SKHS Principal's Newsletter

Robert Mezzanotte January 2016

From the Desk of Mr. Mezzanotte

The winter months are here! We've completed the long stretch to the holidays, taken time away for a much-needed vacation, and returned to school with energy and vigor to start the New Year off right! Yes, it's winter, and that means winter sports, mid-term exams, a new schedule of half-year classes, college application deadlines for our seniors, and so many other events that are happening at our school. Since I last drafted a newsletter back in November, we have seen more examples of the talent, hard work and compassion of our students, faculty and staff. Whether we are giving to families in need around the holidays, or cramming for those all-important exams, or rallying to support a young boy, it's clear that special things are happening at South Kingstown High School. It is my goal to use this space to bring attention to as many as possible. Thank you to all who shared their stories with me, and of course thank you to all of our students, teachers, staff members, parents, and community supporters for all that you do.


Please remember to contact me via email at rmezzanotte@sksd-ri.net or by phone at 401-360-1003.

Go Blue for Dorian Murray

The story of Dorian Murray, the 8-year old Westerly boy who is stricken with terminal cancer, inspired SKHS teachers Andi Kenyon and Roe Colao to organize an impromptu school-wide campaign and fundraiser in support of his fight. As part of the global #DSTRONG initiative, Mrs. Kenyon and Mrs. Colao rallied teachers and students to "Go Blue for Dorian". Our compassionate staff and students rose to the occasion, raising well over $500 on very short notice, and also inspiring others to join the fight. The photo below, taken by SKHS teacher Daniel Gagnon, was posted on the #DSTRONG Facebook page, and also appeared on the cover of the Narragansett Times.
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SKHS Students Honored for their Fine Arts Achievement

The following students were honored as Rhode Island Scholastic Art Award Winners:

  • Chad Sherman - Gold Key- printmaking
  • Julia Kutcher - Gold Key - Sculpture
  • Hailey Parente - Gold Key - Photography
  • Thomas Crudale - Silver Key - Photography
  • Sara Demoranville - Siver Key - Photography
  • Gulianna Signorelli - Silver Key - Photography
  • Jamie Thomas - Silver Key - Photography
  • Katarina Tinkova - Honorable mention- Printmaking
  • Anthony Diebold - Honorable mention- Photography
  • Piper Aube- Honorable mention - Drawing
  • Andrew Meyer - Honorable mention -
  • Suki Ullrich - Honorable mention - Drawing
  • Kyle Palma - Honorable mention - Drawing


Gold and Silver key winners will be on exhibit for two weeks and honored at an award ceremony on January 24th at the Hamilton Gallery at Salve Regina University. Congratulations to all recipients!
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Mrs. Blakeney's Class Mural Livens up the Library

Mrs. Blakeney's Art 1 and Art 2 classes collaborated on this pastel mural that is now hanging in the SKHS Library. Over the course of the past 2 weeks, in between finishing projects and taking exams, students chose small 1" squares from a pile of 72 previously cut-up squares. They drew their squares larger (on 8" drawing paper), using chalk pastels. Mrs. Blakeney then assembled the 72 individual drawings after school. The students didn't see the larger image at any point in the process. Once completed and assembled, students saw their creation by visiting the library. Here is what they saw:
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SKHS Music

We are thrilled that 32 SKHS students have been accepted into RIMEA All State Ensembles. They will be rehearsing four times leading up to their final performances on March 16 for Jazz and March 20 for Band, Chorus and Orchestra.


Michael Robinson and Callan Napier were also accepted into the Southern New England Honor Band at URI. They will be performing on Saturday, January 30th!


The drama and music departments will be presenting "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" this Thursday through Sunday in the auditorium. Tickets are $10 for students and $12 for adults.


The SKHS Pep Band has been playing at some of the home basketball games. With a new list of energetic tunes, they are supporting their classmates and keeping the crowd pumped during the games.


Finally, the holiday concert was a huge success as were our two in-school mini concerts leading up to Winter Break. Our next concert is scheduled for March 31st and we are planning a diverse program of new, challenging music.


Here are our 32 All-State students:

Elissa Axelrod

Spencer Barber

Sophia Brown

Jeremy Chiang

Thomas Crudale

Mia DiCataldo

Faares Deeb

Haley Dionne

Isabelle Fisher

Matthew Green

Jeff Kimmerlein

Ivy Lanz

Devin Lloyd

Elizabeth MacManus

Isobel McCullough

Peter Meyer

Madison Miller

Callan Napier

Ian Pierce

Kaitlin Pothier

Emily Redmond

George Richter

Matthew Robinson

Michael Robinson

Sierra Rowley

John Santini

Luca Simeone

Olivia Sipperly

Mitchell Sroka

Anika Tomlinson

Erica Winn

Hossam Zaki

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SKHS Debate Team

The SKHS Debate Team, under the leadership of Mrs. Sorlien and Ms. Thomas, is an after school team that meets weekly to prepare for a once monthly tournament sponsored by the Rhode Island Forensics League. Approximately 40 SKHS students participate and compete against students from other schools such as Barrington, Wheeler, Classical, Mount Hope, East Greenwich and Cumberland. The top teams and individual speakers are awarded medals or certificates and are then eligible to compete at the state meet in March. This year, we have had several students place and receive honors. Congratulations to seniors: Phoebe McCaffrey, Daniel Glickman, Emma McCool-Guglielmo, Seamus Slade, Cayley Brennan, Madison West and Fiona Forrester; juniors: Elias O'Brien, Matt McGovern and Ben Trager; Sophomores Kara Waldheger and Sarah LeClair; and freshman Lillian Hogan.

