If it weren’t for Seaford High School’s robotics club, Nick Liuzzi doesn’t know what his future career path would be. His involvement with the club over the last three years has given him direction, and now the senior knows he wants to study mechanical engineering in college.
Liuzzi has not only been an active member of the Engineering/Robotics Club, he has been a standout contributor. He was selected as the MVP of the FIRST Robotics Competition at Hofstra University on April 1-2, which featured 51 teams from Long Island, New York City and Brazil. The event was hosted by School-Business Partnerships of Long Island, Inc.
“There’s so many students who work so hard,” Liuzzi said, adding that it was an honor to be chosen for the award from among the nearly 4,000 high-school students who took part in the two-day event. “I really love the robotics program and I’m so passionate about it.”
“We’re very proud of him,” said Nick Isgro, who advises the club along with fellow technology teacher Neal Hagan. “He’s a very hard-working kid. [It] couldn’t have been given to a better person.”
Isgro said that the judges, who are experts in robotics and volunteered their time for the competition, selected Liuzzi as MVP.
Seaford’s robotics club is in its fourth year. In 2013, its inaugural year, it received the Rookie All-Star Award and earned a berth at the national competition. It then had two middle-of-the-pack finishes before making the playoffs this year.
“We were very satisfied with how we did,” Liuzzi said of making the quarterfinals. “As far as performance, this was one of our best years, if not our best.”
Liuzzi can take a lot of the credit as the president of the club, but he prefers to share the honor with the 35 other members. Everyone contributed ideas that were featured in the final design of Seaford’s robot.
This year, the competition required that the robot pick up a ball, shoot it, navigate several obstacles and scale the wall of a castle. Building a robot requires a lot of trial and error, he explained. While all members of the club make suggestions, Liuzzi said, the more experienced students narrow down the ideas based on their knowledge of what works and what doesn’t.