Category Archives: Clubs / Activities

Preparing For a Great 2019-2020 School Year

August, 2019

Many high school groups are gearing up to hit the ground running when school opens on August 26 with camps, sports practices and freshmen mentor trainings.

Here’s a list of some of the dates.

Freshmen Mentor Training – August 14

Band Camp August 14-17

Football Workouts Begin- August 16

Student Government Camp August 19-22

New Student and Freshmen Orientation Night -Weds. August 21 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.

Fall Sports Begin / Meet the Coaches Night 6 p.m. – August 22

Mrs. Donovan and a few of the mentors on August 14.

The Freshmen Mentor training for upperclassmen on August 14 was held in preparation for the New Student and Freshmen Orientation Night that will take place on Weds. August 21 from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.  Principal John Harrison and teacher Adrienne Donovan conducted training sessions for the students who were selected to be mentors.

At the orientation on August 21 freshmen and their families will get an overview of what to expect in high school from the the students’ point of view. Freshmen will meet their mentors and will be able to tour the building and ask questions about various aspects of high school life.  Check back to the Veritas website for more details about this new and exciting program that will help freshmen to have a successful first year at RHS.

Band Director John Piazza is leading the way at Band Camp which goes from August 14th to the 17th.  The camp prepares members for the many activities of the upcoming year, including their half-time shows at the football games.


New advisor of Student Government Council, middle school social studies teacher, Kirsten MacDonald and assistant advisor, high school social studies teacher, Greg Rowe will be coordinating with the council leaders, Katie Buckey, Maddie Gear, Miku Yoshioka, Tyler Gambon, and Greta Russo, to get things ready for the many activities that the SGC does throughout the school year.  SGC camp will be held from August 19-22.

The football team began work-outs on Friday, August 16 while all the fall sports will get underway with their try-outs and practices on August 22.  Athletes, make sure that all the paperwork is in so that you’ll be ready for the first day!  Check with coaches for the schedule of practices for your team.

There will also be a Meet the Coaches night on August 22 at 6 pm at the high school. This night is for parents to meet the coaches, learn their expectations, and get the practice schedules. Mr. Graziano will start the night off in the auditorium and then teams will break up where coaches will address parents.

Click here for the fall sports schedule.

Some football players got together over the summer to relax after their individual work-outs.




Getting Cool with Summer Reading

June 11, 2019  

Jasmin Morse, Veritas Editor-in-Chief

RHS Principal John Harrison and the RHS staff are promoting the new summer reading program. With the new program, you may choose a book from the list and then complete a Photo Essay Prompt (see below).  You can then submit your thoughtful and complete photo essays in September and you will be considered for Bulldog prizes!

Beyond the prizes is the benefit of reading which RHS teachers and administration encourage students to continue to do over the summer.  Gabriella Gambon who is going into her sophomore year sees the benefits of reading during the summer.  She said, “I think that it helps me keep my brain thinking when I’m not in school.”  Her brother Tyler, who will be a senior and taking four AP courses, also sees the benefits. He said, “It’s beneficial because it keeps us engaged.”  He added, “This year I like that it is optional since many of us already have summer work for AP.”

Photo Essay Prompt:

In each novel, characters triumph over adversity to find and define their own sense of community. In a photo essay, show what you define as a community and relate it to a conflict or character within the book you chose.

The photo essay should have a minimum of 5 photographs with notations. The purpose of the photo essay assignment is to allow you to express your reaction to an essay prompt through visuals. Notations should only be one sentence long and can be in the form of a question or comment about their image. Completed photo essays should be emailed to Mr. Harrison ( by September 3, 2019.  

Here is an example of a completed photo essay provided by Mr. Harrison

In addition to selecting one of the summer reading selections below, don’t forget to complete any additional summer homework assignments that you have been assigned for Honors or Advanced Placement courses.

Here are the choices for summer reading!

