Spotlight: Rizzuti Rallies Rookies

By Kaitlyn Bell


In these unprecedented times, positivity and activity are important for staying motivated and prepared. Throughout quarantine, Ms. Rizzuti, gym teacher and varsity coach of both volleyball and softball, has used her Instagram account to keep students informed and inspired. The Chariot asked her a few questions regarding this year’s upcoming sports season as well as how to stay active and motivated.


Source by Anna Detke

Ms. Rizzuti uses social media as a platform to inspire athletes to stay active and persevere, despite the hurdles of the pandemic.


Q: Your Instagram is a supportive, positive platform that gives advice and tips to motivate students. What do you believe is essential to staying inspired and motivated during these difficult times?

Ms. Jacqueline Rizzuti: “The COVID-19 pandemic has brought on difficult times over the past eight months and it has become challenging for people to stay motivated. I believe the key to staying motivated is to reflect on what we have to be grateful for, what our goals are in life and what makes us happy. We need to surround ourselves with people that lift us and encourage us to be the best versions of ourselves. I feel it is essential to practice self-care and focus on not only our physical health but most importantly our mental health.”


Q: What does “be the change you want to see in the world” truly mean to you?

JR: The quote “be the change you want to see in the world” is very important to me. I feel that we are all capable of making a difference in the world. I think it is very important for us to set a positive example for one another. If we want to see a positive change in the world, then we should make a change for ourselves. There is so much beauty in the world, but sometimes it gets overlooked. We should always be kind to one another, be appreciative of what we have, and be supportive of those who have been supportive of us.


Q: Throughout quarantine, the #nhpstaysactive hashtag circulated to encourage activity and exercise. With limited exercise options available now, what do you think students at NHP can do to stay active?

JR: During quarantine, I worried about my students’ physical health but most importantly their mental health. I think it is extremely important to stay active and to keep our bodies moving. By staying active and exercising, we can alleviate stress, anxiety, and depression. My main objective in circulating the hashtag was the overall well-being of all the students and faculty members at New Hyde Park. There are so many ways for us to stay active during this time. With the technology and resources we have, there are many ways to access home workouts through YouTube and other workout programs. It is also important to go for walks, runs, and bike rides. These exercises let us get outside to get fresh air and sunlight! I also believe it is important to find an exercise partner. Having someone to exercise with will provide social interaction, motivation, and will hold you accountable to get the workout done.


Q: What advice would you give to the students at NHP, a message you would want them to remember and carry with them throughout the day?

JR: I once came upon this quote: “Every day might not be good but there is something good in every day.” This quote sticks with me because we are all going to have bad days, and that is okay. However, we can always find something that is good in our life during those bad days. We can always find something to be grateful for whether it is our family, friends, health, or just something as small as eating your favorite food that day. It is good every day; sometimes we just have to step back and dig deeper into what makes us smile!


Q: What would you like to tell the student-athletes about this upcoming sports season?

JR: I would like to tell all the student-athletes to keep thinking positive and to remember that what we are going through is not in our control. What is in our control is how we decide to act. It is easy to get upset and discouraged, but as athletes we are competitive. Use that competitive edge that you all have and take a good look in the mirror. You are your biggest competition! Keep working hard, keep practicing, and keep focusing on improving your skills. Sports will resume and when we retake the field and courts, I want you all to be ready physically and mentally!


Q: As the coach of NHP volleyball and softball, what are your plans for this season while keeping all the students safe?

JR: As a coach, my number one priority is to always provide a safe environment for all my athletes. We will follow all guidelines provided to us while we practice and compete. We will stay safe by staying educated and respectful of all safety procedures. The ultimate goal is to get back out there and to continue making the unforgettable memories that being a gladiator brings to all of us.