I’ve been slowly working my way through Cervantes’s 1605 masterpiece “Don Quixote.”
If you’ve not read the novel you will of course be familiar with the wondrous Broadway smash “Man of La Mancha” upon which it’s based.
All great masterpieces are multi layered and chock full of wisdom and Don Quixote is no exception.
One of reasons this book is precious is because it highlights the value of friendship. There was never a pair quite as endearing as Don Quixote and his pal Sancho Panza.
They both traveled the countryside in search of wrongs to right and damsels in distress.
All this by way of introducing you to my best friend, a local resident and one of the most experienced Spanish tutors on Long Island, William D. Cullen.
Willie and I sat last weekend at Hildebrandt’s, eating our BLT’s, sipping our French onion soup as we explored both his life and his work as a Spanish tutor.
I grew up playing golf with Willie at Hempstead Golf and Country Club where we both spent idyllic days playing golf and spending our parent’s money.
His family was deep in the financial industry and thus money was not a problem. Thank goodness.
Mr. Cullen went to Chaminade High School and then Fairfield University where he majored in Spanish and economics.
He went on to get an MBA in economics and a MA in Spanish at Adelphi University.
In other words he’s well educated.
He taught Spanish at the prestigious Moore Catholic High School on Staten Island where notables such as actress Jennifer Esposito graduated.
He also taught at St. Dominic’s High School in Oyster Bay where he taught alongside the Rev. Kevin Dillon of St. Aidans.
I asked him about his tutoring business and who are his clients.
He told me that the majority of his students are from homes that are committed to academic success and often from private schools like Chaminade, Bishop Kellenberg or Friends Academy.
He said that to learn a second language the one to one attention afforded by tutoring is often essential and virtually guarantees that the student’s grades improve.
He typically works with youngsters from seventh grade and up and told me that in today’s competitive world the more sophisticated parents understand that extra tutoring is now an essential part of academic development.
I was surprised to learn that his clients also include adults. Many physicians will seek tutoring in Spanish for themselves or their staff because so many patients now are Hispanic.
In addition the more astute travelers planning trips to Spain will also seek him out to brush up on their Spanish language skills, thereby insuring a more safe and enjoyable time overseas.
He also told me that his favorite book was Don Quixote the novel I am currently reading but he added that he read it in Spanish.
Naturally. I don’t know in our friendship which of us is Don Quixote and which is Sancho Panza but I do know that I am lucky to have him as my friend and that Williston Park is lucky to have someone as caring and as experienced as William D. Cullen to tutor our children.
So if your child needs some help with Spanish or if you’re planning a trip to Spain in the near future give him a call.
His number is (516) 509-8174.
He is one of the finest and most experienced Spanish teachers on Long Island and like Don Quixote he is more than ready to right the unrightable wrongs that your child happens to be committing to the Spanish language.