SKHS Principal's Newsletter

May 2018

From the Desk of Mr. Mezzanotte...

May is upon us and finally the weather seems to be turning the corner. The end of the year is fast approaching but there is still much to do before we break for the summer. Over the next few weeks, we will be celebrating the achievements of our senior class as they prepare to walk across the stage at the Ryan Center on June 12th. This is also the time of year when our students will be showcasing their abilities in many different ways- SAT testing, Night of the Arts, Pops Concert, and athletics just to name a few. Our staff is busy preparing to end the year on a good note, while also getting in good shape to start next year. We have some exciting changes for next year that we are proud to announce to our current and incoming students. As always, this newsletter is intended to provide information about our school's upcoming events as well as the accomplishments of our students. Please email me at rmezzanotte@sksd-ri.net with any questions. Enjoy!

Important Information and Annoucements

A couple of quick points...


  • There are many events happening in the next few weeks. Please visit our high school website (click HERE) for a comprehensive list of all events, dates, times, and locations.
  • The high school will be adopting a new block schedule for next year. We feel this schedule will help our students by providing opportunities for more flexibility and personalized learning opportunities. We want to invite parents to a special meeting of the Parent-Teacher Group on Wednesday, May 9th at 6:30 PM in the SKHS library to discuss the new schedule and to address any parent questions.
  • The South Kingstown Alumni Association will be hosting its first-ever Hall of Fame induction ceremony in November of 2018. Over the last few months the association has received over 40 nominations of past SK alumni. For more information about the SK Alumni Association please visit the facebook page by clicking HERE.
  • We are proud to announce that South Kingstown High School has been awarded a $50,000 grant to start a new training program for prospective certified nursing assistants and emergency medical technicians. This money will go directly to setting up suitable facilities within South Kingstown High School so that students may earn licensing credentials while still in high school.
  • Be sure to attend our upcoming showcases: SKHS Music presents our annual Pops Concert on Wednesday, May 16th at 7:00 PM in the auditorium. Also, the SKHS Fine Arts Department will hold its annual Night of the Arts event on Thursday evening, May 24th, starting at 6:30.

End of Year Important Dates

  • May 30- Last instructional day for Seniors
  • May 31 through June 4- Senior Exams
  • June 12- Graduation at Ryan Center
  • June 20- Last instructional day for underclassmen
  • June 21 through June 26- Underclassmen Exams

Rebel Athletics

SKPades and Dodgeball

The famous SKPades event was held on March 17 and 18 of this year. This year's theme was a parody of "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory", and it featured performances by members of the SKHS Class of 2019. The students did an outstanding job! Special thanks to our SKPades advisors Andi Kenyon, Daniel Gagnon, Katy Thomas and Mary Kutcher.


Also, our very popular Dodeball tournament was held on March 9th, and it featured spirited competition for all teams. This year featured some of the highest levels of student participation in years, and a great time was had by all!

Congratulations Karen Murphy- District Teacher of the Year

We are thrilled to announce that Ms. Karen Murphy, SKHS PE/Health teacher, has been named the South Kingstown District Teacher of the Year! Ms. Murphy has earned this distinction through her hard work and talents as an educator. Over the last few years she has served as a leader in bringing the Choose Love initiative to our district. Karen has led a group of SKHS students to spread positive messages about compassion, courage, gratitude and forgiveness. She has embodied the spirit of mindfulness and selflessness that we aim to impart on our students. In addition to being selected as our District Teacher of the Year, the Lindsay Ann Burke Memorial Foundation awarded Karen with the "Lindsay's Friend" award for her excellence in educating young people about teen dating violence. She has made a tremendous impact on her students and on our school as a whole and we are very lucky to have her. Below is a picture of Karen receiving her "Lindsay's Friend" Award. Please click HERE to read an article from the South County Independent. Congratulations Karen!
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You Inspire Me Award

The "You Inspire Me" Award is a new award that was recently introduced by the South Kingstown School Committee. This award is intended for teachers and administrators to recognize students who inspire them to be the best they can be as educators. Teachers can nominate students by sending in a one-page letter on behalf of the student. So far, SKHS has had three students recognized as winners!

