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Summer Reading Has Many Benefits

June 21, 2022

Shannon Gustin, Veritas Features Editor

This summer at Rockland High School, the RHS library is hosting a summer reading program, directed by Ms. Kemp, the librarian for RHS and RMS. Even though it is optional, students are encouraged to participate in the event.

 Ms. Kemp says, “I made this optional since so many classes assign work, and being required to read would only make people want to read less. I want the students to enjoy reading  and not see it as just another assignment.”

This year Ms. Kemp put together a list of books that she hoped people would resonate with and be interested in. The books students can choose from are, Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman, Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life by Helen Czerski, The Many Worlds of Albie Bright by Christopher Edge, I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys, The Happiest Man on Earth by Eddie Jaku, Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project by Jack Mayer, How to Stop Time by Matt Haig, Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard by Liz Murray, The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon, The Grapes of Math: How Life Reflects Numbers and Numbers Reflect Life by Alex Bellos and The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa.

 “I want students to be inspired and want to read, so I chose books that reflect differences in people’s likes with many different genres” Ms. Kemp stated.

Some of the books that she liked the most and the ones she recommended are Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life by Helen Crzerski which is about how ordinary objects relate to problems like Climate Change and energy crisis. Crzerski introduces Physics in a way that many can understand and makes it less daunting. 

Another favorite was, Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project by Jack Mayer, which is about Irena Sendler, a hero in World War 2, she saved 2500 Jewish children from the horrors of Auschwitz but her story went unnoticed, and 60 years later three students want to learn more about her why she is not heard of for a research project.

After the students pick and read their book they would complete a project where they would redesign a book cover that shows their interpretation of the book they chose.  The design would include:

  • Title
  • Author
  • Visual representation of a theme within the book
  • Meaningful quote that reflects an important aspect of the book. Students should be able to explain why the quote was chosen during our RHS Library Takeover in September.
  • Students will use Canva to complete their projects. Completed covers should be emailed to by September 9th

Then at the beginning of the year, students will be called down on September 23, during G block to participate in The RHS Library Takeover. During the takeover, there will be a book chat, serving of refreshments and a display of students’ redesigned covers. Ms. Kemp is hoping that through this takeover students would make connections with new people and celebrate reading.  

Our school hasn’t hosted summer reading since 2019 before COVID-19 hit our community. But before the virus each year the number of students who participated varied. Ms. Kemp as well as many RHS teachers are encouraging students to participate in the event. 

“Reading strengthens literacy skills, promotes empathy, heightens English skills, a celebration of works, and reading is good for the brain, so I think all students should make an effort to participate in summer reading this year” explained Ms. Kemp. 

A few students have mentioned that they like the idea but do not think they have the time for it. Freshman Melia Olinek thinks that summer reading is a cool program but doesn’t think a lot of students will be doing it because of all the work they have already. 

She states, “I will not be doing it this year. I am taking honors English next year and I have to read a book for that. I think it is important and I love to do it but also I want time to relax and not think about school. ” 

Sophomore Meghan Gustin says, “I won’t be doing the summer reading this year because I already have many assignments from other teachers, and with work, I don’t think I will have any free time if I do the reading.”

Sophomore, Thomas Enman, had an opposite opinion on summer reading. “Over the summer reading has been easy and isn’t even bad. I honestly find it kind of fun when I get to do it on my own time.” 

But some students don’t feel they will have enough time, especially since many teachers at RHS are assigning other work to get ready for their classes in the fall. 

Some students have expressed that if it was mandatory or graded they would do the reading. But since it’s not they don’t feel it’s as important as other activities this summer. 

The book options have been sent out to every student and if parents or students want additional information they can visit Aspen / X2 in the announcements section to get the link to titles and descriptions for each book. 

Nicole Cedrone and Cameron Babcock also contributed to this report.

Senior Awards Night

June 2, 2022

Senior Awards Night was held on Thursday evening, June 2, in the auditorium. The awards included scholarship recipients, athletic award winners and academic awards winners. A highlight of the night was the awarding of the Valedictorian Award to Monalisa Almeida and the Yearbook dedication to English teacher, Chad Bigsby.

Below are the recipients and some photos from the evening.


