Monthly Archives: June 2019

Getting Cool with Summer Reading

June 11, 2019  

Jasmin Morse, Veritas Editor-in-Chief

RHS Principal John Harrison and the RHS staff are promoting the new summer reading program. With the new program, you may choose a book from the list and then complete a Photo Essay Prompt (see below).  You can then submit your thoughtful and complete photo essays in September and you will be considered for Bulldog prizes!

Beyond the prizes is the benefit of reading which RHS teachers and administration encourage students to continue to do over the summer.  Gabriella Gambon who is going into her sophomore year sees the benefits of reading during the summer.  She said, “I think that it helps me keep my brain thinking when I’m not in school.”  Her brother Tyler, who will be a senior and taking four AP courses, also sees the benefits. He said, “It’s beneficial because it keeps us engaged.”  He added, “This year I like that it is optional since many of us already have summer work for AP.”

Photo Essay Prompt:

In each novel, characters triumph over adversity to find and define their own sense of community. In a photo essay, show what you define as a community and relate it to a conflict or character within the book you chose.

The photo essay should have a minimum of 5 photographs with notations. The purpose of the photo essay assignment is to allow you to express your reaction to an essay prompt through visuals. Notations should only be one sentence long and can be in the form of a question or comment about their image. Completed photo essays should be emailed to Mr. Harrison ( by September 3, 2019.  

Here is an example of a completed photo essay provided by Mr. Harrison

In addition to selecting one of the summer reading selections below, don’t forget to complete any additional summer homework assignments that you have been assigned for Honors or Advanced Placement courses.

Here are the choices for summer reading!

The Cut Out Girl by Bart van Es is an astonishment, a deeply moving reckoning with a young girl’s struggle for survival during World War II, a story about the powerful love of foster families but also the powerful challenges, and about the ways our most painful experiences define us but also can be redefined, on a more honest level, even many years after the fact. A triumph of subtlety, decency and unflinching observation, The Cut Out Girl is a triumphant marriage of many keys of writing, ultimately blending them into an extraordinary new harmony, and a deeper truth.

Please Stop Laughing at Me, author Jodee Blanco tells how school became a frightening and painful place, where threats, humiliation, and assault were as much a part of her daily experience as bubblegum and lip-gloss were for others. It is an unflinching look at what it means to be an outcast, how even the most loving parents can get it wrong, why schools struggle, and how bullying is often misunderstood and mishandled.


Us Against You by Fredrik Backman.  After everything that the citizens of Beartown have gone through, they are struck yet another blow when they hear that their beloved local hockey team will soon be disbanded. What makes it worse is the obvious satisfaction that all the former Beartown players, who now play for a rival team in Hed, take in that fact. Amidst the mounting tension between the two rivals, a surprising newcomer is handpicked to be Beartown’s new hockey coach. Bringing this team together proves to be a challenge as old bonds are broken, new ones are formed, and the enmity with Hed grows more and more acute.

The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez –  After their daughter Maribel suffers a near-fatal accident, the Riveras leave México and come to America. But upon settling in Delaware, they discover that Maribel’s recovery will not be easy. Every task seems to confront them with language, racial, and cultural obstacles.  At Redwood also lives Mayor Toro, a high school sophomore whose family arrived from Panamá fifteen years ago. Mayor sees in Maribel something others do not. But as the two grow closer, violence casts a shadow over all their futures in America.

Sing Unburied Sing by Jesmyn Warm – Jojo is thirteen years old and trying to understand what it means to be a man. His mother, Leonie, is an inconsistent presence in his and his toddler sister’s lives. When the children’s father is released from prison, Leonie packs her kids and a friend into her car and drives north to the heart of Mississippi and Parchman Farm, the State Penitentiary. At Parchman, there is another thirteen-year-old boy, the ghost of a dead inmate who carries all of the ugly history of the South with him in his wandering. He too has something to teach Jojo about fathers and sons, about legacies, about violence, about love.

Cape Verdean Blues by Shauna Barbosa– The speaker in Cape Verdean Blues is an oracle walking down the street. Shauna Barbosa interrogates encounters and the weight of their space. Grounded in bodily experience and the phenomenology of femininity, this collection provides a sense of Cape Verdean identity. It uniquely captures the essence of “Sodade,” as it refers to the Cape Verdean American experience, and also the nostalgia and self-reflection one navigates through relationships lived, lost, and imagined.

All We Ever Wanted by Emily Griffiin One photograph, snapped in a drunken moment at a party, entangles and changes the lives of two families: the Brownings and Volpes. As the image spreads like wildfire, the Windsor community is instantly polarized, buzzing with controversy and assigning blame.  At the heart of the lies and scandal, Tom, Nina, and Lyla are forced together—all questioning their closest relationships, asking themselves who they really are, and searching for the courage to live a life of true meaning.