The Cut Out Girl by Bart van Es is an astonishment, a deeply moving reckoning with a young girl’s struggle for survival during World War II, a story about the powerful love of foster families but also the powerful challenges, and about the ways our most painful experiences define us but also can be redefined, on a more honest level, even many years after the fact. A triumph of subtlety, decency and unflinching observation, The Cut Out Girl is a triumphant marriage of many keys of writing, ultimately blending them into an extraordinary new harmony, and a deeper truth.

Please Stop Laughing at Me, author Jodee Blanco tells how school became a frightening and painful place, where threats, humiliation, and assault were as much a part of her daily experience as bubblegum and lip-gloss were for others. It is an unflinching look at what it means to be an outcast, how even the most loving parents can get it wrong, why schools struggle, and how bullying is often misunderstood and mishandled.


Us Against You by Fredrik Backman.  After everything that the citizens of Beartown have gone through, they are struck yet another blow when they hear that their beloved local hockey team will soon be disbanded. What makes it worse is the obvious satisfaction that all the former Beartown players, who now play for a rival team in Hed, take in that fact. Amidst the mounting tension between the two rivals, a surprising newcomer is handpicked to be Beartown’s new hockey coach. Bringing this team together proves to be a challenge as old bonds are broken, new ones are formed, and the enmity with Hed grows more and more acute.

The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez –  After their daughter Maribel suffers a near-fatal accident, the Riveras leave México and come to America. But upon settling in Delaware, they discover that Maribel’s recovery will not be easy. Every task seems to confront them with language, racial, and cultural obstacles.  At Redwood also lives Mayor Toro, a high school sophomore whose family arrived from Panamá fifteen years ago. Mayor sees in Maribel something others do not. But as the two grow closer, violence casts a shadow over all their futures in America.

Sing Unburied Sing by Jesmyn Warm – Jojo is thirteen years old and trying to understand what it means to be a man. His mother, Leonie, is an inconsistent presence in his and his toddler sister’s lives. When the children’s father is released from prison, Leonie packs her kids and a friend into her car and drives north to the heart of Mississippi and Parchman Farm, the State Penitentiary. At Parchman, there is another thirteen-year-old boy, the ghost of a dead inmate who carries all of the ugly history of the South with him in his wandering. He too has something to teach Jojo about fathers and sons, about legacies, about violence, about love.

Cape Verdean Blues by Shauna Barbosa– The speaker in Cape Verdean Blues is an oracle walking down the street. Shauna Barbosa interrogates encounters and the weight of their space. Grounded in bodily experience and the phenomenology of femininity, this collection provides a sense of Cape Verdean identity. It uniquely captures the essence of “Sodade,” as it refers to the Cape Verdean American experience, and also the nostalgia and self-reflection one navigates through relationships lived, lost, and imagined.

All We Ever Wanted by Emily Griffiin One photograph, snapped in a drunken moment at a party, entangles and changes the lives of two families: the Brownings and Volpes. As the image spreads like wildfire, the Windsor community is instantly polarized, buzzing with controversy and assigning blame.  At the heart of the lies and scandal, Tom, Nina, and Lyla are forced together—all questioning their closest relationships, asking themselves who they really are, and searching for the courage to live a life of true meaning.

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing  by Hank Green –Coming home from work at three a.m., twenty-three-year-old April May stumbles across a giant sculpture. Delighted by its appearance and craftsmanship, April and her friend Andy make a video with it, which Andy uploads to YouTube. The next day April wakes up to a viral video and a new life. Now April has to deal with the pressure on her relationships, her identity, and her safety that this new life brings.  


Educated by Tara Westover – Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her “head-for-the-hills bag”. Lacking any formal education, Tara began to educate herself. She taught herself enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University, where she studied history, learning for the first time about important world events like the Holocaust and the civil rights movement. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.

Fish In A Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt – Ally has been smart enough to fool a lot of smart people. Every time she lands in a new school, she is able to hide her inability to read by creating clever yet disruptive distractions. She is afraid to ask for help; after all, how can you cure dumb? However, her newest teacher Mr. Daniels sees the bright, creative kid underneath the trouble maker. With his help, Ally learns not to be so hard on herself and that dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of. As her confidence grows, Ally feels free to be herself and the world starts opening up with possibilities. She discovers that there’s a lot more to her—and to everyone—than a label, and that great minds don’t always think alike.