WOMAN’S COACHES AWARD –  Hannah Higgins and Jessica Esposito (Senior female student/athlete) 

 VICKI SOLARI AWARD –  Madison Smith (Most inspirational female athlete) 

SENIOR FEMALE ATHLETIC AWARD – Julia Elie  (Top senior female athlete) 

MARION MANSFIELD DONOVAN AWARD –  Julia Elie (Top female student/athlete) 

JOHN BELL BULLDOG AWARD – Jordan Stec and James Evers III (Male and Female who play over and above abilities

PETER J. CROWLEY AWARD – Brett Armstrong. (Top senior male athlete)

JOSEPH DONDERO AWARD – Conor Leavitt. (Top male student/athlete) 

LOUIS CIFELLO AWARD (Two)  Mateo Vasques and Jacob Higgins (Most inspirational male athlete) 

JOSEPH DUNN AWARD – Mark Dalton II (Top student/athlete football player) 

WARREN NAJARIAN BULLDOG PRIDE AWARD – Greta Willis and Peter Celestino (Male and Female athletes that never give up) 

MADELINE LANNIN-COTTON AWARD – Julia Elie. (Top Student Female Athlete/Basketball Player)

JOHN DELOREY AWARD – Madison Murphy, Adam Beatrice and Justin Cronin (Female and Male athletes that exemplify sportsmanship)  

CHARLES E. LEVERONE AWARD –  Kameron Christ and Maggie Flaherty (Top Male and Female Track athletes)

ROBERT ELLIS AWARD –  Ramzey Youssef. (Top Student Male Athlete/Basketball Player)

Recipients of “The Good Guy” Scholarship in memory of Jared Lewis Quirk

Patrick J. Sullivan Memorial Scholarship – Conor Leavitt   1,500.00 

“The Good Guy” Scholarship in memory of Jared Lewis Quirk

Beatriz Lopes, Emma Krog, Olivia Campbell, Riley Taylor, Conor Leavitt, McKenzie Leavitt, Madison Murphy, Olivia Dalton

Robert J. and Christine J. Biggins Courage Award  –  Grace Meacham –$1,500.00

Specialist Matthew Pollini Memorial Scholarship – Adam Pollard – $1,000.00 

Andrew James Lawson Foundation Scholarship –  Madison Murphy – $1000.00

Krysta Doherty Memorial Scholarship –  Julia Lynch    

Skarbek/Bober Teacher Scholarship – Christa Pollard – $16,000.00

The Jimbo Award – Mark Dalton – $300.00 

Rockland/Hanson Rotary Community Service Award – Olivia Dalton, Maria Pala

The John Mahoney Memorial Award Scholarship  – Justin Crowley  $100.00  

The Edward Sokolowski Award –  Jenna Whitten  $100.00  

Reuben A. & Lizzie Grossman Foundation Award – Monalisa Almeida, Adam Pollard -$750.00  

Spellman Oratorical Winners – Ava LaBollita (first $1,200) ; Olivia Jones (second $1,000)  ; Kathleen Nee (third $700) ; Leah Leonard (fourth $500) ; Madison Smith (fifth $300) , Daniel O’Brien, Christa Pollard and Callie Gillan (sixth $100) 

Share the Spirit Award (S.H.A.R.E. – Selfless Helpers Assisting Rockland Everyday) – Madison Murphy  $300.00  

National Honor Society – Monalisa Almeida, Olivia Jones, Leah Leonard, Olivia Golemme, Mikayla Andre, Kaileigh Fulton, Callie Gillan, Julia Elie, Madison Smith, Het Patel, Kameron Christ, McKenzie Leavitt,Ava LaBollita, Carolyn Lage, Connor Leavitt, Kathleen Nee, Ngan Nguyen, Daniel O’Brien, Maria Pala, Charlie Succar, Ramzey Youssef

Military Acknowledgments Adam Pollard

                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Senior Academic Letters (Excellence In Education) – Hannah Higgins, Kaitlin Keefe, Jessica Esposito, Stephanie Alvarenga, Mikayla Andre, Adam Beatrice,  Kameron Christ, Victoria Crowley, Olivia Dalton                                                                                                                                                

Community Service Award – Monalisa Almeida

High Honors First Three Terms This Year – Monalisa Almeida, Jenna Whitten

Advanced Placement Scholars – 

AP ScholarsOlivia Jones, Ava LaBollita, Madison Smith   

AP Scholar with Honor Monalisa Almeida, Ramzey Youssef  

The Phoenix Award – Mark Gilmore 

The Ann E. Phelps Make a Difference Award –  Ngan Nguyen 

Seal of Biliteracy Awards – Yasmin DeSouza, Luis Araujo, Beatriz Lopes,  Kevin Matos Donorato Soares Campos

