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RHS English Department


Chad Bigsby

Mr. Bigsby's Website

Carol Cahill (Department Head)

Kendra Donovan

Amanda McDonough

Chris Neal

Kristen Walsh

Ms. Walsh's Website

Introduction to Literary Studies

Fantasy & Science Fiction

Literature and Human Nature

Fantasy & Science Fiction

American Literature

AP English Language &  Composition

Fantasy & Science Fiction

AP English Literature & Composition

Conversations in

World Literature

Fantasy & Science Fiction


Introduction to Literary Studies is a course which includes the study of a wide range of literature through the use of thematic units.  The course will cover a variety of spoken and written assignments with emphasis on organization, development of content and clarity expression.  When necessary, attention will be focused on development of reading skills and techniques, vocabulary comprehension, and fundamentals of grammar.   An Honors option is offered with teacher recommendation.



In Literature and Human Nature, the various forms of literature are studied and carefully examined for their unique characteristics and the ways in which each provides insight into the human experience.  Literature will be read and discussed in order to explore essential questions about human nature.  Writing and speaking assignments will be related to the themes and general concerns of the literature read.  Students will build upon skills learned in Introduction to Literary Studies, with a focus on increased vocabulary, sophistication or writing and integration of textual evidence.  This course will prepare students for the MCAS Exam.   An Honors option is offered with teacher recommendation.


AMERICAN LITERATURE (1 Credit) (Grade 11)

American Literature is a course that explores the development and impact of American Literature from the Puritans to the twenty-first century.  Two questions permeate the course and formulate a prevailing theme: what is the American identity and what is the “American Dream?” The course concentrates on developing independent critical analysis and advanced academic writing skills.  In conjunction with the Guidance Department, students will complete a college portfolio including writing the college application essay/personal statement.



This is a college-level course for highly motivated and academically talented juniors. The primary goals of the course, as stated in the College Board’s Description, are to “enable students to read complex texts with understanding and to write prose of sufficient richness and complexity to communicate effectively with mature readers.” Students will read and analyze a wide variety of texts, concentrating on nonfiction; write for a range of purposes and audiences; practice the skills of research, synthesis, summarizing, paraphrasing, quoting, and citing; improve their vocabularies and command of English grammar and syntax; and develop a greater understanding of both the writing process and rhetorical strategies. Articulate, precise, and engaging language will be encouraged and reinforced in writing assignments, oral presentations, and class discussions.  In conjunction with the Guidance Department, students will complete a college portfolio including writing the college application essay/personal statement.  The course is open to juniors who are recommended by their sophomore English teachers and who submit a letter committing to the course’s workload and to taking the AP exam.  



In this class, students will study some of the important questions found in literature. What is evil? Is there such a thing as fate? How has humanity changed through the ages?  As a college preparatory course, students will review grammar and vocabulary and they will continue to enhance their writing skills, especially in the area of academic writing.  In addition, an emphasis will be placed on presentations and public speaking.  Students will also complete a senior project.



Advanced Placement English is a college-level course for the highly motivated and academically talented student. This course challenges students to attain critical writing and reading skills. This class studies classic and modern texts of British, American and European literature drawn from the sixteenth century to the present. Novels, short stories, essay, drama, and poetry will also be studied over the course of the year.  The course is open to seniors who are recommended by their sophomore English teachers and who submit a letter committing to the course’s workload.




FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION (½ Credit) (Grades 9 – 12)

Ever want to escape your humdrum, bland life?  Do far-off lands intrigue you?  Have you ever suspected your real talents are going to waste?  Then celebrate the other wanderers, underdogs, outliers, and ruffians that populate so many of our favorite novels.  From Katniss Everdeen, Samwise Gamgee, Roland of Gilead, and Tyrion Lannister, fantasy and science fiction contain some of the most compelling characters of all time.  Whether these heroes face corrupt governments, nuclear mutants, or poor-hungry wizards, they importantly remind us what it is to be human.  Course does not count as an English credit.

  • Poetry Out Loud- January 19, 2018

Last year Genesis Rojas took home first place and advanced to the state finals in Boston.


  • Spellman Oratorical- April 10, 2018

Last year, RHS students competed in the annual Spellman Oratorical Contest. The topic for last year’s Spellman Oratorical Contest was The Question, Not the Answer.  8 seniors competed for $3,000 in prize money. This year’s speeches were articulate and original. Prize money was awarded from a trust established by the late Francis Cardinal Spellman of Whitman in memory of his mother, Ellen Conway Spellman. Winners of the contest were Evan Murphy who took first place honors and $1000. Jurnee Dunn who came in second, winning $700; third place went to Jessica Lutts who won $500; Sophie McLellan came in fourth winning $300; Emily Delaney was fifth and won $200; and Luana Lima, Lauren Zaremba, and Mike Belmonte placed 6th, 7th, and 8th, each winning $100. Congratulations to these students!

  • Shakespeare Festival

Once every four years, RHS hosts a 2 night Shakespeare Festival to celebrate Shakespeare. The King and Queen are crowned, students and staff perform in front of a sold-out audience, and all who attend enjoy a delicious feast!

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