Congratulations SKHS Students

  • Grade 12 student Mackenzie Fish was awarded a $500 Director's Award Scholarship by the prestigious Wickford Art Association. Mackenzie has been invited to display her work at the Wickford Art Fesitval.
  • SKHS senior Aodhan Meyer was selected to attend the United States Merchant Marine Academy! Nominated by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Aodhan is approximately one of 280 Appointees selected to attend the Academy from around the nation and world, out of over 1,900 applicants. An Appointment to the Academy is the equivalent of a scholarship worth approximately $262,000 over a four-year period. Congratulations Aodhan!
  • Four SKHS students were featured at the English Language Learner Gallery Walk at Providence College on April 5th. This event was sponsored by the Rhode Island Teachers of English Language Learners (RITELL) and the Rhode Island English Learner Advisory Council (RIEL). The students are Mary Rose Alchihed, Crisleiny Cuevas, Papa Badiane and Cindi Francis Borges. These students were assisted by their teachers Ms. Silvaggio and Ms. Bianchi. Congratulations!
  • Alex Crudale was recognized by the SKHS Parent-Teacher Group for his exceptional learner qualities and dedication to his school community. Among the comments from his teachers included: "He consistently demonstrates a positive and mature demeanor while being a consistently good influence on those around him each day. He is an excellent student in every regard." Also nominated were students Madison Miller, Broc French, Catherine Rekos, Devin Lloyd, and Anika Tomlinson

SKHS at the RI State Science and Engineering Fair

Twelve SKHS students attended the Rhode Island Science and Engineering Fair on March 17. They presented their research along with hundreds of other students from around the state. The students presented to faculty and industry judges from URI, RIC, Brown, CCRI, NUWC, Raytheon and Electric Boat among others. The students and their projects are as follows:


Ian Lucht and Mitch Schulz – Making biodiesel from different oils

Abby Marcotte and Kacie Curran – Oil spill remediation with mycelium

Caden Guertin – The Effect of Peppermint Oil on Human Reaction Time

Maggie Rodgers – The effectiveness of ethanol as a gasoline additive

Emma Tondre – Training slime mold to go through a maze

Parker Smith – Laser light reaction when passed through multiple slits

Justin Walker – Effective Ways to Clean Up Oil Spills

Rob Skokowski and Logan Pierce – Testing fertilizers effect on grass

Rob and Logan earned a special award from the U.S. Metric Association Award for best use of SI units

Olivia Kelly – How does pH level of water affect RI oysters?


Olivia received all of the following special awards for her project and presentation:

1. Narragansett Bay Commission’s Excellence Award

2. ASU: Walton Sustainability Solutions Award

3. NASA Earth System Science Award

4. (Stockholm Junior Water Prize) Regional Water Prize Award

5. Coastal Resources Management Controls Certificate Award: Third Place

6. Ricoh Sustainable Development Award 2018

7. American Meteorological Society’s Certificate of Outstanding Achievement


School Counseling Corner

  • During quarter three, sophomores learned in their SK102 class about the Occupational Network (https://www.onetonline.org/), an excellent website for career exploration. They completed the interest profile and identified careers that align with their current interests. Sophomores also discovered skills to improve their working memory and hopefully are using these skills to prepare for assessments.
  • Juniors are now in SK103. In collaboration with the SK103 teachers, the school counselors will be assisting students with resume writing. Counselors will share with students information to complete an in-depth college search, which includes reviewing transcripts and the Big Futures website (https://bigfuture.collegeboard.orghttps://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/) In addition, counselors will also explore education and skills necessary to enter the workforce upon graduation with students who are considering this path.
  • Scholarships continue to be posted for seniors at http://hs.skschools.net/departments/guidance/scholarship_information. The final instructional day for seniors is May 30, with senior exams on May 31- June 4. Counselors have visited the senior advisories to talk with seniors about their plans after graduation; students should stop by the guidance office if they did not see a school counselor during advisory!
  • Later this month, the school counselors are planning to host a representative from the United States Navy for a short presentation on the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery). If a student took the ASVAB this year and has questions about the results, he or she is also welcome to attend this workshop. Attending the workshop or taking the ASVAB does not commit a student to military service. More details to follow in emails and morning announcements.
  • The Wakefield Rotary Club honors students who demonstrate the Rotary Club's mission of "Service over Self". Congratulations to SKHS students Brittany Holland and Joseph Biafore for receiving the awards for March and April, respectively. Brittany and Joseph have been very active in promoting a positive school culture through their involvement in various school activities including the Rowdy Rebels Fan Club and the Jesse Lewis Choose Love initiative.
  • On April 27th, SKHS students attended the CCRI Technology Open House. At this event, each student participated in two hands-on activities while they learned about different technologies and concepts related to different career paths. Students reported that the day was both fun and informative.

