Author Archives: Althea Olsen

RHS Top Dogs 2021

Althea Olsen, Veritas Editor-in-Chief

Erin Gardner, Jessica Driscoll, Claudia Abouzeid and Lauren Draicchio with their Top Dog Awards!

Jessica Driscoll

Jessica was selected to travel to Guatemala on a service based trip where she would give dozens of Mayan indigenous people sustainable access to clean drinking water and teach health and hygiene workshops in indigenous communities. Jessica did not let the cancellation hinder her. She was the driving force behind organizing the gift wrapping efforts for the 2nd Annual Giving Tree! Jess came to school during her senior privilege time to wrap books and brought a bright and positive energy with her! Jessica is also a two sport athlete competing on the volleyball and lacrosse teams.  She is an incredibly kind-hearted and genuine young woman and I know that her future holds big things!

Erin Gardner

Erin was selected to travel to Guatemala on a service based trip where she would give dozens of Mayan indigenous people sustainable access to clean drinking water and teach health and hygiene workshops. Erin asked how she could contribute in addition to donating a book to the 2nd Annual Giving Tree. She came to school during her senior privilege time to wrap books! Erin has such a positive way of changing the world in which she lives and I’m sure her future will be impactful! Erin is a member of Student Government Council and competes on the lacrosse team. She also works at Southwood Nursing Home.

Claudia Abouzeid

Claudia Abouzeid is a senior who will be graduating in three years. Committed to her studies, Claudia knew early in her high school career she wanted to graduate early and then attend college to continue her studies. Claudia’s compassion and societal awareness is indicative of her depth as a person. She is enthusiastic and passionate about social justice. She is a kind, dedicated student, and her commitment to greater equality and fighting injustice makes me proud to have her as a student. She plans to study psychology.

Lauren Draicchio

Lauren Draicchio is a four year player of varsity  lacrosse and also serves as the team captain.   She has served as an executive and general  member of the student council, a freshman mentor as well as class president.  Lauren is a youth cheerleading junior coach and a youth basketball referee.  She plans to attend a four year college and major in nursing with hopes of becoming a Beyond Borders nurse, traveling to provide healthcare to less fortunate children and communities. Lauren was selected to travel to Guatemala on a service based trip where she would give dozens of Mayan indigenous people sustainable access to clean drinking water and teach health and hygiene workshops in indigenous communities. As soon as the second year of the Giving Tree book drive was announced, Lauren jumped at the opportunity to get involved and spread holiday cheer. Lauren came to school during her senior privilege time to wrap books. Lauren is a shining star and we know she will continue to impact her community during her next chapter!

Thank you Dr. Harrison, Ms. Kemp, and Ms. O’Brien for coordinating the event and the rewards given, and congratulations again to the RHS Top Dogs 2021.

RHS Top Dogs 2021

Top Dogs from Cohort B were recognized on Thursday Feb. 4. From left: Hannah Makarski, Zachary Solomon, Althea Olsen, Greta Russo, Anthony DiNino and Colin McKerrell. Not in picture: Hunter Wardwell. Cohort A Top Dogs will be recognized next week.

Feb. 4, 2021

Congratulations to the seniors who are Top Dogs for the Class of 2021! On Thursday, February 4, 2021 seniors from Cohort B  were announced as Top Dogs, and rewarded with chocolate, a t-shirt, and a framed picture. Below are the biographies of the 2021 Top Dog recipients from Cohort B.

Greta Russo:

Greta Russo is a member of the varsity soccer and lacrosse teams. She is also a student council executive board member as well as the president of the Massachusetts Association of Student Councils. She has partnered with volunteer work with the Special Olympics of Massachusetts and is a member of the National Honor Society. Greta plans to attend a four-year college majoring in either pre-med or environmental policy.

Hannah Makarski:

Hannah is a three-sport athlete who has participated in soccer, track, and basketball. She is a mentor of the Bulldog Buddy program, a freshman mentor as well as working in our unified gym classes. Hannah also volunteers her time with the Special Ed program in our preschool program. She plans to attend Merrimack College, major in health science, and become a respiratory therapist.

