Category Archives: News

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.

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:

We Will Miss You Graz!

Cameron Babcock, Veritas Sports Editor

In April, Rockland athletic director Gary Graziano will be retiring. He started working at Rockland High School on March 1st, 1998. and served as our athletic director for 19 years, starting in 2004.

Taking his place as athletic director is varsity soccer coach and teacher in the high school transitions program, Dan Kimball. 

Mr. Graziano will be retiring on April 14.  His last day as AD is today, March 31.  Mr. Kimball will be taking the position on April 1.

Dr. Harrison said in his March newsletter, “…Mr. Graziano has been a fixture as a guidance counselor, coach, and most recently, an athletic director. He has certainly left his mark in our community, raising the standard for our athletic programs.”

Principal Harrison also expressed his feelings about Mr. Kimball’s appointment as the new AD: “I have complete confidence Mr. Kimball will do an exceptional job in this new role!”

Undoubtedly, students and teachers are going to miss their athletic director after working and experiencing history with him over the years. Even students that haven’t been able to experience the full scale of high school and sports alongside Graz are sad that he is leaving. Sophomore and three sport athlete Jacob Comman explained, “Personally, I loved Graz being the athletic director through my first two years of high school. I’ll miss how involved Graz is, his closeness with the students, and his humor. Overall, my experience with Graz has been awesome.”  

Mr. Graziano was recently inducted into the RHS Athletic Hall of Fame.  He is also an honorary member of the National Honor Society at RHS.  And he’s even been the King!

The Veritas’ complete interview with Mr. Graziano about his retirement and his memories at RHS and more reactions from students and staff will be published in our next edition.

Here’s an article that was in the Enterprise this week about Graz.

Graz was inducted into the Rockland High School Athletic Hall of Fame as a player, coach and athletic director in November. Mr. Damon did the honors introducing Graz and talking about his many accomplishments at RHS.

Freshman Regan Glennon Is Our Winner!

March 30, 2022

Freshman Regan Glennon is the winner of the Veritas’ contest to name the 20 teachers at Rockland High School who are alumni of RHS.

Regan can come down to Mr. Murphy’s office at WRPS Wednesday or Friday to pick up her Chipotle gift card!

Congratulations to Regan!

Here are the teachers submitted by Regan.

Mr. Liquori – math

Ms. Penney – social studies

Mr. Novio –  science/substitute

Mr. Casagrande – math

Mr. Anzalone – math

Mrs.  Mulready -math

Mr. Damon – Dean/math

Ms.  Cahill – English

Mr.  Kimball – English / AD

Mrs.  Newcomb – Phys. Ed

Mrs.  McGonnigal – Special Ed

Ms.  McKenna – Social Studies

Mr. Peter Harrison – Science

Mr.  Rowe – Social Studies

Mr. Doyle – Phys. Ed

Mrs. Phelps – Health

Mr.  Graziano – Athletic Director

Ms. Lannin-Cotton – Journalism

Ms. Paulding – Asst. Principal

Ms. Medeiros – Art

Here is the story that appeared in the March Veritas print edition with interviews with three of these alumni/teachers.

Shannon Gustin, Veritas Features Editor

Over the years many teachers who attended RHS have returned to pass on their legacy as teachers and inspirations to many.

The high school has changed since many of these students graduated, from the new building to new subjects being taught.

One teacher that returned to Rockland High is social studies teacher Kara Penney.  She graduated from Rockland High School in 2015.

“My high school experience had some ups and downs and it was all the teachers at RHS that my friends and I could rely on to help us. I am still very appreciative for all the support RHS teachers gave me and my friends,” said Ms. Penney.

Over the seven years since she graduated from RHS, many things have changed.  “There have been a lot more state championship games and victories than when I was in high school!”

She continued, “In all seriousness, RHS offers a lot more opportunities for classes and preparing for what happens when you graduate as long as you take advantage of the opportunities.”

Returning to teach history, she says, “Since I got to high school I loved history class; my dream was always to teach at RHS. But I also want to give back to a community that has given me so much. I am very proud to be from this town.”

