Monthly Archives: January 2020

Mrs. Ellis Says Goodbye to RHS

Principal’s Secretary Mrs. Ellis (standing) in the office on her retirement day at RHS with Principal John Harrison and Sue O’Brien.

Alana Miller, Veritas Staff

January 31, 2020

 All good things must come to an end and so on Friday, Jan. 31, Rockland High School had to say goodbye to Mrs. Jane Ellis who is retiring after 32 years as the principal’s secretary at RHS.

In those 32 years Mrs. Ellis has seen many classes come and go through Rockland High and she was responsible for coordinating each graduation and senior awards ceremony that took place each year. She was secretary for five principals: A. Scott MacKinlay, James Kerrigan, Steven Sangster, Dr. Alan Cron and the present principal, Dr. John Harrison. In the many years that she has been here Mrs. Ellis said that she “was very fortunate that she was able to work with all of the great principals because they were awesome to work with.”

Dr. Harrison who has been principal for four years said that she taught him “most of my position. She has also given me a wealth of information about everything such as this job, helping with tasks, and she does everything with a sense of humor and patience.”

Reflecting on her retirement, she said she is sad that she will be leaving people she spends every week day with, but she also has a good feeling about it, saying she will now be able to enjoy more free time and also cherish all of the memories that she made with her coworkers.

Mrs. Ellis also said she is going to miss “all of the activities that happened in and around the office” with all of her coworkers and the students. Also, she added that she will miss “telling kids what’s on the ‘yummy lunch menu’ every morning over the loudspeaker during announcements.”

Mrs. Susan O’Brien, secretary of the general office, will be taking over for Mrs. Ellis.

We wish Mrs. Ellis the best in her retirement and thank her for all she has done for RHS over the years.

For profiles of both Mrs. Ellis and Mrs. O’Brien check the February issue of the Veritas!




Mat Bruzzese Takes First Place in Poetry Out Loud

From left: Mat Bruzzese, Kathleen Nee, Emilly Costa and Anabelle MacDonald. Veritas photo

January 28, 2020

Senior Mat Bruzzese came in first last night in the annual Poetry Out Loud contest held  at Rockland High School. His first place award enables him to move on to the Poetry Out Loud regional competition in Yarmouth in March.

Bruzzese was one of four contestants in the poetry recitation event. Sophomore Kathleen Nee came in second while freshmen Anabelle MacDonald and Emilly Costa shared the third place prize.

English Department head, Carol Cahill hosted the event in the lecture hall and congratulated all the students for their poetry recitations.  Each student recited two poems, one in each round of competition.

Students choose their poems from a library provided by the National Poetry Out Loud organization. A list of the students’ poems is below.

The three judges of the contestants included Karen Bonn, Bill Boyer, and Danny Bolton.The judges evaluated each student’s performance on physical presence, voice and articulation, dramatic appropriateness, evidence of understanding and overall performance. Accuracy scorer was RHS English teacher, Kendra Donovan.

Congratulations to Mat and to all the contestants.


Kathleen Nee – “The Tide Rises, the Tide Falls” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and “Abandoned Farmhouse” by Ted Kooser

Annabelle MacDonald – “Broken Promises” by David Kirby and “I Remember, I Remember” by Thomas Hood

Emilly Costa – “I Am Offering this Poem” by Jimmy Santiago Baca and “I heard a fly buzz when I died” by Emily Dickinson

Mat Bruzzese – “The Days Gone By” by James Whitcomb Riley and “Sweet Tooth” by Russel Edson

Clubs at RHS…It’s Not Too Late to Join

January 21, 2020

In the December 2019 issue of the Veritas print edition, students in the Journalism class reported on many of the clubs available to RHS students.

Even though we are half-way through the year, it’s not too late to join a club and, in fact, now may be a great time to re-energize the clubs with new members. If interested, speak to one of the advisors.  You can find the advisors of the various clubs here.

Here are some profiles of the clubs available at RHS. Click on the headline to read the full story. These stories can also be found under our Clubs Menu.