Althea Olsen:

Althea is the National Honor Society Secretary who has been the recipient of achievement awards such as the Science award and English award. She attended the Boston Leadership Institute for Surgical Research. She contributes positively to RHS by writing for the school newspaper, serving as a Freshman Mentor, and competing on the softball and swim teams. She gives back to the community by volunteering. She most recently organized a Magic School for neighbors with young children when the district shifted to fully remote.

Anthony DiNino:

Anthony DiNino has excelled as a student in the Pathways Program. He has connected with his peers within the program and has been an exceptional fundraiser for the Pathways Organization. He has excelled with customer service, working as a highly personable employee at the Dog Depot. He has also been an active participant in the Unified Sports Program, especially as one of the top performers on the soccer and basketball teams. Anthony brings a positive attitude, relentless work ethic, and cares greatly about other people and Rockland High School.

Zachary Solomon:

Zach is a National Honor Society student who has been actively involved in the Concert Band. He is a three-time recipient of the Music Achievement Award. He participated on the cross country team and swim team. Zach has shown an interest as a curious member of the astronomy club as well. Most impressive, Zach is an Eagle Scout. He completed a project this fall in which he cleaned out a messy closet filled with random marching music and built a shelving unit that matches pre-existing cabinets to store the marching music. The second part of his project was building a rolling cart that can store flipbooks for marching band and parade music, so students can easily store their music and keep it organized so it does not get lost. The final part of the project was emptying a storage unit that contained drama props, furniture, clothes, and equipment so he could build a big shelving unit.

Hunter Wardwell:

Hunter is a senior who has contributed significantly to the school’s athletic programs. He is a model student-athlete as he also takes his academics very seriously as an honors student. Hunter is a two sport varsity athlete competing on football and basketball teams. He is a captain, demonstrating exceptional leadership to younger teammates. In his free time, he volunteers as a Rockland Youth Football Coach.

Colin McKerrell:

Colin is an exceptional honor roll student who has been recognized as an AP Scholar with Honor. Athletically, Colin has participated in the wrestling and football teams. As a football player, Colin has been a leader on the team as a captain. Colin works part-time at Dairy Queen in Hanover as a food preparer.

The following seniors will be recognized next week and we will highlight their accomplishments at that time. Jessica Driscoll, Erin Gardner, Lauren Draicchio and Claudia Abouzeid.

Thank you Dr. Harrison, Ms. Kemp, and Ms. O’Brien for coordinating the event and the rewards given, and congratulations again to the RHS Top Dogs 2021.

 

Miss Rockland 2021

Althea Olsen, Veritas Editor-in-Chief

January 28, 2021

Congratulations to Hannah Makarski for winning Miss Rockland Class of 2021! The ceremony announcing this year’s Miss Rockland was held in the auditorium today and was streamed live at 9:15 am.  Parents attended and students could watch in their classrooms via a Google Meet link.

Below is Hannah’s biography.

Hannah is a three sport athlete who  has participated in soccer, track and basketball.  She is a mentor for the Bulldog Buddy program, a freshman mentor as well as working in our unified gym classes. Hannah also volunteers her time with our Special Ed program and our preschool program. She plans to attend Merrimack College, major in health science and become a Respiratory Therapist.

Congratulations to all of the nominees for Miss Rockland 2021 for your outstanding achievements and recognition! Below are the biographies of the nominees.

Greta Russo is a member of the varsity soccer and lacrosse teams. She is also a student council executive board member as well as the president of the Massachusetts Association of Student Councils. She has partnered volunteer work with the Special Olympics of Massachusetts and is a member of the National Honor Society. Greta plans to attend a four year college majoring in either pre-med or environmental policy.
Hannah Rich is a member of the varsity girls soccer team, serving as captain her senior year as well as the girls varsity lacrosse team, serving as captain her junior and senior years. She volunteers with the Freshman mentoring program and is a member of the National Honor Society. Hannah plans to attend a four year college and obtain her nursing degree and hopes to continue her education with a Masters of Nursing or as a Physicians Assistant. She aspires to become a pediatric nurse.
Miku Yoshioka is a member of the RHS swim and tennis teams and has held the position of class secretary, student council secretary and serves this year as the student council president. She also participated in the drama production of Marcus is Walking. She has participated in SEMASC and MASC through student government and has volunteered with Special Olympics, Walk for Hunger, Old Colony Center for Health and Rehabilitation and the Breast Cancer Walk. She also volunteers her free time at Mathnasium as a center directors assistant.  Miku plans to attend a four year college and major in Neurobiology and intends to become a physician.  

