SKHS Principal's Newsletter

November 2016

From the Desk of Mr. Mezzanotte...

The first quarter of the 2016-17 school year has come to an end...and it sure did go by quickly! Things have been busy this year as our wonderful students and staff have been working diligently to keep up with our academic expectations and preserve our school culture. This year has seen significant changes, with some new faces, and other familiar faces in new positions. With new leadership comes a new approach to our day-to-day work, and I have been extremely impressed with the level of optimism, positivity and energy with which our community has embraced some new initiatives. Balancing tradition with innovation can be tricky, but I have been overwhelmed by the level of thoughtfulness, collaboration, and commitment to our values that has been evident from all members of our school community. It further reinforces my belief that South Kingstown is a community of dedicated professionals, responsible students, and engaged families...all necessary ingredients to delivering the highest-quality education to each and every student. Enjoy the newsletter and thank you to all!!!

Team Gianna

The entire SKHS community has been rallying around our dear colleague, Rosemary Colao, whose daughter Gianna was recently diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkin's disease. Gianna is a beautiful young lady and the SKHS family has been doing all that we can to support her in her fight. For her 15th birthday, the staff and students wore maroon t-shirts (her favorite color) in support of Gianna, with all money raised going to support her and her family through her treatment. Thank you to all our compassionate individuals who make this effort happen, and for all those who have supported our families in need! Specifically, a special thank you is owed to teachers Anne Hathaway, Ron Matteson, Michaela Pantaleo, Katy Thomas and Andi Kenyon. Also, SKHS students Kara Wahldeger and Hailey Parente put together an amazing collection of pictures and video clips that can be viewed below. Gianna's story has reached far beyond the borders of our small town, which is nothing short of extraordinary!
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Rebel Fall Sports

Fall sports are still currently in session, but we had a very successful year so far. Football, Girls Soccer, Boys Soccer, Volleyball, Field Hockey, Boys Cross Country and Girls Cross Country all qualified for the playoffs. Girls Cross Country placed 3rd in Rhode Island, and Junior Ellie Lawler won the individual Cross Country championship for the second year in a row.


On October 14 and 15, SKHS celebrated it's annual Sadie's Day. On Friday the 14th we had a school pep rally and on Saturday the 15th we won an exciting football game over Portsmouth. Finally, a dance was hosted by SK Student Council on Saturday evening. A good time was had by all!

Rebel Music

Follow SKHS Music on Twitter at @MusicSKHS

The newest High School music course offering, Piano Class, and our new Keyboard Lab are up and running with great success! The lab includes a beautiful set of seven 88-key, Yamaha keyboards, complete with stands and headphones. In Piano Class, students are currently learning major scales and simple chord progressions, as well as a variety of solo and ensemble repertoire!

Our High School Barbershop Quartet returns for it's 4th consecutive year, after it was revived in 2013 as "Five Guys." Mrs. Murray is also pleased to announce that a select ladies ensemble has formed this year: "The Chordette Quartet." This ensemble is named for the famous female quartet, The Chordettes, who brought us "Lollipop" and "Mister Sandman." The Barbershop and The Chordette Quartets performed at our Fall Concert on November 1st!

Our SKHS Band performed at the town Fireman's parade on Sunday 9/25. Students from the Jazz and Concert Band classes combined to form the SKHS Rebel Band. You can catch the band again at the annual Veteran's Day Parade on Friday November 11th.

Our High School Music Department performed at its annual Fall Concert on Tuesday, November 1st at 7pm in the HS Auditorium. Featured in the performance were our HS Chorus, eSkape, Jazz Band, Symphonic Band, String Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra. It was an exciting and inspiring night of music for all!

Several SKHS Band students participated in the annual URI Band Day on Saturday, October 1st. They rehearsed with URI Marching band and prepare a performance of two pieces that they played at halftime of the Brown-URI football game. Congratulations to students Alex Crudale, Michael Robinson, Leah Robinson and Matthew Robinson for their work and for braving the rainy conditions that day!

Over 50 SKHS student musicians will audition for All-State music ensembles on Saturday, November 19th at Moses Brown School in Providence. These students represent every performing area including choral, jazz, concert band, orchestra, and guitar ensemble. Best of luck to them as they prepare for auditions in November!

Mr. Benz, the new director of instrumental music at SKHS, has been selected to direct this year's RIMEA Jr. Division All-State Jazz Ensemble. Students will begin rehearsals in January with their performance March 15th at URI.

Guitar Students are rocking and making great progress this fall! These students have recently completed their "Rhythm Guitar" Unit, learning 12 different chords and many songs using these and variations of these chords. Next, students are learning to play bass and have started the "Lead Guitar" Unit where they will learn to read and play melodies, eventually forming an ensemble to play melody, harmony, chords and bass!

National Merit Commended Scholars

The following SKHS students were recently recognized as National Merit Commended Scholars. Congratulations!