Is Club Participation Essential  to Getting into a Good College?

by Emilly Goncalves Costa, Veritas Staff

In our school system we were brought up thinking that we need to be involved in clubs and extracurricular activities in order to get into a good college.

Douglas Christiansen, the Dean of Admissions at Vanderbilt University, stated in an interview with College Express that colleges are looking for well-rounded students. ”What is more critical to the application is not how many activities and clubs a student is in, but, rather, what the student does as a member of the clubs and activities….What we like to see is how a student has changed his or her corner of the world through their actions, and how a student has grown personally through his or her participation.”

Click here to read the full story.

Rubik’s Cubers Encourage Students to Join

Cailey Larouco, Veritas Staff

December 2019

Rubik’s Cubers created this mosaic of Principal Harrison a year ago.

Interested in developing problem solving skills, 3D visualization and math skills? Well, the Rubik’s Cube Club might be the club for you.

Advised by Angela Armstrong, the head of the science department, the Rubik’s Cube Club is all about speed solving, building mosaics, and teaching students how to solve a cube.

For more about the Rubik’s Cube club click here.


IMAGES Art and Literary Magazine Welcomes Students to Submit Work

Ava Stetson, Veritas Staff

On sale at the Arts Festival. Check out Images Magazine at

Here at Rockland high school there is a club called Images. This organization is run by Chad Bigsby and Chris Neal, who are English teachers here at Rockland High School. The Images club has been going on for quite some time. Mr. Bigsby and Mr. Neal are very proud to be the advisors of this club, and they enjoy teaching the students to express their artwork.

There are many reasons why Mr. Bigsby and Mr. Neal wanted to continue this club, but the main reason is so that they can “spotlight writers and artists here at Rockland High school.” Images is welcoming all students to express themselves. 

At Images they publish a monthly webzine and also an annual award-winning print publication. They also run an open mic poetry reading at the Arts Festival held in April. There are many students in this club, but there is always room for more. Even if it is halfway through the year and you just gained interest in art or writing, you could join at any point of the year. 

The images club meets on a Tuesday after school in Room 232. Some people even decide to submit their poetry and short stories to They could also submit photos and illustrations. 

Astronomy Club Reaching for the Stars

Bonnie Gasdia, Veritas Staff

In 2018, Rockland High welcomed another club to the school, the astronomy club. If you enjoy stargazing, or want to learn how to use a telescope, then the astronomy club may be a good fit for you.

The idea of the club started when science teacher, Robert Murphy received a $3,000 grant last spring from the Rockland Education Foundation to purchase a telescope and develop an astronomy program for Rockland students.

Mr. Murphy said, “Part of the proposal was to develop a club that would make the telescope available not only to high school students but to elementary and middle school students in Rockland and provide them with opportunities to stargaze and learn about the stars and planets.”

According to Mr. Murphy, the quality of the Orion Opticalis makes it powerful enough to see the craters on the Moon and the rings of Saturn. Soon enough the students will have an opportunity to stargaze.

For more on the Astronomy Club click here.




Poetry Out Loud Scheduled for Jan. 27

January 24, 2020

Six RHS students are preparing for the annual Poetry Out Loud competition to be held on Monday, Jan. 27 at 7 p.m. in the RHS lecture hall.

This year the six students will compete for the honor of representing Rockland in the Regional Competition to be held in March.

They include: Kathleen Nee, Mat Bruzzese, Abigail Procter, Annabelle MacDonald, Emilly Costa, and Abby Moran.  Each student will recite one poem in two separate rounds of competition.  

More than a competition, the night will feature the opportunity to listen to poetry dramatically presented.  Each student has chosen their two poems based on the Poetry Out Loud catalog.  One poem must be from pre-20th Century.

Come support this year’s six Poetry Bulldogs on Monday night in the lecture hall!

Below are photos from last year’s event.



Unified Sports Program Part of Bulldog Nation

January 14, 2020

On Saturday, January 25th, the second annual Andrew Lawson Foundation Invitational tournament will take place at Boston Garden.  18 high school teams will face off in 9 basketball games over the course of the day to increase awareness of Special Needs athletics and raise money for the Andrew Lawson foundation. The foundation honors Andrew, who did not let his Down’s Syndrome prevent him from playing an active role in Norwell athletics.  He was also the driving force behind the South Shore Leagues’ robust Unified Sports program, which provides special needs students the chance to participate in athletics alongside their school mates.

