Senior Awards Night Held on Friday, July 31


Ms. Kristen Walsh, Senior Class Advisor conducted the introductions of award winners at the Class of 2020 Academic and Athletic Award night held in the Veterans Memorial Stadium on Friday, July 31.  In her opening remarks she commended these students who had their end of year activities turned upside down because of the pandemic. She said they “have shown grace and resilience despite a challenging end of their high school career.”

Mathew Bruzzese, the Senior Class President, led the Pledge of Allegiance and then introduced  special guests including Ms. Jill Maroney, Ms. Jaime Hennessy, Ms.  Emily Davidson, Mr. Dan Biggins, Mr. Richard Phelps, Dr. Alan H. Cron, Superintendent and Ms. Colleen Forlizzi, Assistant Superintendent.

The awards program began with the presentation of the athletic awards by Mr. Gary Graziano, the Athletic Director.

First was a presentation to Maryellen Woodward, long-time administrative assistant in the athletic office who retired this year.  Mrs. Woodward, served in that capacity for over 30 years.  She was a familiar face at athletic events scoring, taking tickets and registering the results back in the office with the MIAA. Mr. Graziano said, “She did all she could for the kids of Rockland and made me look good. Happy well deserved retirement after 34 years!”

Following are the individual athletic awards and the winners:

Hannah Murphy serves up a winner.

The Woman’s Coaches Award is presented to a female student-athlete. This year’s award was presented to Hannah Murphy.

The Vicki Solari Award is awarded to the most inspirational female athlete. This year’s recipient was Stephanie Beatrice.

The John Bell Bulldog Award is presented to the female and male players who play over and above abilities. This year’s recipients were Taylor Anzivino and Zachary Belcher. 

The Louis Cifello Award is presented to the most inspirational male athletes. This year’s recipients were Dante Vasquez and Joseph Murray.

The Warren Najarian Bulldog Pride Awards recognizes the female and male athletes that never give up. This year’s recipients were Jessica DeMarco and Vitor SantosThe John Delorey Awards are presented to the female and male athletes who best exemplify sportsmanship. This year’s recipients were Maria Ciano and Michael Dutton. 

From left: Nick Cedrone, Maria Ciano, Tyler Johnson, Stephanie Beatrice and Melanie Harris after the awards ceremony on Friday night.

The Charles E. Leverone Award is awarded to the top male and top female track or cross country runner. This year’s recipients were Tyler Johnson & Melanie Harris

The Senior Female Athletic Award is presented to the top senior female athlete. This year’s recipient was Caroline Elie

The Peter J. Crowley Award is presented to the top senior male athlete. This year’s recipient was Dante Vasquez. 

Caroline Elie and Hannah Wyllie shared the Marion Mansfield Donovan Award for top scholar-athlete.

The Marion Mansfield Donovan Award is awarded to the top female student-athlete. This year’s recipients were Caroline Elie and Hannah Wyllie

The Joseph Dondero Award was awarded to Tyler Johnson in recognition of being the top male student-athlete.

The Dr. Joseph Dunn Award is awarded to the top student-athlete and football player. This year’s recipient was Owen Shea.

Owen Shea

The Silver Bowl Winner was Owen Shea.

Ms. Walsh then introduced the following students who received cords for graduation to reflect their future military service.

Jahri Francis- United States Air Force, Gabriel Fiorot-United States Air Force, Jamille Araujo Soares- United States Marines, Robert Whitman- United States Army

Next were special academic awards:

The RHS  Journalism Student Newspaper Award is presented to an outstanding senior who has demonstrated a commitment to the RHS Veritas. This year’s recipient was Arianna Esposito. 

The Senior Academic Letters for Excellence in Education are awarded to students who have been on the honor roll for six consecutive terms or a total of ten terms while a student at Rockland High School. This year’s recipients were Taylor Anzivino, Mia Comeau, Pierre Comeau, Haley Cotton, Jillian Dorney, Lara Glennon, Nicolle Gudiel Winter, Erin Kearns, Kyle Lenihan, and Danting Zhu.

Nicole Guidel Winter, Melyssa Almeida and Jessie DeMarco back in November at another award ceremony.

The Community Service Awards are given to students who have demonstrated a diversity of service, completed a minimum of 75 hours of completed service, and completed the majority of their service in Rockland. This year’s recipients were Melyssa Almeida, Maria Ciano, Nicolle Gudiel Winter, and Danting Zhu

This next recognition was to seniors who earned high honors the first three terms. This year’s senior who received High Honors the First Three Terms  were Melyssa Almeida, Jad Bendakarwi, Kathryn Buckley, Tyler Gambon, Tyler Johnson, and Julia Yeadon. 

The Phoenix Award is presented to the senior who has persevered despite many obstacles and challenges.  This year’s recipient was Jordan Delorey.

The Ann E. Phelps Make a Difference Award was presented by Mr. Richard Phelps in honor of his wife, Ann E. Phelps who passed away on July 8, 2017.   Mrs. Phelps worked at RHS as the head nurse from 1986-2003. In addition to being an outstanding nurse, Ms. Phelps was instrumental in  organizing Senior Issues,  the Academic Awards Ceremony, and Retirement Parties. Ann was also the founder of Rockland Holiday Magic back in 2003 and the program continues to this day, helping hundreds of families in need during the holiday season. Ann was regarded as a faculty member who truly made a difference in the lives of our students and families. The recipient of the Ann E. Phelps Make a Difference Award this year is Hannah Wyllie.