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing  by Hank Green –Coming home from work at three a.m., twenty-three-year-old April May stumbles across a giant sculpture. Delighted by its appearance and craftsmanship, April and her friend Andy make a video with it, which Andy uploads to YouTube. The next day April wakes up to a viral video and a new life. Now April has to deal with the pressure on her relationships, her identity, and her safety that this new life brings.  


Educated by Tara Westover – Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her “head-for-the-hills bag”. Lacking any formal education, Tara began to educate herself. She taught herself enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University, where she studied history, learning for the first time about important world events like the Holocaust and the civil rights movement. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.

Fish In A Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt – Ally has been smart enough to fool a lot of smart people. Every time she lands in a new school, she is able to hide her inability to read by creating clever yet disruptive distractions. She is afraid to ask for help; after all, how can you cure dumb? However, her newest teacher Mr. Daniels sees the bright, creative kid underneath the trouble maker. With his help, Ally learns not to be so hard on herself and that dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of. As her confidence grows, Ally feels free to be herself and the world starts opening up with possibilities. She discovers that there’s a lot more to her—and to everyone—than a label, and that great minds don’t always think alike.

**Please note summaries are courtesy of GoodReads.

Accessing Summer Reading Books:

Check with Rockland Memorial Library! Here is a link to their catalog so you can see what is available.

Most of the books are accessible in digital format from Boston Public Library. Register for an ecard to rent the digital copy.

Once you have registered, search for the title you’d like to read at the Boston Public Library website. If there’s a waitlist for the book, fret not! There are multiple copies so the book should be available soon. Simply sign up for the waitlist at the beginning of the summer, then you will be notified when the book is yours to read.

Have a great summer everyone!


Underclassmen Academic Awards Night June 5, 2019

June 11, 2019

Underclassmen were recognized on Weds. June 5 at the annual awards night. Following is a list of the award recipients.

National Leadership Award (formerly I Dare You Award) – Madeline Gear 

Rensselaer Medal Scholarship Award – Mathematics and Science – Tyler Gambon

High Honors Three Terms This Year: Grade 11 – Jad Bendarkawi, Kathryn Buckley, Julia Yeadon; Grade 10 – Cullen Rogers; Grade 9 – Ngan Nguyen 

St. Michael’s College Book Award  Tyler Johnson, Hannah Wyllie

Academic Excellence Certificates and Academic Letters:

Juniors: Sean Belmonte, Nicolle Ligia Gudiel Winter, Bryce Taylor

Sophomores:  Jared Allen, Devin Cavicchi, Julia De Lima, Gianna Gervasi, Grace Henry, Bridget Hughes, Robert Ivil III, Chloe Jones, Russell Jones, Ann Kelley, Alexxys MacDonald, Joseph Nguyen, Althea Olsen, Cullen Rogers, Zachary Solomon

 Leadership Awards

Boys State – Tyler Gambon, Mathew Bruzzese       

Girls State – Kathryn Buckley, Nicolle Ligia Gudiel Winter                          

Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership Award  Nijaya Oehlschlagel 

