Wrapping up the school year

As Hollis Brookline High School students and faculty end the school year, let’s take a moment to acknowledge our school’s achievements, thank the teachers who are leaving, and even welcome a new member to our community!

Final HB achievements by Sehar Gogia
Though this year has been tough, students at HB have left behind some amazing memories and achievements. Many students were awarded during the Class Day awards this year. One student was Annabelle Jesse ‘23, who won an award for English. “I felt very happy to receive an award, especially for a subject I really love,” said Jesse. Another award ceremony that took place was the Trig Star awards where Evan Rosenblatt won for this year. Congratulations to both of them as well as the other students who received an award.

Towards the end of the year, the seniors wrapped up their classes and headed to prom and graduation where they finally moved on from HB after four years. “I am so sad to see them go, but I am so excited to see them move on to bigger and better things. Honestly this school year was hard for everyone, but I felt especially bad for the seniors because this was the year that they’d been waiting for, to be at the top of the order, to march into Spirit Week, to have all these events that they’ve looked forward to,” said Christina Ellis, senior class advisor. Even though this year wasn’t as seniors hoped it would be, it still turned out to be okay as they still had prom, spirit week, and graduation.

Best of luck Mr. Barnes by Rachel Brown

This year brought on many unforeseen changes for the students of HBHS, one being the departure of Rick Barnes, the Principal of Hollis Brookline High School. For eight years Mr. Barnes has served the school by supporting it through thick and thin. When the school needed a strong leader to guide it through the hardships of COVID-19, he was there to lend a helping hand. He has been known to have close relationships with his students and has worked hard over his past few years to be inclusive of all types of student input. “This community produces some of the most talented students I have ever worked with. It feels good to know that HB students will no doubt be the leaders of tomorrow,” said Barnes. Students respect and appreciate Mr. Barnes and even developed nicknames for him over the years. “Students respect him and enjoy his steady leadership,” said Lauren Grosse, chair of the English department at HBHS.

He has been a good leader of teachers and staff as well, and will definitely be missed in the years to come. “He has been incredibly supportive of me in this new role and has been available to help with any challenges I face. He offers advice and support but never pushes it on me,” said Grosse, continuing to say, “I couldn’t have asked for a better Principal for my first years here as I found my footing.”

His decision to leave was made because he believed that it was time for him to move on in his career. “Last time I checked, the average tenure for a principal was four years. I am currently in my eighth year and felt like now was the right time to take on something new,” said Barnes. While students and staff are sad to see him go, they known that he will succeed in all of his plans for the future. “Mr. Barnes has many transferable skills that would serve him well in future endeavors. I wish him the opportunity to pursue options that allow him to share his full abilities and talents in whichever field he chooses,” said Grosse.

Saying goodbye to Mrs. I by Morgan Broadhurst
For the past 20 out of 35 years of her teaching career, Lin Illingworth, known around school as Ms.I, has poured her heart into the English department at Hollis Brookline High School. Giving her all to every student, she is a dedicated and empathetic teacher who is valued for far more than her ability to teach. She always sees the best in students and encourages them to see that side of themselves as well. “I think few students recognize their intrinsic worth. We tend to measure ourselves by what we do or how we look or things on our surface [and] I hope people see their real genuine worth as human beings” said Mrs. I.

Students view her as a figure to look up to and go to when meaningful advice is needed. “Mrs. I is always looking out for students’ mental health and trying to get to know them on a personal level beyond what they can do in the classroom,” expressed Sofia Walle ‘22, a current student of Mrs.I.

Although this is the end of Mrs.I’s time at Hollis Brookline, it is not the end of her continuing to inspire, teach and share her gratitude and passions with others.“We only see the tip of the iceberg about people [so] talk less, listen more. Find out people’s stories” emphazed Mrs.I.

Best of luck, Mrs. Gray! By Grace Sheehy
Tracy Gray has worked with HBHS for 10 years. She started off by working as a part time teacher and then spent many years teaching Freshman Fitness. She is inspiring, motivational, and someone students know they could always go to if they needed help. “I love to move and have hopefully inspired some to be more active and healthy in their choices, to spread love and respect not rumors, and to laugh often,” said Gray. Her work with HBHS has truly made an impact on the community as a whole. “TGray was a good teacher, I had lots of fun in her class, I am sad to see her go,” stated Julia Vella ‘23. Students at HBHS have enjoyed her presence and teaching, and will miss her greatly.

Starting another chapter of her life,Gray will be moving to Florida. She will continue to teach Physical Education as she still enjoys fitness, but she knows HBHS will always have a special place in her heart. “HB will always be a home away from home. Some may not know that I grew up in Hollis and have been coming to HBHS for many years now, many more than just my teaching years. I want HB to remember to smile more, be grateful, and never stop exploring new opportunities to grow!” said Gray.

Fond farewells by Noah Doran

This year, two of Hollis-Brookline’s staff members will be leaving the district. Rebecca Bagtaz, a coach of the Unified Track team and Lauren DiGennaro, and one of the school’s assistant principals respectively. Bagtaz will be leaving the district for a school much closer to her home, cutting her commute by 44 minutes. Though we will be sad to see her go, we can be happy that she will have more time for her life and her own children. “I’ll have over two hours more daily to spend with my own children at home!” said Bagtaz. She thoroughly enjoyed her time in this district, but for her it is time for a new opportunity, “I have been so lucky to have had amazing students throughout my time here,” said Bagtaz.

DiGennaro oversees the special education program along with the school counseling office. She will still be part of the Hollis-Brookline district; however, she will be moving up into the position of assistant superintendent. “The students here at the HS are very special and I enjoy watching them grow as people over their time in high school. I enjoy how busy HBHS is and how involved the students are. In addition, I love how student-centered the school is, due to the incredibly dedicated staff.” Both of these members of Hollis-Brookline staff will be missed not only by their colleagues, but the student body as well. We wish both of them luck in their future positions!

Welcoming Mr. Girzone by Nadia Caplan
HBHS has successfully adapted to many changes in the past few school years as our community grows and also as it needed to adjust to the pandemic. With the spread of COVID-19 coming to a halt while vaccines are being distributed, the hope for many is that the next school year will come together with a fresh start and new opportunities, as our school continues to successfully evolve and overcome changes.

One of the changes resulting from this year is that we will say goodbye to the teachers and staff members who are retiring from HBHS, including former principal, Richard Barnes, and welcome our new principal, Tim Girzone. “I think Mr. Barnes did a great job, and I am glad to have heard good things about the new principal from one of the freshmen,” said Kate Peters, 23′.

Mr. Girzone has been a dedicated worker in the school district for many years now. He has coached many Hollis Brookline sports including softball and football and has had experience teaching many classes at our schools like physical education, wellness, and even more in the past.

Starting in the fall of 2019, Girzone began working at the middle school as the new principal. Many of the freshmen this year are happy to be seeing him again after meeting him in the last school year. “I like that he knew all of the kids and was very understanding of everyone,” said Libby Getter 24’ who remembers him as principal at HBMS.

After a very stressful and hectic year for the school, many people are choosing to focus on the positive and are very thankful the position at HBHS will be filled by someone experienced and trusted in the community.

With a year like no other, the end has been long awaited. For a few teachers, the end of this year means retirement and parting ways with HB. Having them has been an all around incredible addition to our school and we wish them the best of luck with their next path in life. We are all looking forward to the upcoming year, to welcoming new staff, and to what is in store for the future at Hollis Brookline High School.