Maddie Gear

Ms. Walsh recognized two seniors who have held leadership positions in the Travel Club. President Maddie Gear and vice president Tyler Johnson were honored for their outstanding commitment to providing leadership in preparation for and while traveling to Japan and Central Europe, as well as representing Rockland High School and their community proudly.

The Senior Academic Achievement Awards are presented in each discipline. These students received a plaque to acknowledge their outstanding accomplishments. 

Bryce Taylor received one of the Art Awards.

Ms. Kata Medeiros of the RHS Art Department presented the Senior Art Award to Bryce Taylor and Krystal LaFrance.

 The Outstanding Scholarship in English Language Arts Award is presented to two graduating seniors who have excelled academically in English Language Arts classes, are in good standing in both the school and the community, and demonstrate characteristics and attributes determined by the English Language Arts faculty

Ms. Kendra Donovan presented the English Department Award to Lara Glennon.

The Outstanding Scholarship in History and Social Science Award is presented to two graduating seniors who have excelled academically in History/Social Science classes, are in good standing in both the school and the community, and demonstrate the characteristics and attributes determined by the History/Social Science faculty.

Mr. Rich MacAllister presented the History and Social Studies Department’s Award to  Nick Cedrone.

The Mathematics Department Award goes to the senior who is among the top mathematics students at Rockland High School and is a leader in the classroom.   Mr. Casagrande, Math department chair presented the award to Melyssa Almeida.

The Family and Consumer Science Award is in recognition of students who displayed the highest level of: team-oriented enthusiasm, attention to time management and organization, outstanding leadership, exemplary respect for safety, and excellent skills. Mrs. Brenda Folsom presented the awards to Philip Pattison and Michaela Sugrue.

The Construction Technology Award recognizes students that display a high level of knowledge and safety in Wood Technology. These students have dedication and hard work in order to get the work complete. The Technical Department  award was presented to Pierre Comeau by Mrs. Folsom.  

Kyle Lenihan

The Physical Education Department went to two students who are academic athletes: Kyle Lenihan and Hannah Murphy. These students take pride in everything that they participate in both on and off the playing field.  They are the students who do not think twice about helping and supporting all aspects of health and wellness.

The Senior Music Department Awards are presented to students who have demonstrated outstanding musicianship, a strong personal work ethic, dependability, and dedication to the Rockland music department. Dr. Harrison presented the Music Department’s Awards to Adam Dalton and Kayla Mantell.

The Communication Digital Media/Journalism award is presented to students who have contributed significantly to the RHS in-house media arms, including the Veritas and WRPS.   Awardees possess the ability to communicate to their peers and others through various media platforms and understand the crucial role media play in our culture and lives. The Communication and Digital Media Department presented its award to Stephanie Beatrice. 

Ms. Angela Armstrong, the Science Department Head,  presented the following Science Department Awards.

Environmental Club – (marimo ball) were presented to Jad Bendarkawi, Mathew Bruzzese, Ashley Gallagher, Tyler Gambon, Elizabeth McGaffigan, Dhruvi Patel, Oliver Reera, Zachary Webb and Hannah Wyllie

Also,  Zachary Webb and Hannah Wyllie received the Computer Science Award; Robert Whitman received the Engineering Award and the Science Award was given to Maria Ciano and Dhruvi Patel

Senior Julia Yeadon at the NHS Induction on Thursday.  She was honored on Friday too!!

Ms. Shaughnessy, World Language Department chair presented that department’s award to Julia Yeadon. She explained that one of the main goals in the World Language department is expanding the horizons of our students to new cultures and diversifying their language learning. This award recognizes a senior who has far exceeded obligations and expectations in the Spanish classroom,  making a conscious effort every class to use as much of the target language as possible and welcoming risk-taking in their communication. 

The following multi-award recipients were:  

Joseph Messier

Joseph Messier– Health & Construction Technology

Tyler Johnson– History & Social Science & Mathematics

Jad Bendarkawi

Jad Bendakarwi– English & World Language

The Overall Academic Achievement Award was presented to Tyler Gambon.  

Matthew Bruzzese at the Mr. Rockland contest last fall. Bruzzese received the Principal’s Award at the Senior Awards ceremony.

Dr. Harrison presented the Principal’s Award to Mathew Bruzzese, saying, “It gives me great pride to present this year’s Principal Award to you this evening. Each year the Massachusetts Secondary School Administrator’s Association Student Achievement Award– known as the Principal’s Award is presented to an outstanding senior who has impacted our community significantly. The recipient of this award tonight is someone who I am very proud of. He has led with an open-mind, aspires to include all students, and has a natural kindness that leads us all to gravitate toward this senior. 

Tyler Gambon was recognized as Class Valedictorian.

Dr. Cron then joined Dr. Harrison to present  the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendent’s Academic Excellence Award to the Valedictorian of the Class of 2020, Tyler Gambon. The Valedictorian Award is given to the student with the highest grade point average at the conclusion of senior year and described Gambon, in addition to being a top academic student, as a person who has  an admiration for his classmates and community.  



Dr. Harrison as a new faculty member in 2016.  photo by Maddie Gear

Gambon then presented the yearbook dedication to Principal John Harrison.  Dr. Harrison’s bond with this class runs deep as his first year as principal at RHS in 2016-2017 was also the first year for the Class of 2020 in the high school!   The events of this year and Dr. Harrison’s efforts to provide a fitting and safe closure to the seniors’ high school experience have solidified this bond. Dr. Harrison’s caring nature, good humor,  attention to detail, and attendance at all the school’s academic and athletic events are beyond compare.  


Posted on August 3, 2020, in Features, News. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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