Looking forward to our last debate on February 6 and the state meet on February 27.

Drunk Driving Presentation

On Thursday, January 14th, the Junior Health classes were lucky to have Officer Chappell from the South Kingstown Police Department come in to speak to them about the dangers of drinking and driving. Officer Chappell has been an intricate part of the Junior health curriculum over the last 14 years. He shares his experiences of working the night shift and coming on scene to some horrible drinking and driving accidents in our town. His stories provoked a lot of discussion and captured everyone's attention who walked through the library while he was presenting. Officer Chappell does an amazing job of helping the students understand the factors involved in the dangers of teenage drunk driving as well as alerting the students on the precautions they can take to avoid future accidents. His years of wisdom on the force enable him to captivate any audience put in front of him. He always end his presentation by allowing the students to use the Fatal Vision Goggles that were donated by the John Sisson Foundation many years ago. The Health Department appreciates him sharing his knowledge to help our students make better decisions now and in the future.
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Students Show their Stuff in Science

The SKHS annual science fair was held on Tuesday Jan 12th, under the leadership of Mrs. Russell. A total of 85 projects were presented. The winners were as follows:


1st place - Alyssa Bader for her project on the strength of acrobatic harnesses

2nd place - Timothy Burnap for his project on humans' ability to carry a tune

3rd place - Hossam Zaki for his project that tested multiple types of water filters to see which worked best.


The Best in Fair voting chose Chris Nadeau's project on the aerodynamics of different types of nosecones


In addition, the Narrow River Preservation Association came and judged any environmental projects. They gave several awards:


Their winner was Abby Cobb for her project on the best way to clean up an oil spill.

Honorable Mentions were: Hossam Zaki for the water filter project; Matthew Kutcher for a project on creating energy through the electrolysis of water; Cristian Rodriguez-Gervais for his project on natural remedies against bacteria; and Sierra Rowley for her project on the amount of microplastics found in Narragansett Bay.


SKHS will send the top 14 students on to the RI Science and Engineering Fair taking place the first weekend in April. Congratulations to all winners!

YMCA Cardboard Regatta

On December 8th, Mrs. Dillmann’s Maritime Science Class, in a cooperative venture with Heather Sargeant, the aquatics director at the YMCA, hosted the 3rd annual cardboard boat regatta. As part of a unit on density, buoyancy and boat building, members of the class, either in teams or working alone, designed and built their own cardboard vessels. The vessels had to support the weight of all members of the group and travel the required distance in the pool. All vessels required a theme and team members came dressed in a costume that complemented their theme. As part of their grade, team members were interviewed by YMCA staff about their calculations and design process. Students calculated total hull volume, vessel density, displacement, and the depth to which their fully loaded boat will sink in the water. Prior to this culminating event students had built and completed their calculations on smaller-scale prototypes. These prototypes provide a basis for final design and engineering modifications, such as changes in hull shape, center of gravity and the design of better reinforcing structures. Many thanks to the YMCA for hosting this event.

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Academic Success Academy Students of the Month

The Academic Success Academy (ASA), under the leadership of Mr. Young, selects students each month who demonstrate the values that we strive to achieve. Here is a list of the students who have been honored:


September 2015

Zachary Neighbors - Positive Attitude and Outstanding Achievement

Cameron Brown - Outstanding Work Ethic and Attitude

Papa Badiane - Outstanding Work Ethic and Attitude

Julie Byrnes - Outstanding Work Ethic and Attitude


October 2015

Tahira Haughton - Outstanding Work Ethic and Attitude

Jenna Hannafin - Outstanding Attitude and Performance

Nastasha Martinez - Outstanding Work Ethic and Attitude

Bo Brutti - Outstanding Achievement


November 2015

Jared Day - Outstanding Achievement - Leadership

Colby Hagemosher - Outstanding Achievement

Blaine Lidsky (pictured below with Mr. Young)- Outstanding Leadership

Dar-Nell Morales - Outstanding Work Ethic and Attitude

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History Comes Alive!

Over 120 Western Civilization students in Mr. Shiels and Ms. Dacyczyns' classes gathered for the 12th annual Greek and Roman Festival at SKHS. The student presentations, costumes and culinary dishes representing the ancient Greek and Roman characters were spectacular. Congratulations to Loren DaQuattro and Hope Dailey for being awarded best overall characters at the Festival.


Also, students in Military History, the History of the Holocaust and Rhode Island History classes set out for an historical adventure in Newport, Rhode Island on December 10th. The holiday-dressed Breakers Mansion was a remarkable site for all those who attended. Other major historical stops included Fort Adams, The Great Friends Meeting House and Touro Synagogue.

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Guidance Happenings

Tutoring is taking place every Tuesday, during advisory, in the library. Tutors will be available in all subjects. Please remind your son/daughter to bring their notebook, recent homework assignments, and upcoming projects to tutoring.



The South Kingstown High School Post-Secondary Planning Night is sponsored by the Guidance Department. It will be held on Wednesday, February 3rd at 6:30 PM in the Auditorium. A panel of five post-secondary schools admissions officers will be present to review sample student transcripts. Samples will be reviewed by the admissions officers. The admissions process will also be discussed for each school.

This allows grade 9, 10, and 11 students and families the opportunity to consider current course selection, prepare for college admissions testing, and develop a clearer understanding of how the transcript is reviewed by various post-secondary schools. All aspects of forward planning will be covered.


All students and families are invited.