Cardinal Notes

information and reflection about Joseph Case High School

Volume 13, No. 21 *** May 12, 2017

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Case Theatre's THE DROWSY CHAPERONE opens tonight

Case High Theatre Company will present the hilarious, family musical The Drowsy Chaperone this weekend in the Tom Marcello Memorial Theater at Joseph Case High School. The production will be presented Friday and Saturday night at 7:30 p.m., with Sunday's matinee beginning at 2 p.m.

Tickets are still available and can be purchased at the door for $10 general admission.

The Drowsy Chaperone parodies American musical comedies of the 1920s. The storyline involves an asocial theater fan who plays his favorite musical show album for the audience as the actual production about a wedding-gone-wrong comes alive onstage.

Case High Fun Fact: Superintendent of Schools John Robidoux will make a cameo appearance at Friday's night performance.

On a personal note: The Drowsy Chaperone is one of my favorite Broadway musicals produced in the last ten years. I saw its original cast in New York and liked it so much that I returned with my family to see it again a few months later. I can't remember having such a joyous time at a musical with the show's humor, great songs, terrific dancing, and high energy! I hope you enjoy The Drowsy Chaperone as much as I.


Sophomore students will take their (potentially) final high stakes, state assessment with the Math MCAS next week (May 16-17). In following up this Wednesday's advisory with the Class of 2019, Case families can help by urging students the need to be in school ON TIME during these testing days. Cell phones/smart watches are not allowed in the testing areas. Students are strongly urged to keep them in their lockers during the scope of the two-day exam.

Students are required to earn a score of at least 220 on each of the ELA, math and science tests as one condition of receiving a high school diploma. They must also fulfill the requirements of an EPP if they do not earn a score of at least 240 on both the ELA and math tests. Students will be given multiple opportunities before the end of their senior year to retake tests in the subjects in which they have not met competency determination requirements.

First-time scores from the ELA, math and science tests are components of the Adams Scholarship eligibility criteria. Student test scores are also used to determine eligibility for the Stanley Z. Koplik Certificate of Mastery with Distinction Award.

Spring Calendar of Events (as of Friday, May 12, 2017)

May 12-14 -- Case Theatre: The Drowsy Chaperone

May 15 -- Annual Town Meeting, Auditorium, 7 p.m.

May 16-17 -- MCAS Math for sophomore

May 16 -- School Council Meeting, 6:30 p.m.

May 17 -- Child Care Banquet, Venus deMilo, 6 p.m.

May 18 -- High School Spring Music Concert, 7 p.m.

May 24 -- Senior Ice Cream Social and Yearbook Distribution, 1:30-2:15 p.m.

May 25 -- Last day for Seniors - graduation rehearsal; senior dismissal at 10 a.m.; Junior-Senior Prom, Lakeview Pavilion, Foxboro, Mass., 6-11 p.m.

May 26 -- Senior grades finalized: All academic and financial responsibilities should be completed.

May 29 -- No School: Memorial Day

May 30 -- Senior Class Outing, Six Flags Amusement Park, Agawam, Mass.

May 31 -- Senior Graduation Rehearsal – 8:30-10:30 a.m.; Spring Athletic Assembly – Dinner, 6 p.m.; Assembly, 7 p.m.

June 1 -- Senior Graduation Rehearsal - 8:30-10:30 a.m.; Class Night, 7 p.m.

June 4 -- Graduation, 1 p.m., Cardinal Stadium

June 5-6 -- MCAS Science for freshmen

June 20 -- Last day of school

Finally: troubling trends

In the past two weeks, I have learned of two scary national trends: one involving a cable TV show; the other a social media challenge: 13 Reasons Why and the Blue Whale Challenge. Both idealize and glorify teenage self-harm and suicide.

  • 13 Reasons Why is a web-based television show based on a novel about teen suicide
  • Click here for a local TV news station's report on the Blue Whale Challenge

As a parent, I did what many of you do: I asked my own children about these items trending in popular culture. My high school daughter was knowledgeable about both. I was fortunate, however, that she also communicated the danger of both.

The National Association of School Psychologists recently published the following:


  1. Ask your child if they have heard or seen the series 13 Reasons Why. While we don’t recommend that they be encouraged to view the series, do tell them you want to watch it, with them or to catch up, and discuss their thoughts.
  2. If they exhibit any of the warning signs above, don’t be afraid to ask if they have thought about suicide or if someone is hurting them. Raising the issue of suicide does not increase the risk or plant the idea. On the contrary, it creates the opportunity to offer help.
  3. Ask your child if they think any of their friends or classmates exhibit warning signs. Talk with them about how to seek help for their friend or classmate. Guide them on how to respond when they see or hear any of the warning signs.
  4. Listen to your children’s comments without judgment. Doing so requires that you fully concentrate, understand, respond, and then remember what is being said. Put your own agenda aside.
  5. Get help from a school-employed or community-based mental health professional if you are concerned for your child’s safety or the safety of one of their peers.


  1. Suicide is never a solution. It is an irreversible choice regarding a temporary problem. There is help. If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide or know someone who is, talk to a trusted adult, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or text “START” to 741741.
  2. Don't be afraid to talk to your friends about how they feel and let them know you care about them.
  3. Be an “upstander” and take actions to reduce bullying and increase positive connections among others. Report concerns.
  4. Never promise to keep secret behaviors that represent a danger toward another person.
  5. Suicide is preventable. People considering suicide typically say something or do something that is a warning sign. Always take warning signs seriously and know the warning signs.
    • Suicide threats, both direct ("I am going to kill myself.") and indirect ("I wish I could fall asleep and never wake up."). Can be verbal, written, or posted online.
    • Suicide notes and planning, including online postings.
    • Preoccupation with death in conversation, writing, drawing, and social media.
    • Changes in behavior, appearance/hygiene, thoughts, and/or feelings.
    • Emotional distress.
  6. Separate myths and facts.
    • MYTH: Talking about suicide will make someone choose death by suicide who has never thought about it before. FACT: There is no evidence to suggest that talking about suicide plants the idea. Talking with your friend about how they feel and letting them know that you care about them is important. This is the first step in getting your friend help.
    • MYTH: People who struggle with depression or other mental illness are just weak. FACT: Depression and other mental illnesses are serious health conditions and are treatable.
    • MYTH: People who talk about suicide won't really do it. FACT: People, particularly young people who are thinking about suicide, typically demonstrate warning signs. Always take these warning signs seriously.
  7. Never leave the person alone; seek out a trusted adult immediately. School-employed mental health professionals like your school psychologist are trusted sources of help.

(National Association of School Psychologists. (2017). 13 Reasons Why Netflix series: Considerations for educators [handout]. Bethesda, MD: Author.)

Have a conversation with your child. Please reach out to us at the high school if we can help you navigate any follow-up.

The gift of strength may be the best Mother's Day present of all. A happy day to you on Sunday as well as others who are a maternal influence on our community,