SKHS Students Travel to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands

On the first Sunday of April vacation, at an early hour, thirty students and five science teachers from South Kingstown High School boarded a bus for Logan Airport -- the first leg of a journey that would take them to Quito, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. Over nine days the group snorkeled among sea lions, sea turtles and tropical fishes; swam at Tortuga Bay; hiked to the rim of a volcano; visited flamingos and giant tortoises in their natural habitats; boated from one island to the next while dolphins swam alongside; practiced Spanish and bargaining skills in the largest indigenous village in Ecuador; sampled guinea pig for lunch (okay, only some students tried this!); explored a 17th century monastery (even climbed up on the roof); and watched eagles and hawks soar overhead. The days were magical…and exhausting. Students begged for a day when they could sleep in until 7AM, but on the other hand, nobody wanted to miss a moment of the activities. And what a great group of travelers the students turned out to be. Always up for the next adventure and displaying many acts of kindness and generosity throughout the trip.
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SKHS Music News


  • SKHS Music presented its Spring Concert on March 22nd and featured inspired performances by all of the school's musical ensembles including the Jazz Band, Chorus, eSKape, Concert Band and Orchestra. Additionally, all of our school groups presented a short "preview" performance for grade six students from Broad Rock Middle School on Monday, March 19th followed by a brief question and answer session where students engaged with each other discussing the music programs in the high school and middle school. we look forward to seeing these young musicians in a few years!
  • SKHS hosted this year's RI Music Educators Orchestra Festival on Monday, March 26th. Performing on the festival this year were Middle and High Schools from North Kingstown, Warwick, Newport and Bristol-Warren who performed their best music and received adjudication from three judges in attendance. The SKHS Orchestra again received the highest rating possible, SUPERIOR at this year's festival, earning high praise from three independent adjudicators. Congratulations to all of our HS Orchestra Members!
  • The HS Orchestra joined their fellow district-wide string players at this year’s “Spring String Fling” on Wednesday night April 4th. The auditorium was filled with parents, teachers, friends, and hundreds of student string musicians showing their hard work! Congrats to music teachers Laurette Vitello, Paul Colombino, Karen Toy, Andrea Theroux and Christine Pierce for preparing these fine young musicians so well!
  • Congratulations to our fine students in the SKHS Concert Band! They performed for the first time in seven years at the RIMEA Band Festival held at East Providence High School on Friday April 13th. They shared the stage that day with High School Bands from around the state, performing for a distinguished panel of judges over two days of concerts. The band earned the highest award, SUPERIOR, at this event and were praised for their musicality, maturity, and convincing interpretation of advanced literature. Congrats to all of our High School Band members on this achievement!
  • The SKHS Jazz Band guest performed with the North Kingstown HS Jazz Bands on Thursday, April 26th at the school’s annual “Jazz Night”. In addition, the SK Jazz Band shared dinner and played together with students from Narragansett HS in February. Both events have helped our students to strengthen their connections with other students in our surrounding communities!
  • SKHS Music Students are working hard preparing for our May Pops Concert on Wednesday, May 16th. All of our music ensembles will perform everything from film /TV music to classic rock and jazz! (featuring music from "La La Land", "Mission Impossible", Classic Westerns, great jazz standards plus classic rock from Queen, The Who and a special finale performance of Tchaikovsky's iconic “1812 Overture”). It's going to be a really great night!
  • JAZZ BY THE SEA ‘18: Be sure to get your tickets early for the Music Boosters annual event, “Jazz By The Sea” on Sunday, May 27th at the Dunes Club benefitting music scholarships for our SK students throughout the district! Ticket information can be found on the Music Boosters website by clicking HERE.

