Author Archives: Althea Olsen

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
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.


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

Students and parents should check the RPS website for updates.

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!

Holiday Stroll returns to Rockland Today!

Nov. 30, 2019

As Rockland tradition, the Holiday Stroll will return the Saturday after Thanksgiving in order to get ready for the Christmas holidays. This community-held event that began over 25 years ago holds activities and demonstrations that satisfy everyone’s interests.

Community members of all ages are encouraged to attend to enjoy activities such as Joe’s Crazy Critters, a meet and greet with Santa and Ms. Claus, character meet and greets, hayrides, and much more!

Businesses and churches along the route also participate in the event by providing accommodations such as clam chowder, cookies, and face paintings.

RHS students will also take part with the Chorus caroling and seniors decorating Santa hats at Mountain One Bank.

The stroll this year will occur on November 30th from 4pm to 7pm. All are encouraged to attend!


RHS Students Show Their Thankfulness

Althea Olsen, Veritas Editor-in-Chief


Thanksgiving is a joyful holiday used to celebrate friends, families, and of course the food that it set out onto the table during the celebration. In communities such as Rockland, some families struggle to find ways to give thanks during the holiday. Even something as simple as setting the dinner table can be a daunting task for some. During this Thanksgiving season, in order to give thanks back to your local community, here are some ways that you could make a difference and give thanks this holiday season.

  • Donate nonperishable goods to a food pantry

Classes are donating canned goods and other nonperishable items in their annual Turkey Trot event. Veritas photo

Rockland High School is currently running a Turkey Trot to raise food for families during this Thanksgiving season. Until November 21, students were encouraged to bring in canned goods and nonperishable items to donate to the local food pantry. The class with the most items will receive points towards the class cup!

  • Go through clothing and textile items at home and donate anything that is no longer needed to a local clothing bin or Salvation Army
  • Participate in volunteer work at places such as the senior center
  • Support the troops by creating care packages and letters
  • Simply give thanks to an individual in your life; someone at school or a member of your family

Preschool children explained what they are thankful for.

When asking around the high school, students and faculty frequently respond that they are thankful for their friends, family, roof over their heads, cars, school, and the access to food.  Below is a video made by WRPS and The Veritas asking students for their feelings about the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.

Project Pumpkin 2019

On Sunday October 27, 2019 from 5 to 7 pm, Rockland High School students and staff members held the annual Project Pumpkin Halloween celebration.

This year, Project Pumpkin had over 400 visitors that came to enjoy activities such as indoor trick or treating, face painting, and games in the gym area. Students at Rockland High School, mainly members of Student Government, showed their support to the event by volunteering and dedicating their time. Students dressed up in costumes to hand out candy to the trick or treaters, and helped organize the gym to allow for safe and enjoyable times for the guests. Some students even dedicated their time to help in the haunted hallway, which gave visitors a spooky experience.

Visitors were also able to receive a discount for one dollar for every can brought in. This fundraiser allowed for Rockland High School to raise canned goods for the food drive this month.

Here is a video and some pictures from this year’s Project Pumpkin!

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