ROCK Strong to benefit two students with health issues

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Vernon - posted Thu., Nov. 21, 2013

Some Rockville High School students are getting ready to put on a one-night-only music and art festival, inspired by some school-mates of theirs who could use a little help.

The RHS Unity Team began last year, started by about 10 students who are interested in and dedicated to promoting a positive school environment.

In the past year, they have placed positive post-it notes throughout the school, and have created Valentine’s Day cards for every student in school, which were put on lockers. The students have also attended conferences on cultural awareness and diversity.
When the group first met this fall, they began brainstorming ideas, and decided to rally around two students – both of which are freshmen – who they learned are battling serious illness, and decided to create a music and arts event to help. One of the students is receiving treatments for leukemia. The other is soon to receive a liver transplant.

“This is the first really big event for the Unity Team,” said Alysse Hoagland, the group’s advisor. “They really wanted to do something to bring awareness and support for them.”

The auditorium at Rockville High School will be home to the first “ROCK Strong” event, patterned after some larger music and arts festivals. Several bands will be included, as well as other musical acts, student poetry, and visual art. The three headlining bands include Loveland Hill (fronted by former RHS student resource officer Earl Middleton), Outline Alaska (comprised of RHS seniors), and The Basement Boys. Other bands may also be added. Hoagland said more students and volunteers are still coming forward with interest in being part of the event, so a the lineup may not be final until close to showtime.

Creative writing students will be reading their poems, and other solo vocalists and musicians will be performing.
The auditorium lobby will contain a student art exhibit. RHS senior artist Emily Seekins has also created a commemorative poster that will be sold at the event.

There is no admission charge, but a goodwill donation of $5 is recommended. Proceeds from that, as well as several raffle baskets and a bake sale, will go to the families of the two students.

“We’re really looking forward to a strong event,” Hoagland said, adding that when the word first went out to others across the school system that they were looking for baskets to raffle as prizes, it took only five minutes to receive responses that have been streaming in ever since.

“Everyone has been supportive and excited about the event,” she said.

ROCK Strong takes place Dec. 4, from 6 to 9:30 p.m., at the RHS Auditorium.
For more information, contact Alysse Hoagland at

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