Learning at SKHS

  • Major revitalization of the SKHS gardens and greenhouse has begun! Environmental biology students and many after school volunteers, mostly sophomores from Mrs. Galoob's biology classes, have moved wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow of mulch. Inside the greenhouse we are rearing lettuce, tomato, and many varieties of flower seedlings. We'll be transplanting into the garden beds and selling the remains on Saturday May 19th from 10-2.
  • Students enrolled in Mrs. Josephson's URI Writing 104 class recently attended an April conference on conducting academic research led by URI Prof. J Kinnie. The newly redesigned WRT 104 class was also featured in URI's online magazine URI Today. SKHS is one of the first high schools in the state to pilot this exciting new course. You can read more about the course by clicking HERE. Students can sign up to take this free college credit course senior year!
  • The Visual Arts Mixed Media Classes have been collaborating this semester with STEAM themes. Presently, students have been studying and creating in the art of historic Japanese Shibori Methods. Techniques of resisting and adding dyes , along with folding, twisting, wrapping, and clamping fabric, has resulted in beautiful results. We are so proud of our students especially when we see their reactions to their art!

Academic Decathalon

The 2018 SKHS Academic Decathlon Team place 8th out of 17 teams at the March 18th competition.


Our captains, senior Hossam Zaki and juniors Maggie Rodgers and Jack Vetter, were great leaders for our young team with Jack being our top team scorer. Junior Will Beazley earned a silver medal in the Essay portion, and sophomore Sam Conley earned a silver medal in Science and a bronze medal in Art! Will and Sam also finished 2nd and 3rd rounding out our top 3 team scorers. Other teammates contributing to our excellent results were seniors Michael Bergner, Sam Kaczynski, Kaitlin Kelley, juniors Catherine Rekos and Angelita Scott, and sophomore Matthew Kelley. With a majority of the team returning next year, our team is poised for even greater success! A special thank you to junior Eloise Davis and senior Emily Passeroni for serving as volunteers for the event. They, too, represented our school very well in their roles as escorts and timekeepers.

SKHS Recycling Club

South Kingstown’s newest after-school club was formed this spring. The club was the brainchild of several ninth graders after discussions and research in their Earth Systems classes about human impact on earth, and what they could do to mitigate problems here in SK.

In the short time since they formed, the club has been busy. They facilitated an evening showing of A Plastic Ocean documentary along with Matunuck’s Junior Girl Scout troop #560, where over 75 students and community members viewed the movie and took part in a panel discussion with local environmental groups. They also met with the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation, custodians, and administration at the high school to discuss how to improve the high school’s recycling program and re-educate the students and staff on recycling.


Seen in the picture are founding members: Sydney Rabidoux, Ian Lucht, and Abby Marcotte.

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Promoting Healthy Choices at SKHS

  • On Friday, April 6th, members of RIPL (Rebels Inspiring Positive Lifestyles) hosted a paint night open to all SKHS students. Lead by art teacher Ann Bianchi, the night was a huge success, with great food, music, and company. A huge thanks to Mrs. Bianchi for guiding us through our paintings and making the night so enjoyable!

  • In March, RIPL’s policy workgroup lobbied for anti-smoking signage to be hung at Old Mountain Field in a presentation to the SK Recreation Commission. After a group cleanup at the park during which the students disposed of over 300 cigarette butts, they took it upon themselves to approach the Rec. Commission with their request. The Commission unanimously approved the request and the signs are currently in the process of being produced.

  • During April break, a group of RIPL students took it upon themselves to spruce up the courtyard by planting flowers and painting rocks with motivational sayings. Now that spring is (finally) here, make sure you stop by and check it out!

  • On Friday, March 23rd a group of SKHS Varsity Athletes Against Substance Abuse (VAASA) traveled to Matunuck Elementary School to read to students in grades K through 4. Their focus was on making positive, healthy choices. The students were: Samantha Hutchins (grade 11), Faith Hutchins (grade 10), Caroline Krekorian (grade 11), Paige Sayour (grade 9), and Anna Vorhaben (grade 9). A special thanks goes out to grade 11 student Montaner Freselli for suggesting the idea.


This I Believe

Finally, I would encourage to listen to the attached audio clip from grade 11 student Angelita Scott. Angelita was featured on NPR's "This I Believe" radio segment. Her essay, which was read on the air, can be found by clicking HERE.


As always, thank you for you continued support of education in South Kingstown.