Monthly Archives: April 2022

Spellman Oratorical Contestants Explore “The Other”

KODAK Digital Still Camera

April 14, 2022

The annual Spellman Oratorical Contest was held on Wednesday evening, April 13 in the lecture hall.

This year eight seniors presented their essays on the question of how literature and art explore the experience of otherness and thus provoke a reevaluation of biases and perceptions in the process.

The Spellman Oratorical contest provides not only the opportunity for seniors to explore important aspects of art and literature but also distributes prize money which each year is given by the Ellen Conway Spellman Foundation to the winners of the essay/oratorical contest.

This year Ava LaBollita received the grand prize of $1200 for her essay which discussed the otherness of the characters in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Out of My Mind.  Her essay also encouraged people to read literature in order to break down walls.  “Exploring otherness will help expose previous biases toward those different from us and also bring us closer together… we can also get one step closer to understanding the experience of the other.”

In second place was Olivia Jones who received $1000 for her speech which focused on the characters in “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” and the screenplay Legally Blonde.

Third place ($700) went to Kathleen Nee who explored the theme of otherness in Beowulf and Wicked.

Fourth place ($500) was won by Leah Leonard for her essay on the Lord of the Flies and The Kite Runner.

Fifth place ($300) went to Madison Smith.  She discussed two novels and one novella, “The Metamorphosis,” Farhrenheit 451 and The Giver.

Sixth, Seventh and Eighth place were awarded in no particular order to Dan O’Brien, Christa Pollard and Callie Gillan.  They received $100 each.  O’Brien spoke about The Lord of the Flies and Othello; Pollard’s thesis concerned the need to read works by authors who themselves are “others” such as Zora Neale Hurston who wrote Their Eyes Were Watching God; Gillan’s essay focused on Boo Radley in To Kill a Mockingbird. and on Jay Gatsby in The Great Gatsby.

English teacher Chris Neal was the master of ceremonies. He introduced each contestant and the judges who included Karen Bonn, Steve Waisgerber and Christina Kelly who are all RHS graduates.  Contestants were judged on delivery, content, diction and poise.  The essays were between 500-1000 words and were chosen out of a larger pool of submissions.  The contest is open to any RHS senior.

Monalisa Almeida was also chosen as a finalist but she was not able to attend the contest on Wednesday night.

Congratulations to all who participated!

Here is the link to a video produced by WRPS:

Shrek the Musical gets great reviews

April 12, 2022

Nicole Cedrone, Veritas Editor in Chief

On Friday, March 25th, and Saturday, March 26th Shrek the Musical came to Rockland High School. The Rockland Drama Club mixed with middle and high school students worked extremely hard to put together this amazing performance.

The whole process took about 3 months to pull it all together. RHS has not been able to perform a musical in the past 3 years due to COVID. The last musical that was planned was Mary Poppins in 2020 but it was never performed.

About 400 people came to support the cast and crew each night of the show. The band, crew, and cast did a phenomenal job and deserved to have that many people come to see all their hard work. 

Mr. Steve Bergman, the new head of the drama club, and his family helped bring Shrek the Musical to life. Mr. Bergman was the musical director and played the keyboard throughout the performance; his wife was the director, and their daughter, Emily was the choreographer. All of them helped guide the students into their roles and made everything possible. In the past, Mr. Bergman has been involved in many theater productions and he found Shrek to be “a wonderful way to present a wide variety of stories to audiences.” 

Mr. Bergman states, “There can certainly be days when everyone is a little tired, which can cause people to become grumpy, not the character, during a rehearsal. However any time there appeared to be a stressful situation, those involved would talk it out, and the situation would calm itself down, to go on preparing the show.” 

Allyson Leary played the character Pinocchio. She has been a part of drama club for some time now and loves being able to showcase her musical talents. She said that she loved when the Bergmans took over the drama club and is excited about their new theater view. 

Allyson states, “The most exciting part of being in the musical was getting to work with the new directors and choreographers. They were all pleasures to work with and I can’t wait to work with them again next year.

The actors/actresses had to overcome many obstacles such as learning the songs and routines on time. Songs like “I am a Believer” and “Freak Flag” were crowd favorites. During “Freak Flag” the crowd was waving their flags to be a part of the show.

Senior Ngan Nguyen, was the fairy godmother and also performed ensemble roles. With this being her last performance opportunity she was glad she was able to pursue her theater dream. 

Ngan states, “Over the months, I was able to meet and know some of the most wonderful and amazing people and cast/crew I could ever ask for. Throughout the process and on the show we laugh, smile, and cry together. We all share some of the memorable and wonderful moments. I like to believe that this production brought people together and created wonderful and unforgettable friendships and memories.” 

With it being 3 years since RHS put on a musical it was well worth the wait! Great job everyone!

Here are photos courtesy of the Yearbook.  Click on one photo to start the gallery.

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