Gianna Gervasi has participated for four years with Rockland High School’s award winning State and New England State Championship Cheerleading team.  She has also been involved with student government and participated in Project Pumpkin as well as Unified Sports.  Gianna is a teacher and volunteer at Fashion Focus teaching young girls proper etiquette and confidence in themselves.  She plans to attend a four year university, major in math and education to pursue her goal as a secondary level Math teacher.

Lauren Draicchio is a four year player of varsity  lacrosse and also serves as the team captain.   She has served as an executive and general  member of the student council, a freshman mentor as well as class president.  Lauren is a youth cheerleading junior coach and a youth basketball referee.  She plans to attend a four year college and major in nursing with hopes of becoming a Beyond Borders nurse, traveling to provide healthcare to less fortunate children and communities.

Nominees and Miss Rockland are voted on by their Class of 2021 peers, based on their activities and contributions to the school and community of Rockland.

Once again, congratulations to all nominees and winner Hannah Makarski. Thank you Ms. White and Dr. Harrison for delivering the ceremony, and thank you Ms. Dunn for coordinating this event, and allowing it to happen.

Photos from today’s event are below.  Thank you Ms. Medeiros!

Here’s the Youtube video of the Miss Rockland ceremony.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uezk8laNKf0

 

 

2020-2021 School Year Begins With Safety Measures in Place

The school year has begun for RHS students.

 

Althea Olsen, Veritas Editor-in-Chief

Sept. 13, 2020

Although 2020 has been far from the social norm, the Rockland School district has worked diligently to deliver a safe plan for students to begin the school year. 

Even though the first day of school will be through the screen, Dr. Harrison believes remote learning will allow RHS students to “develop unique and advanced skills” due to these ongoing challenges they are facing. 

As far as the challenges of this new learning experience, Dr. Harrison advises, “We need you (students) to ask questions.” He added,”Students should “lean on and rely on their teachers” for help. Despite the different scheduling and academic approach, Harrison says that staff members “are not just ready, but excited.” 

In order to limit the number of students inside the building, RHS has divided students into cohorts (groups of students) A or B. Emails were sent to students with their assigned cohort. If a student is uncertain of their cohort, they can check online at Aspen X2, or call the RHS guidance office. 

Cohort A was the first to enter the building for orientation on Thursday, September 10 from 8-11:20 am, and cohort B was second on Friday, September 11 from 8-11:20 am. During orientation, students met their teachers for the school year, and were given a glimpse of the safety precautions put in place for when in school learning occurs.

While at orientation, students were excited to be in the building, despite the new changes. When asked about scheduling, some agreed they understood the new arrangements, while some were confused.

When it comes to safety, Dr. Harrison outlined four important safety rules everyone in the building should follow. In order of importance, his list is the following: 

  1. Wear a mask that covers both the nose and the mouth. 
  2. Sanitize always. Dr. Harrison expressed the RHS hand sanitizer as the “best around”. 
  3. If one is not feeling well, do not attend school. They will be given work to do remotely. 
  4. Remain socially distant (6 feet). Dr. Harrison knows this is the hardest one to follow, but he promises students will be able to feel as if they are socializing even with the precautions put in place. 

 

From a student’s perspective, the new way of learning is definitely a challenging change at times. Not being able to walk with friends in the hallway or socialize at the end of class is the biggest challenge for most.

Every student from RHS, regardless of their cohort, will begin remote learning together on Monday, September 14 and will continue until Wednesday, September 23. During this two week period, they will follow the schedule below. This schedule ONLY applies for the two weeks of combined cohort remote learning.

