spanish language and culture,” Luzzi said.
When he returned home, he changed his major to Spanish and began an excursion around the globe to immerse himself in the Spanish language and culture. When Luzzi discovered his passion, he said, he found further purpose in the art of teaching.
“I enjoy teaching students how to communicate in a new language and have appreciation for diverse cultures and points of view around the world,” Luzzi explained. Recently, during Hispanic Heritage month, Luzzi’s 11th-graders shared their knowledge of Spanish culture with students at Lynbrook’s Kindergarten Center.
Luzzi said that he loves teaching and coaching the Lynbrook varsity boys’ lacrosse team because of his students.
When Luzzi was announced as Lynbrook Teacher of the Year, he said he was overwhelmed with support from his fellow educators.
“Of his myriad talents, his ability to connect to students is what makes him a deserving recipient of the Teacher of the Year Award,” English teacher Roseanne Mitchell said. “His vivacious, caring personality creates an atmosphere in his classroom where all students feel included — that’s his gift.”
Luzzi has left an indelible mark on his students, current and past pupils say.
Luzzi said he was honored to be recognized, noting how much he enjoys spending time with his students. “I love forming relationships with each of my students, joking around and getting to know each one on a personal level,” he said. “Lynbrook students are the best.”