LINCOLN — Colin Cicerone, a soon to be Lincoln High School ninth-grader, got a good look at his new school on Tuesday thanks to the annual Freshman Roar night for students and their parents.
Cicerone got to take a tour around the school campus and see where his classrooms will be when freshmen start the new school year on Sept. 2.
His parents, Michaela and Paul Cicerone, also took the tour and got to see the progress being made on the town’s $59.8 million Lincoln High School addition and renovation project and met the school’s new principal, Robert Mezzanotte, at the Roars student activities fair, held in the school parking lot at 135 Old River Road.
“So far so good,” Paul Cicerone said of his impressions of the high school and its staff.
“I’m looking at the new building going up, the positive staff, and the principal who is very nice,” Cicerone said of his list of good marks for the open house.
The only negative was that he was feeling his age a bit as a 1990 Lincoln High School graduate who had actually gone to school with many of the staff members he had met.
Michaela Cicerone said she has “high expectations,” for Colin’s success at Lincoln High School given all that she took note of Tuesday evening. “I like the changes they made in the staff,” she added while noting her conversation with Mezzanotte.
Colin was also upbeat about his new school, a notable step up from his time as an eighth grader last year at the middle school.
“It’s pretty nice,” he said after the tour. “I got to go through the building a little bit.”
A friend of Colin’s from the middle school, Christopher Johnson, also had a rating on his first high school experience.
“The school is looking well so far. The building will need to be completed, but other than that, it’s awesome,” Johnson said.
Christopher’s father, Bill Johnson, is also an alum of Lincoln High School and noted that the school is “considerably different” today from when he attended at 135 Old River Road.
But like Christopher, Johnson said he too believes everything will be fine when school starts on Tuesday. “He’ll do fine,” the parent said.
As is Lincoln High School’s tradition, the freshmen will have the school all to themselves on the first day of school and only see the upperclassmen come in on the following day.
Mezzanotte, attending his first Freshman Roar after being named Lincoln High School’s principal over the summer, said everything was going “great” so far.
“This was my first Roar and it’s a big turnout so I’m just thankful for all the student volunteers and faculty who are helping out,” he said.
The parents he met during the Roar were “very welcoming,” Mezzanotte said. “Everyone has been, really, the students, the teachers, everyone has been great, so I am really looking to get to the start of school next week,” he said. Mezzanotte will be leading the school with veteran Lincoln High Assistant Principal Marc Cobb, and another new arrival from South Kingstown like himself, Assistant Principal Shivali Finkelstein, who was named to the post last week.
Students will find the school’s renovation work still under way when they return, but Mezzanotte said everything should be similar to what returning students experienced in the past school year.
The school administration has been working closely with the project’s contractors on minimizing any impact on students, and Mezzanotte said that if problems do arise, “we will react to them when they happen and take steps to resolve them.”
At the Roar, Mezzanotte was busy meeting his school’s new freshmen and signing off their scavenger lists as part of the evening’s fun activities. Emilee Plasse, among those collecting Mezzanotte’s signature, said she found her new principal to be “cool.”
The members of the Class of 2023 were given a class T-shirt from the Roar and also got the chance to meet members of the school’s student organizations, clubs and sports teams.
Jen Greffin, adviser to the drama club, had a big crew of club members helping out at the club’s information table Tuesday night.
“We do a winter musical, a drama festival in March and then a spring play,” Greffin said. The group has about 15 students from last year coming back for the new season, and Greffin said she was looking to sign up a lot more “so we can do ‘Rock of Ages’ for our musical.”
Over at the Culture Club table, Alakanada Krishnan, a sophomore, said her group was looking for freshmen interested in learning about other cultures.
“We just get together to share things like music, food, and dance,” Krishnan said. “We celebrate our own cultures and work to promote unity and diversity,” she added.
The club’s adviser, Dorothy Lareau, said the idea of the club is to help its members explore other people’s culture, and also to dispel any stereotypes or misunderstandings that people might have.
“A lot of kids who join the club are in foreign language classes, but it is not a stipulation to being in the club,” she said. “It may be that you only know English, but you still get to learn about other cultures,” Lareau said.
Seniors Dan Crowley and Olivia Wodogaza were in the parking lot looking for new members of their film club with its adviser, Sarah Lane.
“It’s mainly for viewing different movies and then discussing it as a group,” Crowley said.
The members also just enjoy spending time together after school in the classroom the club meets in and can even get some of their homework done, Wodogaza noted.
While the club is mostly for watching movies and talking about the impact they might have on the viewer, Lane said some of the club’s members also like filmmaking.
“We do have some people who are really passionate about it, and they could do something in film someday,” she said.
Follow Joseph Nadeau on Twitter @JNad75