Lucia Bazzarelli: A teacher for some, an inspiration to all

June 20, 2022

A sweet welcome of “Ciao studenti! Come stai?” echoed everyday in room 719 for over 30 years. Lucia Bazzarelli would approach each student, asking about their endeavors throughout the day and past experiences within their lives. Bazzarelli, who was the Italian teacher and advisor for Italian Club and Gay-Straight Alliance Club, was one of the most kind-hearted, purest souls that many West Essex students had the lucky chance to learn and grow with. Bazzarelli was adored by many, and a bright light to turn to when times seemed a little darker.

Bazzarelli had so much love in her heart and opened it up to everyone around her. The students who had the opportunity to learn from her, both school and life lessons, were extremely lucky.

Her beloved family and friends, as well as the West Essex community, said a saddened goodbye to this beautiful angel on May 15 2022. 

West Essex staff and students share special memories of their beloved teacher, colleague and friend: caring, kind-hearted Bazz. 

Lucia Bazzarelli touched the hearts of students throughout her duration teaching here at West Essex, changing the lives of many both in and out of the classroom. “She was always beaming with love and support. She would always lend an ear if you needed help,” Senior Clark Molfetta said. Bazzarelli put the well-being of her students first and foremost, while constantly having their best interest at heart. 

Senior Aidan Harn-Flood reflects on his personal relationship with Bazz, as she was affectionately known. 

“She cared and paid attention more than most,” Harn-Flood said. “Although we weren’t exceptionally close, I trusted and respected her beyond her status as a teacher, but that of person and as a true ally.”

Lindsey Leitner

Bazz was a powerful advocate for the LGBTQ+ community here at West Essex, and was an advisor for the Gay-Straight Alliance club for more than five years. Those who knew her said she went above and beyond to make sure her students were seen, heard and represented. 

“My relationship with Ms. Bazzarelli was always one that I felt good about,” Senior Sara Amadeo said. “Her room was always a safe haven for me where I got to hear about her personal life and unwavering dedication to helping the LGBTQ+ community at West Essex. We were close enough to the point where I felt comfortable to tell her anything and not fear judgment which I found very comforting, especially during quarantine.”

Teachers also look back on their time with Bazz, and share fond memories with their colleague, friend and inspiration. 

“During the last 19 years, there was never a day that Lucia did not check in with me or make sure I was OK,” English teacher Toni Ann Zuppa said. “She never complained about anything and was always worried about those around her. This is who she was: selfless, caring, loving, thoughtful and absolutely hilarious. I miss my colleague and friend.”

“Kind, caring, selfless–she never talked about herself; she was deeply interested in other people,” English teacher Aaron Myerson said, “She loved the arts, especially film. She was so passionate about her students and about sharing Italian culture. She obviously loved her own kids and talked about them all the time.” 

The moment Bazzarelli stepped foot into the hallways, she made a lasting impact on each individual she crossed paths with. 

“Lucia was my first friend at WE. We started the same year and met at our teacher orientation,” science teacher Deanna Lippi said, “I distinctly remember that she was wearing an outfit with polka dots which to me are such a cheerful pattern and matched her joyful personality.”

“Twenty-three years of discussions about film, television and international football tied into the shared experience of all matters West Essex enabled us to develop a bond of congeniality,” English teacher Neil Fardin said. 

“We were “neighbors” as our classrooms were right near each other,” English teacher Diane Gray said. “I loved speaking with her as we stood in the hall in between classes and then visiting each other’s classrooms after school. I really miss that; my day is not the same.” 

Anyone who knew Bazz, knew that her positivity never waivered. Like everyone, Bazz had some rough days, but it never showed as she lived each day with infectious zeal.

“Ms. Bazzarelli was an eternal optimist,” English teacher Olivia Macaluso said. “She faced more challenges than any one person should, and yet she always maintained a positive attitude and would never complain. She was so supportive of the people she cared for and had a wellspring of empathy. She had the courage and confidence to speak truth to power.” 

It’s evident that the impact Bazz had on our community is everlasting, and the love we hold for her is irreplaceable. As Bazzarelli held eternal love for all in West Essex, the West Essex community reciprocates that undying love to her two sons, Marco and Luca during this time. Thank you for everything and more — ti vogliamo bene.

Behind the Byline
Photo of Rachel Levine
Rachel Levine, Editor in Chief
Rachel Levine is a 2022-2023 Editor in chief for the Wessex Wire! She enjoys running, going to the beach, and listening to music. She also loves spending time with her family and friends. 

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Haleigh Farese, Digital Director & Art Director
Haleigh loves hanging out with her friends, being down the shore, and drinking coffee. Her favorite TV show is "The Vampire Diaries." She’s either playing field hockey or going to different places with her friends. Her favorite place to go is Florida. 
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Catherine Khitiri, Senior Chief Visual & Social Media Editor
Catherine Khitiri is a senior at West Essex and the Senior Chief Visual and Social Media Editor for the 2021-2022 Wessex Wire school year.  She is a part of the Masquers of West Essex in both the fall dramas and the spring musicals, as well as a member of the Key Club, GSA, Cooking 4 a Cause Club, and Women's Empowerment Club. In her free time, she enjoys playing volleyball and singing.

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