Last year, the RHS boys basketball team played in the inaugural tournament.  This year, RHS was invited to submit a video talking about what the Unified Sports program brings to Bulldog nation.   The attached video will be played on the Garden jumbotron during this year’s tournament.

Fundraiser For Students Going To Guatemala

January 10, 2020

Students attending a service trip to Guatemala in April are encouraging students, staff and community members to clean out their closets for the New Year.

As a fundraiser, the group would like to collect 800 bags of clothing, shoes and soft accessories which would earn them approximately $2,000 toward their travel expenses.

Donations can be brought to the high school on Saturday morning, Jan. 18 between 9 and 11 am. The bags will then be transported to Savers in Hanover.

Melissa Shaughnessy, RHS Spanish teacher and one of the trip’s coordinators, says that this fundraiser has been successful in the past with 600 bags donated in one year.  For every 400 bags, the service learning group will earn $1,000.

The RHS group in Guatemala last year.

The service trip to Guatemala gives students the opportunity to help people who live in poverty. Through the organization Worthy Village students team up with other service workers and provide families with water filters, hygiene products and other materials to help improve their lives.

Senior Alyssa Patten went to Guatemala with the RHS group last year and is returning again this year.  She explained her reason for going back again this year. “Traveling down to Guatemala with the school and Worthy Village has truly made such an impact on my life. After returning home last year I immediately wanted to continue to make a difference and wanted to go back and help out more. I am so excited to be able to travel again this April.”

Alyssa Patten will be returning to Guatemala this year to work to help impoverished villagers by providing water filters. Tyler Johnson is on the right in this photo from last year’s RHS service trip.

Patten described the experience that has meant so much to her. “Seeing the faces on the families in Guatemala when we arrived with water filter systems changed me for the better. It showed me how much we truly take for granted here and how the littlest things make them so happy.”

She says that she is going back not only to “change more lives,” but also she said, “I get to go back and have my life changed for the better. I couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunity and am so excited to see what this group of students will do!”

Senior Lara Glennon will also be returning to Guatemala in April. She said, “I’m going back to Guatemala because the trip last year truly changed my life. While in Guatemala I was able to change so many people’s lives while also bettering myself by understanding parts of the world outside of my own and what I can do to make a difference.”

Glennon added,  “I’m so thankful I’m about to go again with RHS and help bring the same experiences I had to more students.”

To help out students with this fundraiser, bags of clothing can be brought in on Friday, Jan. 17 or on Saturday, Jan. 18.  Donors will receive one hour of community service per three bags.


Vaping Presentation for Parents on January 16


On Thursday, January 16 at 6 pm, Morissa Vital, program manager from the Southeast Tobacco-Free Community Partnership will speak to parents about vaping and nicotine addiction. The presentation will be mainly focused around the high school vaping epidemic. Morissa Vital will specifically address ways to prevent secondhand smoke, ways to help individuals quit nicotine and tobacco, along with helpful ways to prevent youth members from starting nicotine and tobacco products.

Parents deserve to be informed about the harmful impacts a high school social norm can induce. 20% of Massachusetts high school students report currently using e-cigarettes and vape pens, and 41% have tried them at least once (see attached flyer). As a generation, students and even parents are being exposed to toxic and harmful chemicals. Parents are encouraged to attend the presentation in order to raise awareness for themselves and their children.

A table representing Rockland Cares will also be available to visit on the night of the presentation. Rockland Cares is a community organization that provides information and support for individuals and families who suffer with addiction.

Both the presentation delivered by Morissa Vital and the Rockland Cares table are extraordinary steps the town of Rockland is taking in order to raise awareness about the dangers of nicotine and addiction. As a community, Rockland thanks everyone for their undivided support and commitment in hopes to make a difference.

If you have any questions please contact Freea Leahy, Director of Adjustment Counseling, at or call 781-871-8406.

We hope to see everyone there on January 16th!

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