**Please note summaries are courtesy of GoodReads.

Accessing Summer Reading Books:

Check with Rockland Memorial Library! Here is a link to their catalog so you can see what is available.

Most of the books are accessible in digital format from Boston Public Library. Register for an ecard to rent the digital copy.

Once you have registered, search for the title you’d like to read at the Boston Public Library website. If there’s a waitlist for the book, fret not! There are multiple copies so the book should be available soon. Simply sign up for the waitlist at the beginning of the summer, then you will be notified when the book is yours to read.

Have a great summer everyone!


Underclassmen Academic Awards Night June 5, 2019

June 11, 2019

Underclassmen were recognized on Weds. June 5 at the annual awards night. Following is a list of the award recipients.

National Leadership Award (formerly I Dare You Award) – Madeline Gear 

Rensselaer Medal Scholarship Award – Mathematics and Science – Tyler Gambon

High Honors Three Terms This Year: Grade 11 – Jad Bendarkawi, Kathryn Buckley, Julia Yeadon; Grade 10 – Cullen Rogers; Grade 9 – Ngan Nguyen 

St. Michael’s College Book Award  Tyler Johnson, Hannah Wyllie

Academic Excellence Certificates and Academic Letters:

Juniors: Sean Belmonte, Nicolle Ligia Gudiel Winter, Bryce Taylor

Sophomores:  Jared Allen, Devin Cavicchi, Julia De Lima, Gianna Gervasi, Grace Henry, Bridget Hughes, Robert Ivil III, Chloe Jones, Russell Jones, Ann Kelley, Alexxys MacDonald, Joseph Nguyen, Althea Olsen, Cullen Rogers, Zachary Solomon

 Leadership Awards

Boys State – Tyler Gambon, Mathew Bruzzese       

Girls State – Kathryn Buckley, Nicolle Ligia Gudiel Winter                          

Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership Award  Nijaya Oehlschlagel 