8:15-8:50 AM A Block
9:00-9:35 AM B Block
9:45-10:20 AM C Block
10:30-11:05 AM D Block
11:15-11:50 AM E Block
12:00-12:50 PM Lunch
12:50-1:25 PM F Block 
1:35-2:35 PM Office Hours

During office hours, students can schedule to seek extra help for their classes, or spend extra time with teachers. Dr. Harrison said that the new way of learning “is confusing,” but explains we should “rely on our teachers and make sure to ask questions.” Guidance will also be available to meet with students on a virtual basis. Academic and emotional support will be available for students no matter the circumstances. After school academic support will continue to be provided from 2:45 to 4:15 pm. It is still being decided if it will be remote or in person support. 

Beginning on September 28, the hybrid model will begin. Cohort A will begin in person learning, and cohort B will learn remote. Starting on the week of October 5, cohort B will begin in person learning, and cohort A will be remote. The two cohorts will switch every week from in person and remote learning. 

During the week of September 28, cohort A will follow the regular RHS scheduling for IN PERSON learning.

During the week of September 28, cohort B will have the following schedule for REMOTE learning:

Periods Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6
8:15-9:15 English (no class) English English English Math
9:25-10:20 Math Math (no class) Math History History
10:30-11:25 (no class) History History World language (no class) World language
11:35-12:25 Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch
12:35-1:30 World language World language Science Science Science (no class)
1:40-2:35 Science Student homework Student homework Student homework Student homework Student homework

On October 5, the two cohorts will switch learning methods and follow the scheduling that correlates with their way of learning for that week.

National Honor Society Induction 2020

President of National Honor Society, Senior Jad Bendarkawi, served as master of ceremonies for the NHS Induction. Five seniors and 10 juniors were inducted on July 30, 2020. Twenty-five seniors in all make up the roll of the NHS.

Dr. Harrison handed out certificates to seniors.

On July 30, 2020 at 7PM, Rockland High School inducted five seniors and ten juniors into the National Honor Society. Twenty five current senior members were also present at the ceremony, along with friends, family, and multiple staff members to support new and old members of the Society.

In order to deliver a safe induction, the number of guests were limited to immediate family only. Families along with students had to remain six feet apart throughout the induction, and all attendees were required to wear a face mask upon their attendance.

To start off the ceremony, previous and new members entered the stadium led by Jad Bendarkawi, the Class of 2020 National Honor Society president. After giving the pledge, Jad delivered an introduction of the National Honor Society, along with a history of the societies background. Following Jad’s speech, the class of 2020 secretary, Madeline Gear announced the senior roll call, to congratulate the members on their college acceptances. Following roll call, Virtues were presented by the following students:

Character: Zach Webb

Scholarship: Katy Buckley

Leadership: Tyler Gambon

Service: Julia Yeadon

Led by Jad, the new inductees recited a pledge in order to become members. Following the pledge, Jad presented the pins to the new inductees, and principal Dr. John Harrison presented certificates to all senior members.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, students, families, and faculty members had the opportunity for photos. Inductees were able to receive gifts from their sponsors, which could have been a faculty member, or an immediate family member that had attended the ceremony.

Senior Members (25)

Melyssa Almedia
Stephanie Beatrice
Jad Bendarkawi, President
Mathew Bruzzese, Treasurer
Katy Buckley
Maria Ciano
Kerin Dalton
Jessica DeMarco
Jillian Dorney
Caroline Elie
Tyler Gambon
Madeline Gear, Secretary
Nicolle Gudiel Winter
Melanie Harris
Tyler Johnson
Sarah McLellan
Sabrina Morgan
Dhruvi Patel
Alyssa Patten
Dakota Pike
Oliver Reera
Zachary Webb
Hannah Wyllie, Vice President
Julia Yeadon
Danting Zhu
 
Inductees
 
Class of 2020
Kerin Dalton
Melanie Harris
Sarah McLellan
Dhruvi Patel
Dakota Pike
 
Class of 2021 
Jared Allen
Grace Henry
Robert Ivil III
Chloe Jones
Ann Kelley
Althea Olsen
Hannah Rich
Cullen Rogers
Greta Russo
Zachary Soloman

 

COVID-19 Impact on Our Community

Empty halls at RHS.