Mass STAR Youth Leadership Award – Grace Henry

RHS Global Ambassador Program Award – Madeline Gear 

Academic Achievement Awards


Gr. 10  Rebecca Killion  

Gr. 11. Lydia McWilliams, Bryce Taylor


Gr. 9  Grace Condon

Gr. 10 Damon Welles

Gr. 11 Oliver Reera


Gr. 10 Mariana O’Connor

Gr.   11  Erin Kearns


Gr.9. Emilee Scannell

Gr.10. Cullen Rogers

Gr.11. Lara Glennon


Gr.9.  Victoria Crowley, Julia Elie

Gr. 10  Beatriz Quirino, Thorn Annis

Gr. 11  Jason Sahn, Lauren Buker


Gr.9. Leah Leonard, Maria Pala

Gr.10 Julia De Lima

Gr. 11 Kathryn Buckley


Gr.9. Abigail Spengler

Gr.10. Hissam Dubois

Gr.  11 Kerin Dalton


Gr. 9 Skyler Hitchcock


Gr.9. Olivia Jones

Gr.11. Caroline Elie


Gr.9  Kathleen Nee, Ngan Nguyen

Gr. 10 Zachary Solomon, Emily Gaboriault

Gr. 11  Philip Pattison, Haley Nee


Gr. 10 Allison Whitman, Nicholas Leander 

Gr.11. Mia Comeau


Gr.9. Jordan Stec, Kevin Matos Donorato Soares Campos

Gr. 10 Jonah Pishkin

Gr. 11 Madeline Gear, Rachel Spano


Gr. 11 Jacob Willis


Gr.9.  multi-winners

Gr. 10   multi-winners

Gr. 11   multi-winners


Gr.9. William Maynard-Pimentel, Max Huggins

Gr. 10 Patrick Moriarty, Thomas McSweeney

Gr. 11 Vitor Santos, Joseph Murray


Gr.9. Ava LaBollita: English, World Language/French, History/Social Science

Ramzey Youssef:   Mathematics, History/Social Science

Callie Gillan: Art, Health

Gr. 10   Althea Olsen: English, Science 

Jared Allen:  World Language/French, History/Social Science

Russell Jones: Mathematics, History/Social Science

Devin Cavicchi: World Language/Spanish, Mathematics

 Gr. 11 Tyler Johnson: English, Mathematics

Tyler Gambon: World Language/Spanish, History/Social Science

Nicolle Ligia Gudiel-Winter:World Language/French, History/Social Science

Owen Shea: Physical Education, Pre-Engineering/Robotics


Grade 9.  Monalisa Almeida

Grade 10    Ann Kelley

Grade 11    Jad Bendarkawi  


Hall of Fame Video 2019

WRPS video from Hall of Fame Induction, June 5, 2019

The inductees were Elizabeth Damon Beecher- Class of 1942,  Steven R. Magoun – 1984 and Leeza Connor Desjardins – Class of 1987.

Congratulations to our RHS Hall of Famers for 2019!

Hall of Fame Inducts Three Alumni

From left: Leeza Connor Desjardins, Elizabeth “Betty” Damon Beecher and Steven R. Magoun were inducted into the Academic Hall of Fame on June 5, 2019.

June 6, 2019

Last night three alumni were inducted into the Rockland High School Academic Hall of Fame. The ceremony took place before the annual Underclassmen Academic Awards presentations.

First to be recognized was Elizabeth Damon Beecher, a 1942 graduate of Rockland High School. Beecher, now 95 years old, was an honor roll student at RHS.  She became a nurse after she graduated and trained at the Massachusetts Memorial Hospital School of Nursing in Boston. When President Franklin Roosevelt created the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps in July, 1943 to quickly train new nurses after most of the nation’s registered nurses were sent overseas following the attack on Pearl Harbor, she was one of 180,000 women who enlisted. Beecher described these cadet nurses as the youngest and largest group of uniformed women to serve during wartime. Beecher served from 1943-1945 at public health service marine hospitals on Staten Island and in Boston, caring for wounded Coast Guard and Merchant Marine servicemen with head injuries and loss of limbs.

She credited her teachers in Rockland, including the school nurse and her junior high principal for inspiring her to follow her dream to become a nurse.  Still active, Beecher is now working with U.S. Senate leaders to pass a bill that will give the Cadet Nurses veteran status and benefits.

Second to be inducted was Steven R. Magoun – Class of 1984.  Magoun  is a computer software entrepreneur. At RHS he was a member of the National Honor Society.  After graduation, he went on to Northeastern University where he studied in the Khoury College of Computer and Information Sciences. He graduated in 1989 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science along with a minor in business. While at Northeastern, he did a co-op with the Boston Police Department and designed a computer software system that automated the department’s records.  At the time the Boston Herald called him the “whiz kid” for his computer coding work.

While still a student at NU he started his own computer company called Softcode Inc.  Softcode is now affiliated with Tyler Technologies, the largest software company in the country that focuses solely on computer systems for the public.

The third inductee was Leeza Connor Desjardins – Class of 1987,  an  art teacher at Nonnewaug HS in CT.  At RHS Desjardins was active in many clubs and sports such as softball, cheerleading and the Volunteers in Peer Service.  She received her degrees in art education from the University of Hartford’s Hartford Art College and the University of Southern Connecticut.

During her 25+ years as an art teacher. her students have won many awards for their art work.  Desjardins has also won many awards for her teaching. Most impressively, in 2018 Desjardins received the 2018 Connecticut Art Education Association’s Secondary Art Teacher of the Year and the Association’s Art Teacher of the Year for the State of Connecticut.  Desjardins credited her former art teachers at RHS, Donna Rossetti-Bailey and the late Pat Isaac for giving her the passion for art and for teaching art.

The Academic Hall of Fame was established in 1988 by then Guidance Director, Joseph Waisgerber. In the first “class” were astronaut Brian Duffy and author George Higgins.  With last night’s inductees the Hall of Fame now has 98 members.   Nominations for the Hall of Fame can be made by sending information to Assistant Principal Kathy Paulding at Rockland High School.


Tennis and Lacrosse Teams All Get First Round Tournament Wins

Each of four spring teams won their first round MIAA tournament games this week.  Softball takes the field on Thursday hoping to make it five.

