SHS Grad Phil Struzziero Publishes Young Adult Novel

SHS graduate is a local teacher and author

Phil+Struzziero+with+his+family+during+a+book+signing+event+at+Buttonwood+Books+%26+Toys+
Phil Struzziero with his family during a book signing event at Buttonwood Books & Toys

Phil Struzziero with his family during a book signing event at Buttonwood Books & Toys

Photo Courtesy of Buttonwood Books & Toys

Photo Courtesy of Buttonwood Books & Toys

Phil Struzziero with his family during a book signing event at Buttonwood Books & Toys

Julia Gates and Brigid Murray

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His sister calls him “Mr. Perfect,” which is no exaggeration. Since he was a Scituate High School freshman back in 1994, Phil Struzziero has been a trailblazer. From being elected captain and quarterback of the varsity football team, to being a four-time All-State tenor, to graduating as one of the highest ranked students in his 1998 graduating class, Struzziero distinguished himself at SHS. (Struzziero was even a writer for The Scituation!)

Despite his abundance of talent, Struzziero never intended to become a writer–that path just came to him naturally. Struzziero recently published a young adult novel, Teen Ref: A Good “No Call,” which has been featured at Buttonwood Books in Cohasset and the Scituate Town Library.

Struzziero’s younger sister, Kate Ciulla, department chair for the SHS foreign language department, recalls her brother keeping a book of Shakespeare next to his bed while they were growing up. According to Ciulla, Struzziero was always reading literature.

At SHS, Struzziero was known for his enthusiastic energy.  According to his favorite English teacher, retired SHS teacher Judy Kalla, Struzziero was a model student, which “was no surprise.” Much to his surprise, Kalla always knew Struzziero had a knack for writing. She was happy to learn Struzziero is teaching English at Hingham High School–especially since she has a specific memory from his high school English class. Kalla recalled Struzziero protesting a particular assignment that required students to teach their classmates a lesson. Struzziero commented, “Why do we have to teach? We’re not going to become teachers!”

After graduating from Scituate High School, Struzziero earned his undergraduate degree at Tufts University, following in the footsteps of his parents, who were both graduates of SHS and Tufts. When he struggled to choose a major, Struzziero decided to “just try” English. This course of studies turned out to be a good fit, as Struzziero landed on the honor roll and pursued English as a career.

After earning his doctorate degree from UMass Lowell, Struzziero became a teacher and has been working at Hingham High School for over ten years. Ciulla said it was really no surprise when her brother was drawn to teaching English. According to Ciulla, he loves young minds and has great working relationships with his students, who have nicknamed him “Struz.” Struzziero teaches freshmen and juniors, and he is the faculty advisor for the ADL program at Hingham High School.

Uninterested in science fiction writing, Struzziero wanted to do something more enjoyable with his passion for literature. To get inspired, he took his young daughters to the town library, where he regularly checked out books about sports. When he realized no one had written a book based on the experiences of high school referees, Struzziero, who officiates high school football with the Eastern Massachusetts Association of Interscholastic Football Officials, knew he had a fresh idea.

One day, while sitting with his mother-in-law, Struzziero announced he was going to start writing a book. Since he knows football and 14-year-old-kids, he decided to combine the two to create his debut novel, Teen Ref: A Good “No Call,” which highlights a young boy aspiring to play Ivy League football until a concussion hinders his plans.

From that point on, writing was like daily exercise for Struzziero: Setting little goals and deadlines for himself, Struzziero wrote approximately 1,000 words each day. Writing before his two daughters got up in the morning and at night when the house was quiet, Struzziero completed his book. Aside from one long break (when he reached out to his younger sister for support), the writing process was enjoyable for him.

Struzziero sent his novel to 109 publishers and was accepted by one: Morgan James. Struzziero is currently promoting his novel, and he is considering writing a second book.  

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