Substitute teacher and AP Biology teacher Richard Novio attended RHS seven years ago. When he attended RHS he had teachers that are still teaching here today such as  Mr. Bigsby, Mr. Rowe, and Mr. Casagrande.

But he says, since 2011, the school has changed a lot.  “The best way I can describe it is taking a time machine back in time, but something broke and it’s some alternate timeline.”

He went on to explain, “A lot of the school is exactly as it was ten years ago, including most of the staff, but there are just some newer concrete blocks holding the building up, and a little better technology.”

He says, “When I went to RHS, I decided I wanted to be a teacher after one of the few classes I had with Bigsby, where something just clicked and I thought I would love to make that kind of impact on someone and also be able to share my love of English with others; and after some strange luck, I ended up teaching AP Biology once Mrs. Armstrong left.

He then went on to say, “Now that I am here, I couldn’t be happier. It’s great to be part of where I grew up and see a difference in people, and also see the huge strides Rockland has come to make this school a better and more inclusive environment than it was ten years ago.”

Another teacher that has returned to RHS to teach is Nick Liquori of the math department.  He graduated from RHS in 1995.

“I very much enjoyed my experience at RHS. I participated in football, basketball and baseball. None of the teachers that I had in school are here, now…though I do have former classmates that are now colleagues.”

Since 1995, Mr. Liquori says, “RHS has changed quite a bit. [There are] many changes due to the new middle school, but some classes were either reduced or combined with other classrooms. Locker room locations also have changed.”

After he graduated from high school and college, Mr. Liquori did not take a direct path back to RHS. He began working in the financial field. But his work in the community led him back to RHS. “I decided to become a teacher because I was coaching youth sports and I enjoyed the teaching aspect.”  As everyone knows, Mr. Liquori is now the head football coach at RHS.

Overall, 20 alumni who attended RHS when they were younger have come back and are teaching at the high school they went to right now.


Here’s a few photos of alumni/teachers that we had on file!


Shrek the Musical Opens Friday Night

Ngan Nguyen, For the Veritas

March 23, 2022

At 7 p.m. on Friday, March 25 and Saturday, March 26, the students of Rockland High School are presenting a performance: Shrek the Musical! 

Throughout the show, you will laugh, smile, and may even be a part of our show. The cast members are constantly learning, reviewing, and improving their choreography, steps, and songs. 

Everyone has tirelessly worked for months to make the performance fun and enjoyable. The cast of Shrek are very excited to be able to put on a Spring Musical for everyone.

In addition to individual roles and performers, there are mulitple ensemble roles which has given many students an opportunity to be a part of this fun show.

Tri Nguyen and McKenna Maher are playing Shrek and Fiona.  Come to the show to see who else will be playing the other roles!

Both shows begin at 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased on-line at 

Mr. Bergman, the director of the musical said, “Rehearsals are going well.  Only one week until showtime!”


Girls Basketball Team Enters Elite Territory

March 10, 2022

With wins over Cardinal Spellman last Friday night (60-33), and Bishop Stang on Tuesday, March 8, (63-42) the Dogs have risen to the final 8 teams left in the Division.

On Friday night March 11, because of their ranking as #4 they will get to be home again against #5 Dover-Sherborn.

A win on Friday will put them in the Division 3 final four for a game to be played at a neutral site. 

First, they will need to once again have their home crowd behind them on Friday.  The fans have been great and not having to wear masks, they have been louder than ever!  Not since the girls tournament in  March 2020 have fans been able to go maskless, and it’s a welcome experience to see and hear them cheering in full volume!!

Leading the way for the girls will be seniors Julia Elie, the team’s leading scorer and Maddie Murphy. Also, playing supporting roles will be seniors Carolayne Lage and Jordan Stec.

Rounding out the girls line-up are juniors Sydney Blaney, Maddie Hermenau, Emma Cameron, and Charlie Kelleher and sophomores Maggie Elie who will direct the offense and Sophie Levy.

Tickets to this game must be bought ahead of time on

Coach Newcomb has said that the girls’ tournament run is “what it’s all about.”  Don’t miss it!

For more about the girls team and their season you can go to:

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