Mass STAR Youth Leadership Award – Grace Henry

RHS Global Ambassador Program Award – Madeline Gear 

Academic Achievement Awards


Gr. 10  Rebecca Killion  

Gr. 11. Lydia McWilliams, Bryce Taylor


Gr. 9  Grace Condon

Gr. 10 Damon Welles

Gr. 11 Oliver Reera


Gr. 10 Mariana O’Connor

Gr.   11  Erin Kearns


Gr.9. Emilee Scannell

Gr.10. Cullen Rogers

Gr.11. Lara Glennon


Gr.9.  Victoria Crowley, Julia Elie

Gr. 10  Beatriz Quirino, Thorn Annis

Gr. 11  Jason Sahn, Lauren Buker


Gr.9. Leah Leonard, Maria Pala

Gr.10 Julia De Lima

Gr. 11 Kathryn Buckley


Gr.9. Abigail Spengler

Gr.10. Hissam Dubois

Gr.  11 Kerin Dalton


Gr. 9 Skyler Hitchcock


Gr.9. Olivia Jones

Gr.11. Caroline Elie


Gr.9  Kathleen Nee, Ngan Nguyen

Gr. 10 Zachary Solomon, Emily Gaboriault

Gr. 11  Philip Pattison, Haley Nee


Gr. 10 Allison Whitman, Nicholas Leander 

Gr.11. Mia Comeau


Gr.9. Jordan Stec, Kevin Matos Donorato Soares Campos

Gr. 10 Jonah Pishkin

Gr. 11 Madeline Gear, Rachel Spano


Gr. 11 Jacob Willis


Gr.9.  multi-winners

Gr. 10   multi-winners

Gr. 11   multi-winners


Gr.9. William Maynard-Pimentel, Max Huggins

Gr. 10 Patrick Moriarty, Thomas McSweeney

Gr. 11 Vitor Santos, Joseph Murray


Gr.9. Ava LaBollita: English, World Language/French, History/Social Science

Ramzey Youssef:   Mathematics, History/Social Science

Callie Gillan: Art, Health

Gr. 10   Althea Olsen: English, Science 

Jared Allen:  World Language/French, History/Social Science

Russell Jones: Mathematics, History/Social Science

Devin Cavicchi: World Language/Spanish, Mathematics

 Gr. 11 Tyler Johnson: English, Mathematics

Tyler Gambon: World Language/Spanish, History/Social Science

Nicolle Ligia Gudiel-Winter:World Language/French, History/Social Science

Owen Shea: Physical Education, Pre-Engineering/Robotics


Grade 9.  Monalisa Almeida

Grade 10    Ann Kelley

Grade 11    Jad Bendarkawi  


Hall of Fame Inducts Three Alumni

From left: Leeza Connor Desjardins, Elizabeth “Betty” Damon Beecher and Steven R. Magoun were inducted into the Academic Hall of Fame on June 5, 2019.

June 6, 2019

Last night three alumni were inducted into the Rockland High School Academic Hall of Fame. The ceremony took place before the annual Underclassmen Academic Awards presentations.

First to be recognized was Elizabeth Damon Beecher, a 1942 graduate of Rockland High School. Beecher, now 95 years old, was an honor roll student at RHS.  She became a nurse after she graduated and trained at the Massachusetts Memorial Hospital School of Nursing in Boston. When President Franklin Roosevelt created the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps in July, 1943 to quickly train new nurses after most of the nation’s registered nurses were sent overseas following the attack on Pearl Harbor, she was one of 180,000 women who enlisted. Beecher described these cadet nurses as the youngest and largest group of uniformed women to serve during wartime. Beecher served from 1943-1945 at public health service marine hospitals on Staten Island and in Boston, caring for wounded Coast Guard and Merchant Marine servicemen with head injuries and loss of limbs.

She credited her teachers in Rockland, including the school nurse and her junior high principal for inspiring her to follow her dream to become a nurse.  Still active, Beecher is now working with U.S. Senate leaders to pass a bill that will give the Cadet Nurses veteran status and benefits.

Second to be inducted was Steven R. Magoun – Class of 1984.  Magoun  is a computer software entrepreneur. At RHS he was a member of the National Honor Society.  After graduation, he went on to Northeastern University where he studied in the Khoury College of Computer and Information Sciences. He graduated in 1989 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science along with a minor in business. While at Northeastern, he did a co-op with the Boston Police Department and designed a computer software system that automated the department’s records.  At the time the Boston Herald called him the “whiz kid” for his computer coding work.

While still a student at NU he started his own computer company called Softcode Inc.  Softcode is now affiliated with Tyler Technologies, the largest software company in the country that focuses solely on computer systems for the public.

The third inductee was Leeza Connor Desjardins – Class of 1987,  an  art teacher at Nonnewaug HS in CT.  At RHS Desjardins was active in many clubs and sports such as softball, cheerleading and the Volunteers in Peer Service.  She received her degrees in art education from the University of Hartford’s Hartford Art College and the University of Southern Connecticut.

During her 25+ years as an art teacher. her students have won many awards for their art work.  Desjardins has also won many awards for her teaching. Most impressively, in 2018 Desjardins received the 2018 Connecticut Art Education Association’s Secondary Art Teacher of the Year and the Association’s Art Teacher of the Year for the State of Connecticut.  Desjardins credited her former art teachers at RHS, Donna Rossetti-Bailey and the late Pat Isaac for giving her the passion for art and for teaching art.

The Academic Hall of Fame was established in 1988 by then Guidance Director, Joseph Waisgerber. In the first “class” were astronaut Brian Duffy and author George Higgins.  With last night’s inductees the Hall of Fame now has 98 members.   Nominations for the Hall of Fame can be made by sending information to Assistant Principal Kathy Paulding at Rockland High School.


2019 National Honor Society Ceremony

Jasmin Morse, Veritas Editor-in-Chief and Web Editor


Another year, another Pentelic Chapter of the National Honor Society Induction. Last night’s induction consisted of 2 senior inductees, 20 junior inductees, 2 honorary inductees, and 16 departing senior members.

