Johnston pupils say 'thank you' with Appreciation Week feast

High School students show gratitude for their teachers


There were some extraordinary and super special servings of hospitality — as well as respect and love — last week at Johnston High School.

It was an ageless terrific tradition known as Teacher Appreciation Week, which concluded with a lavish luncheon that included everything from specially made pizza and variety of salads to calzones, chicken wings, stuffed shells, eggplant parmigiana, chicken Marsala, baked macaroni and desserts such as cookies, brownies, cupcakes and s’mores amid a setting of colorful table coverings and fresh floral centerpieces.

A host of department heads, teachers, faculty and staff enjoyed a total of 22 homemade dishes that were served by members of the Rebecca Clements led Student Council.

Perhaps teachers Stacy Landi, Lou DiMaio and Emilia Ruggiero said it best about Friday’s luscious luncheon that was held inside the Janice D. Mele Memorial Library under the leadership of Greg Russo — a.k.a. Mr. JHS for all Season and Reasons — who chairs Johnston’s Science Department.

“The kids did a great job,” said Landi while musing: “We should do this every day!”

DiMaio, who is a faculty member/track coach, noted: “I’ve got all my carbs for today; this (luncheon) is extra special.”

Ruggiero, who is the faculty advisor for the JHS chapters of the National and Rhode Island Honor Societies who later last Thursday hosted and emceed the annual Honor Society induction ceremony, said: “Great event, great food, great time … GREAT students.”

There was much more fantastic food throughout the week, which concluded with coffee and pastries sponsored by the Chemistry Club and in addition teachers had a Dress Down Day that included having their cars washed and vacuumed by members of the Student Council led by officers Rebecca and Janet Clements, Charlie Curci and Melanie Capraro who organized the production line.

As the cars were being washed, JHS Music Department heads Ron Lamouruex, Matt Gingras and Oliver Reed sent members of the band and chorus to deliver beautiful candles to teachers.

Likewise, the week closed out with as raffle of a movie basket that was donated by Academic Decathlon teachers Deb Smyth and Kerry Murphy and the raffle for a yearbook from Mr. Harwood and his staff.

“It was indeed a week of appreciation that left many memories of how great our students, clubs, teams and staff, teachers and administrators are at Johnston High School,” Russo emphasized. “Thank you to all who were involved.”

Prior to the wonderful week on Cherry Hill, teachers received a scroll tied in the ribbons to reflect JHS’ colors of Columbia blue and white along with a pen that read courtesy of the Student Council that read: “Happy Teachers Appreciation Week Johnston High School Home of the Panthers.”

The scroll, meanwhile, outlined the events that each of the classes and teams and clubs had planned to commemorate the week.

As Russo explained while sampling some home baked cookies: “The week began with an amazing Bagel Bar sponsored by the Junior Class under the direction of advisor Peg Guilmete and President Josephine Olagundoye and included an assortment of bagels and toppings.

Tuesday also included a number of treats like Del’s Lemonade from the Sophomore Class that Russo called “a novel idea” by advisor Tia Forgetta and Stephanie Galasso and officers while Coach Joe Acciardo’s football and baseball teams provided the famous pizza chips.

Anna Hebert and the Mock Trial Team had cookies and a message that “Thanks for making one smart cookie” that Russo called “a really nice idea from advisor Emilia Ruggiero and President Glorianna Crichlow.”

Wednesday was kicked off in the library where the Principal Dr. Donna Pennachia, Mrs. Volante and Brian Bordieri put on a fabulous spread of omelets, muffins, cakes and breakfast pastries as well as juices to show appreciation to their staffs.

Likewise when teachers went to their in-school mailboxes they found Brewed Awakenings gift cards from the sophomore class which was organized by advisors Deb Smyth and Mike Harwood and Class President Allesandara Pesare.

Also, the JHS football/basketball cheerleaders — along with advisors Dina Melise and Dionna Gadjowski — placed bags of nicely packaged candy in teacher’s mailboxes as yet another “awesome act of kindness, caring and thanks.”

Finally, the Class of 2022, under the direction of President Charlene Hohlmaier and advisors Lisa Freslone and Natasha Zito had baskets from Edible Arrangements placed in each teacher’s room Friday to close out the wonderful week.


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