Althea Olsen, Veritas Editor-in-Chief

March 17, 2020

Until April 7th, Rockland Public Schools will be closed in order to contain the ongoing crisis of the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. Beginning in Wuhan, China, the coronavirus rapidly spread throughout China’s nation, and quickly spread throughout Europe and the United States. As a response to the now declared pandemic, the United States has declared a national emergency and with each day that passes, the U.S. is issuing stricter guidelines to “flatten the curve” of the virus’ spread. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has ordered all private and public schools to be closed for three weeks in order to contain the spread of the virus within Massachusetts. Along with the closing of schools, the MIAA, or the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association has decided that the beginning of spring sports will be delayed until April 27.

Precautions:

One of the major ways to keep personal hygiene and protection from the virus is washing the hands with soap and warm water for at least twenty seconds. Hand sanitizer with sixty percent alcohol is a great alternative for when soap and water are not applicable. The CDC recommends that individuals do not rely on hand sanitizer to keep them safe, and to wash hands when possible. The CDC also recommends to clean and disinfect surfaces often, and stay home if one is feeling unwell. Wearing a medical mask will only help if the individual wearing the mask is sick. Medical masks will prevent the spreading of illness, but will not prevent the gaining of it. Most importantly, cover the mouth when sneezing or coughing, and keep a six foot distance from individuals who appear to be sick.

Risk Factors:

Individuals over the age of 60 are most prone to more serious related illnesses from the virus. Those who are immunocompromised, including individuals with heart and lung disease and diabetes are in the most danger. In our local community, grocery stores such as Market Basket and Stop and Shop have established specific time frames within their store that are dedicated for those aged 60 and over. This creates a safer and more comfortable environment for those who are at larger risk for the virus. Check the websites of grocery stores for more information.

Individuals under the age of sixty with healthy immune systems will often have no severe cases of the virus. COVID-19 within younger, healthier individuals is compared to having the cold or the flu. In order to decrease the spread to those who are in greater danger, everyone is urged to keep a distance of six feet, called social distancing, and practice healthy hygiene.

Student perspective: 

Due to the possible cancellation and delay of spring sports, many seniors fear they will be unable to share their last memories on the field. Yesterday, the MIAA  announced that spring sports may be able to begin on April 27.

Schools across Massachusetts have also cancelled important events such as their proms and fundraising opportunities.  The RHS music and theatre department’s Mary Poppins that was scheduled on March 27 and 28 has also been cancelled. The College Board has cancelled the May 2 SAT testing.  Juniors should check their website for future testing dates.   For juniors and seniors AP exams are still scheduled. For more on AP tests, check here.

Here’s a small sampling of how Rockland High School students feel about all of this.

Junior Robert Ivil said, “Everyone and the media are making a huge deal about an evolved cold, but I am worried for my grandparents since they are a part of the high risk age.”

Billy Robinson, also a junior, believes that society is treating this as if it is the Black Plague, but believes that having no school is a positive step, since so many aspects of the disease are unknown.

Zachary Solomon says that he is very bored without school, and is worried for his grandparents since they are in the high risk age and have experienced past illnesses. Most of the students in Rockland believe school cancellation is a positive in order to contain the virus.

It is strongly advised that individuals follow quarantine rules to the best of their abilities.

During the school closing, Rockland High School will have free grab and go lunch available Monday through Friday 11:30 am to 12:30 pm at the “Mainstreet” entrance of the  high school.

Dr. Alan Cron has also announced that administration and teachers have worked “to develop a district-wide, comprehensive ‘work from home’ plan for all students and parents. Also, the district will provide laptops or Chromebook computers to those who only have a phone to connect to the internet. Dr. Cron said those that would like to borrow a laptop should email their building principals.

If you are without internet service at home, Comcast is providing a 2-month free internet package for families. Information on the program can be found at http://internetessentials.com/.

Students and parents should check the RPS website for updates.

Vaping Presentation for Parents on January 16

vaping

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 fleahy@rocklandschools.org or call 781-871-8406.

We hope to see everyone there on January 16th!

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