Sofia DeSimone

Matthew Greene

Sarah Hackey

Rosalind Lucier

Isobel McCullough

Matthew McGovern

Christopher Nadeau

Matthew Vetter

Pumpkin Illumination

On Wednesday, October 19th SKHS students sponsored the Pumpkin Illumination at CCMS. Over 200 pumpkins were donated and carved by Health, Physical Education, AP Art and Advisory students. Their creations were set out along the cross country course and illuminated for the community to enjoy. Student volunteers helped to guide people along the path. The event was held to benefit The Tomorrow Fund, Team Gavin and Team Gianna. Many thanks to all those that donated, carved, volunteered and attended! We are looking forward to next year. A special thank you is owed to Mrs. Karen Murphy for her dedication to this wonderful cause!

A "Cubbie" Story

Recently, a number of factors fortuitously converged to benefit many members of the South Kingstown School Community.

When the South Kingstown School Maintenance Department replaced the old, worn wooden bleacher seats from the gymnasium Curtis Corner Middle School, they fortunately did not discard the old lumber, but saved it instead, hoping that it could be reused for other purposes.

After a couple of years, the Maintenance Department passed this substantial pile of lumber onto the woodshop at South Kingstown High School. Mr. Swanson, the Carpentry teacher at SKHS, was happy to receive the lumber.

At about that time, Mrs. Kimberly Mather, principal of West Kingston Elementary, decided that the kindergarten children at her school badly needed someplace to store their winter coats, boots, and lunch bags. She found a suitable cabinet design in a school supply catalog, but was somewhat dismayed by the cost. She had the fortunate idea to contact Mr. Eric Swanson at the High School to see if it would be possible for his students to construct some coat locker/cubbie cabinets. Mr. Swanson knew immediately he had found a use for the old bleacher seats.

This past fall, Mr. Swanson’s students set to work on the old seats, planing off the old flaky finish (and many years’ accumulation of wads of chewing gum!), revealing beautifully clear planks of straight-grained, old-growth Douglas Fir. The planks were then worked up into five very sturdy cabinets, each cabinet with 10 coat hooks, enough space for fifty kindergartners to store their belonging. The numerous old hardware holes were plugged with wooden bungs, and all of the cabinets were finished with several coats of shellac.

Through the construction of these cabinets, Mr Swanson’s students learned many practical hands-on woodworking skills, learned a lesson in the environmentally friendly practice of reclaiming lumber and achieved community service hours towards their graduation. In addition, Mrs. Mather’s kindergartners received a wonderful and sturdy set of storage units at no cost, and the Maintenance Department freed up some much needed storage space in their Columbia Street garage. This project was a win/win/win situation for many members of the school community.

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Fall Clean Up

National Honor Society in partnership with the Parent-Teacher Group hosted a Fall Clean-up on the high school school grounds. Students, parents, teachers and community members volunteered their time on Saturday 10/29 to plant mums, transplant shrubs, clean up and improve the school grounds. Great time was had by all and the school looks great! Thanks for all who participated!​
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Lip Sync Contest

The Classes of 2017 and 2018 held the 2nd Annual Lip Sync Contest was held on September 27th. Eric Fay-Wolfe and Diogo Paulino were the students to take home the coveted Golden Mic Award.
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Ping Pong

A new tradition started at SKHS thanks to 6 brand new ping pong tables purchased by the Athletic Department. This event was organized by the Senior Class Officers and was a whole lot of fun. We had 30 singles competitors (3 of which were faculty/staff) and 16 doubles competitors. Over 90 spectators came to cheer on their friends. Our fantastic Woodshop teacher crafted the trophies by hand and the champions were very excited / proud to receive them.

Italian Club

Ciao a tutti!

The Italian Club has gotten off to a great start! The club had its first club meeting of the year as a meet-and-greet and eat! Students enjoyed listening to and singing along to some of their favorite Italian songs while socializing and getting to know fellow members. Some even got to meet our Italian exchange students from Italy, Laura and Dario.

A FANTASTICO time was had by all!

The Italian Club looks forward to a fun year of celebrating Italian culture through film (i.e., Up!, Elf), holidays (Festa della Donna, La Befana, Il Carnevale), cultural game days, and more! All are welcome! Benvenuti! Ci vediamo al Club Italiano!​

SKHS Color Run

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Bridgette DuBois and Paris Sekator- UCA All-American Cheerleaders

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Lit Drama Field Trip

Students from Mrs. Josephson's college credit Literary Drama course visited URI on Oct. 21st for a production of Pulitzer Prize author David Lindsay-Abaire's Good People. Before the play, students participated in a discussion with director Bryna Wortman, touching upon issues of inequality and the American Dream, the topic of this year's URI Honors Colloquium. After the production, students participated in a Q & A session with the actors, including SKHS alumni Laura Kennedy and Maggie Papa (center of photo w. current students).
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Guidance Department Items

  • New Student Breakfast: a welcome breakfast to recognize the new students to our SK community hosted by the Guidance Department

  • Freshman Mentors welcomed ninth graders on Opening Day and have been visiting with Ninth Graders in Advisory

  • PSAT informational workshops for sophomores and juniors to be held October 13 and 14 during Advisory

  • Financial Aid Night for families of juniors and seniors on Oct 5 to be held in collaboration with College Planning Center of RI; 6:30, Cafeteria

  • Mini College Fair attended by 28 college reps and over 160 students on Sept. 22

  • RI College Early Enrollment meeting for juniors and seniors: Oct 13th

  • Throughout the fall we are welcoming more than 58 individual college representatives

  • Welcoming Mr. Jeff Taber to our department!