Victoria Terenzi loved to go the distance.
Whether it was helping students during her 31 years as a Long Island teacher, raising money for charity, running races, horseback riding or fighting the breast cancer that ultimately took her life, friends and loved ones say Terenzi did everything the same way — with strength, devotion and a graceful smile.
Terenzi died July 20 at age 53 at her home in Cold Spring Harbor.
“She kept her spirits high — always,” said her husband, Christopher Terenzi. “She never wore her illness on her sleeve, never used it as an excuse. She just soldiered on. She was very tough.”
The couple met at a party in 1982 while students at the University of Denver; they married on Sept. 26, 1987, in Syosset, her husband said.
Joe Monastero, vice principal at Cold Spring Harbor Junior/Senior High School where Victoria Terenzi taught social studies for 18 years, said she was passionately devoted to her career.
From chaperoning students on their annual trip to Washington, D.C., to encouraging children to use laptops and audio in class presentations, Monastero said Terenzi always went the extra mile to help students reach their potential.
“She was someone who always gave her all and who was always there for the kids,” Monastero said. “She was never negative, always positive.”
Jen Calogero of Huntington, who teaches special education at Walt Whitman High School in Huntington Station, said Terenzi inspired her to pursue her career and mentored her while completing a master’s in education at Fordham University.
“She really took on this role of helping me be confident. She took me under her wing. She was just incredible and so positive,” Calogero said.
When she wasn’t teaching, Terenzi loved to ride horses with her daughter, Samantha, at the Lloyd Harbor Equestrian Center at Caumsett State Historic Park.
Diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005, Terenzi in 2007 created The Pink Ponies, a running group for the Susan G. Komen Foundation that has raised almost $20,000 for cancer research, her family said.
“For the past 10 years, she suffered a lot, but nobody would know it,” Christopher Terenzi said of his wife. “She was just like, ‘I’m going to live my life, I’m not going to let this slow me down or take away for my family and friends.’ She just was amazing.”
In addition to her husband and daughter, she is survived by a son, Taylor.
Memorial services will be held at 4 p.m. on Aug. 7 at Lloyd Harbor Equestrian Center at Caumsett State Historic Park in Lloyd Harbor.