The night was kicked off by a dinner provided by the RHS cafeteria for the inductees, the members, and their sponsors. Here, 2018-2019 NHS President Sean Morrissey welcomed the guests and invited tables up to get their food. This was also where the members and inductees exchanged gifts with their sponsors thanking them for their company at this event.

Following, the group made its way to the auditorium where they were met by their friends and family who came to watch the ceremony take place. As tradition, the seniors made their way to their seats on stage while the juniors took their spots in front of the stage. Here, they recited their pledge to the National Honor Society.

To start the ceremony, Morrissey led in the Pledge of Allegiance and then welcomed, the members, inductees, sponsors, and families attending the ceremony. After that Vice President, Tyler Beatrice and Treasurer, Jasmin Morse read speeches and awarded this year’s two honorary inductees. Beatrice first awarded long time Bulldog fan and one of Rockland’s most familiar faces, James “Jimbo” Cahill. Following, Morse awarded long time school committee member and one of the town’s most known Rockland supporters, Richard “Dick” Phelps.

As the night proceeded, Morrissey acted as the host. Secretary, Marissa Smith then called the roll and announced the future plan of the senior members of the Pentelic Chapter. Next, the four NHS virtues were explained by members. Justin Sherlock spoke about character, Francisco Oliveira explained scholarship, Caitlin Cameron definedleadership, and John Ellard discussed service. At the end of each speech, a candle was lit to represent each of the virtues.

After that, Beatrice recited the Exemplification of the Torch speech that he had to memorize while holding a burning candle in hopes the melted candle wax didn’t fall onto his hand or wrist. Then, RHS Principal John Harrison presented the National Honor Society certificates to the graduating members. As the members receive their certificates, the formed a receiving line at the exit of the auditorium for guests and sponsors to walk through and congratulate the senior members and newly inducted members.

At the close of the event, guests, members, and sponsors were welcomed to congregate in the RHS cafeteria for desserts and beverages. All in all, the event was a huge success as always and was the start of a new year of the Pentelic Chapter of the National Honor Society.


New Inductees:


Alexis Nastasia

Giovan Soares


Melyssa Almeida

Stephanie Beatrice

Jad Bendarkawi

Matthew Bruzzese

Kathryn Buckley

Maria Ciano

Jessica DeMarco

Jillian Dorney

Caroline Elie

Tyler Gambon

Madeline Gear

Nicolle Guidel Winter

Tyler Johnson

Sabrina Morgan

Alyssa Patten

Oliver Reera

Zachary Webb

Hannah Wyllie

Julia Yeadon

Danting Zhu

Departing Senior Members:

President- Sean Morrissey

Vice President- Tyler Beatrice

Treasurer- Jasmin Morse

Secretary- Marissa Smith

Madison Blonde

Caitlin Cameron

Abigail Condon

John Ellard

Elizabeth Kelley

Rebecca Mullen

Francisco Oliveira

Michelle Ramoska

Justin Sherlock

Kara Sullivan

Arts Festival Comes Back Strong

May 7, 2019

The annual Arts Festival of the Rockland Public Schools was held on Wednesday and Thursday nights last week, May 1 and 2.  With lots of displays and activities going on in the gym, the auditorium, the library and on Main St. visitors had a variety of visual and auditory creations to catch their interest. In all, the creativity of all the school children was on display and showed once again the diversity of experiences the schools have to offer in the arts and technical areas to the children of Rockland.

Below are photos that give a sampling of the activities and artwork on display.

In all, each of Rockland’s elementary schools and the middle school along with many of the high school’s disciplines, including music, family and consumer science, wood shop, science and robotics, English, tech ed, digital media, and of course, art showed off their students’ work.

RPS Art Director Cheryl Thompson summed up this year’s event thanking all those who were involved. “The displays looked great and all of the activities ran very smoothly. Thanks again for all of your hard work and continued dedication to the Arts Festival!  I look forward to #ThisIsHowWeArtsFestival2020!”