Massachusetts Secondary School Administrators’ Association Student Achievement  Principal’s Award – Callie Gillan 

 Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents Academic Excellence Award –   Monalisa Almeida 

Valedictorian  –   Monalisa Almeida

Yearbook dedication – Jillian Mitchell to Chad Bigsby


Art presented by Mrs. Cheryl Thompson to James Killion, Ava Glushik

English presented by Mrs. Kendra Donovan to Leah Leonard, Daniel O’Brien

History/Social Science presented by Mr. Richard MacAllister to Charlie Succar, Olivia Golemme

Mathematics presented by Mr. Steve Casagrande toRamzey Youssef, Madison Smith

Music presented by Mr. John Piazza to Adam Pollard, Lily Meola-Afienko

Family Consumer Science presented by Mrs. Adrienne Donovan toMax Huggins, Abigail Spengler

Construction Technology  William Maynard-Pimental, Kathleen Nee

Physical Education Kameron Christ, Greta Willis

Science Olivia Golemme, Ngan Nguyen

World Language/Spanish   presented by Mrs. Melissa Shaughnessy to Leah Leonard, Kaileigh Fulton

World Language/French presented by Mrs. Julie Dore to Ava LaBollita, Jenna Whitten


Seniors Visit Elementary Schools and Middle School to Say Goodbye

June 2, 2022

Nicole Cedrone, Veritas Editor-in-Chief

On Thursday, June 2nd, the Seniors of RHS went around to some of their old schools to do their Senior walk-through and say hello to the new generation of students. Before they left, they had breakfast together and reminisced over all of the amazing memories that were captured in the yearbook. 

 Good luck Class of 2022, you all will do amazing things!!

Photos taken by Shannon Gustin, Veritas Feature Editor

Video taken by Hailey Christianson, Veritas Web Editor 

The Last Veritas of the Year

Here’s a pdf version of the last issue of the Veritas that came out on May 24. We will continue to cover the senior and underclassmen events during the month of June. You can still get a paper copy of the Veritas if you go to Room 124, the Journalism room.

Rockland Welcomes Back the Arts Festival!

May 2, 2022

Shannon Gustin, Veritas Feature Editor

This year on May 4th and 5th the annual RHS Arts Festival will return to the high school. The event will run on both days from 6:00 to 8:30 pm. The Arts Festival hasn´t been held since 2019. This year will be the 49th year of having the festival.

Rockland High School art teachers Kata Medeiros and Cheryl Thompson both  expressed their excitement for this event after not having it for 2 years because of COVID-19. Mrs. Thompson said, “The Art Dept. is excited to bring the Arts Festival back after a two-year hiatus. We are so happy to see so much involvement from students, staff, and members of the community.”

Ms. Medeiros added, “We are very excited to have the Arts Festival running again; the Art Department loves showcasing all the work our talented artists create.

 Artwork from all grade levels throughout the district will be displayed along with many other exhibits and activities.  On Wednesday, The Blue Dog Cafe, an open mic event, will be hosted in the RHS/RMS library. On Thursday night the chorus and band will be performing in the auditorium.

There will also be activities such as a a community Unity String Art Project run by Daring Discussions on Thursday night in front of the middle school, along with a GSA face-painting table, and a Student Council scavenger hunt which will be running throughout both days of the festival.  Exhibits include K-12 Art, Preschool and Daycare art, as well as projects by Woodshop, and Robotics, along with activities such as hands-on STEAM projects, and interactive science and art projects.  

Lots of planning goes into this event over the course of the school year. The Art Department started planning this event in early November to be ready for the large event. Ms. Medeiros explained, “We have had several meetings with people who are participating in the Arts Festival. We have had members of Reimagine Rockland, Rockland Recreation, Rockland Farmers Market, and much more join us to help plan the event.” 

The Arts Festival has returned to Rockland after 2 years.  Many students and staff are excited to see this event come back. Both teachers, Mrs. Thopmson and Ms. Medeiros are hoping to see a large turnout as in years past. 


Here’s some photos from past festivals


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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