Tyler Beatrice warms up before a match during the regular season. Veritas photo

On Monday, the boys tennis team, in its first tournament since 1983, opened up at home with a 4-1 over Bishop Connolly.  Tyler and Adam Beatrice, John Ellard and doubles team of Jake Harris and Olivier Reera all won their matches.  The boys head into the quarterfinal round on Friday against the winner of today’s Dover-Sherborn vs. St. John Paul II match.  The time and place will be determined.  Rockland is seeded #8 in the tournament with its 12-4 regular season record.

On Tuesday, June 4, three teams got wins as the girls tennis,  girls lacrosse and boys lacrosse teams all won their first round games at home.

The girls tennis team enjoy Dairy Queen after their first tournament win! Twitter photo

The girls tennis team is seeded 5th in Division 3 South with a 14-3 record. They swept #12 St. John Paul II 5-0 in their first round match.  They will now go up against Sturgis West on Thursday, June 6 at Cape Cod Community College at 4 pm in the quarterfinal round.

Maddie Blonde in a game against W-H. Ledger photo

The girls lacrosse team played in the stadium at 6 pm against league rival Abington and came away with a 12-2 victory, their first ever tournament win! First year goalie Amelia Dalton played well in net. Rockland goals were scored by Flaherty(2) Blonde(4) Burns (2) and one each from Tsiantoulas, McSweeney, Rich, Gormley and Jones!   The girls team is seeded 6th in Division 2 South with a regular season record of 13 wins and 3 losses.  The girls will play the winner of Cohasset vs. Old Colony RVT on Saturday at a location and time to be determined.

Evan Gormley in the game against Monomoy. Enterprise photo by Marc Vasconcellos

The boys lacrosse team defeated Monomoy in the stadium by a score of 12-5.  Rockland is seeded 8th in Division 3 South and will now take on #1 Norwell who are 17-1 in the quarterfinals at Norwell on Friday, June 7. According to the Patriot Ledger Evan Gormley and Lucas Leander led the offense while Cam Ryan,Mike Dutton, Nick Leander, Owen Shea and Mark Sprague played great games.

Michaela Bruno will be pitching on Thursday when the softball team plays Rising Tide in a first round tournament game at home. Veritas photo

The girls softball team will open up their tournament run on Thursday June 7 at home. With a record of 14 wins and 4 losses, the girls are seeded #6 in Division 3 South.  They will play #11 Rising Tide at 4 pm.  Michaela Bruno, Ariana Pelletier and Molly Grass will lead the way for the Lady Dogs softball team.

Ms. Lanigan Will Study Peace and Conflict Resolution in Sweden

May 28, 2019

Jasenia Cuocolo and Arianna Esposito, Veritas Staff

Ms. Amanda Lanigan will be taking a leave of absence to attend Uppsala University in Sweden. photo by Arianna Esposito.

History teacher, Amanda Lanigan, is setting off on a new journey. This summer she is traveling to Sweden to earn a master’s degree in peace studies and conflict resolution at Uppsala University.  She was nominated for the opportunity by an area Rotary Club after she addressed that group about her work with Worthy Village in Guatemala.  For the past few years, RHS has sent students to Guatemala with Worthy Village to work with Guatemalans and help teach about hygiene and water filtration.

Part of her studies will be spent on an internship in another country putting what she has learned into action.

After her two years in Sweden, Ms Lanigan hopes to take her knowledge and apply it to everyday conflicts.  “There’s lots of conflict in the world, so I’m sure I’ll be able to find somewhere to use it.”

She says she will miss her students during her leave of absence and has received cards from a few. She confesses, “It hasn’t really hit me yet, but when I start cleaning out my classroom I’ll probably start to get sad.”

After her two years in Sweden, Ms. Lanigan will return to RHS.  She says, “I hope to apply what I’ve learned in Rockland and to be a better educator.”

Uppsala University in Sweden will be Ms. Lanigan’s home for the next two years.


Graduation 2019

The Class of 2019 tosses their caps up at the end of the ceremony on Friday night.


June 4, 2019

At 7 p.m. on Friday May 31,  122 members of the Class of 2019 received their diplomas at Veterans Memorial Stadium.  Class President John Ellard III first introduced Melissa Shaughnessy, the guest faculty speaker.  Next, Ellard who is also Valedictorian of the class, gave his remarks to the class.

Principal John Harrison then addressed the class and the crowd before announcing the Citizens’ Scholarship awards to individual members of the class.  The awards amounted to a total of  $133,000.

Abigail Condon next presented the class gift to the school.  Mathew Bruzzese, president of the junior class, accepted the gift of a new hydration station for the second floor of the high school.

Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Alan Cron and School Committee Chair JIl Maroney then addressed the class before the presentation of diplomas by Guidance Director Margie Black and Maroney.

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