Environmental Club Prepares for Envirothon

RHS junior Zach Webb practices measuring the diameter of a tree for the Envirothon’s Tree Station. photo courtesy of Enviromental Club

Jad Bendarkawi and Hannah Wylie for the Veritas

The RHS Environmental Club is once again participating in the annual Massachusetts Envirothon in late May. The Massachusetts Envirothon is a statewide competition where high school students compete in hands-on environmental  explorations, and also present research they have performed throughout the school year on a current issue topic. About the upcoming Envirothon, RHS junior Tyler Gambon says, “I enjoy the competition day as I like to talk to other students that have been researching the same topic and I can share what I have learned as well.”

The students have worked extensively to research this year’s topic, Healthy Abundant Affordable Food,  and have focused on two main issues: food waste and food insecurity. They have talked to and worked with members of the community to gain an understanding of these issues and have begun to take action.

The group of students, Michelle Ramoska, Morgan Wahlstrom, Hannah Wyllie, Lizzie McGaffigan, Jad Bendarkawi, Tyler Gambon, Zach Webb, Matt Bruzzese, Caroline Elie, and Oliver Reera,  have gathered data from various members in their community concerning the issues of food waste and food insecurity. They spoke with Rockland High school resource officer, Frea Leahy, who provided useful insight on the topic of food insecurity in Rockland.

The group discovered that at Rockland High School approximately 50% of the student population is on free/reduced lunch, which indicates a high percentage of food insecurity in the town. Additionally, Ms. Leahy brought to light the organization, Shane Gives Thanks, which provides free meals for children to take home for the weekend. The organization works with administration at Jefferson Elementary School, one of three elementary schools in Rockland.

In addition, Ms. Leahy told the group about resources outside school such as St. Vincent de Paul, run through Holy Family Church that provides families with food in emergency situations, along with the Rockland Food Pantry which provides food to families in need one day a week. Gambon summed up the group’s reaction to the issue. “Talking to Ms. Leahy gave me so much insight.  I never realized how much of an impact food insecurity had on us here in Rockland.”

The group also reached out to Adele Leonard, Director of Food Services for Rockland Public Schools, who is knowledgeable about food waste, and she shared her experiences owning a small scale farm. Ms. Leonard believes that food waste, from the production side, is not a great issue in our schools. She said,  “Most of the food that is prepared is bought and hopefully eaten. When food is not prepared or used, we try our best to compost, if possible.”

On her small farm, she said that she grows a small variety of plants, and when she has a surplus she sells them at a farmers’ market. Recently, she has found that farmers’ markets are charging for farmers to sell their goods, which is discouraging for small scale farmers such as Ms. Leonard.

Lastly, the group reached out to Norwell Farms, a small farm that recently made the transition from a commercial farm to a community based and educational one. The farm co-chair, Mari Creatini Bell, discussed the sustainable agricultural methods that the farm uses such as, low/no till agriculture, cover crops, organic fertilizers, mulching, as well as close monitoring and testing of the soil to ensure its health. Bell said they have used this information in their community action, and continue to plan more ways to foster these ideas in their community.

For their community outreach, the team has focused especially on educating and informing the community about the prevalence of food waste and food insecurity on both local and national levels. Through their podcast, The Green Tea, produced with the cooperation of WRPS radio, the team has been able to communicate to locals about ways they can remediate the issue on an individual level and how everyone has a role to play in the grand scheme of resolving food insecurity.

By discussing topics related to food waste and insecurity and relating back to the local community, citizens of Rockland are not only more informed, but are also more apt to participate in efforts to solve the issue as it is affecting their own town.  Jad Bendarkawi says, “I love working on the podcast; I feel like I am more deeply involved in the topic.”

If you have not had a chance to listen you can find the podcast at

Also, the team manages RHS compost in the hopes of creating a viable resource for the school’s garden. In the near future, the team plans on extending their focus on education into the middle school as well as volunteering at local farms to fully immerse themselves in the process of agriculture and food distribution.

Hannah Wyllie and another member of the Environmental Club prepare for the Tree Station of the Envirothon competition.




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