Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze & Observer 05-28-2020

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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©2020 THE VALLEY BREEZE BREEZE PHOTO BY ROBERT EMERSON Ponaganset senior ALEXANDRA MICHELE GALES switches the tassel on her mortarboard from the right to the left side to indicate that she has graduated during ceremonies at the school last Friday morning, while holding her face covering – a sign of the new normal. Ponaganset High School held the first of two ceremonies for graduating seniors that day. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, half of the school's approximately 170 members of the senior class were given an appointed time to come with their parents to walk across a makeshift stage, receive their diplomas one-by-one and take photos. Coverage of Ponaganset and other local graduations will continue in the coming weeks. SMITHFIELD – Smithfield High School senior Tim Ferron said he hated La Salle Academy during his winning speech in the Oratorical Competition last week, where he pointed out why he felt a public school education is superior to private schools. Though Ferron ended each point of his comical speech with the tagline, "I say, go to public school," his jokes landed in silence as this year's com- petition was live-streamed to adhere to social distance guidelines. At its peak, more than 200 people watched the Oratorical, which is typi- cally held in the school's auditorium in front of the school's underclass- men. This year's Benoit-Salisbury Senior Oratorical Competition is the first year since the death of one of its founders, Robert Benoit. Benoit spent his career at SHS, and according to SHS French teacher Margarita Dempsey, he loved words and believed in the power they held. Dempsey requested a moment of silence in Benoit's memory before starting the May 19 event. "I know he would be so, so delight- ed that we continue to hold this competition," Dempsey said of the 32-year tradition. SHS seniors maintain Oratorical tradition By JACQUELYN MOOREHEAD Valley Breeze & Observer Staff Writer See ORATORICAL, Page 18 Ocean State pastor: Church has left the building Churches planning to continue online efforts SMITHFIELD – God and prayer are always essential, says Rev. Michael Woodward, of the Ocean State Baptist Church. He says this time of stay-at-home rules have shown again that the church is the people, not a building. "We're not a build- ing. We are a church wherever we pray," Woodward said. Woodward said the lesson he feels God is giving during the coronavirus outbreak is about "unchurching churchianity." In other words, he said, the church was never closed. Essential gospel and mission never left, Woodward said. Members of Ocean State wear a shirt with the saying, "Church has left the building." With a membership of 1,200, Woodward said bringing the church back to the building, located at 600 Douglas Pike, will not be as easy as it might seem, even if at 25 percent capacity for services. For Ocean State, 25 percent of a regular Sunday service equals about By JACQUELYN MOOREHEAD Valley Breeze & Observer Staff Writer WOODWARD See CHURCHES, Page 12 Graduations must go on Serving Smithfield, Scituate, Foster and Glocester FREE MAY 28-JUNE 3, 2020 Observer THE VALLEY BREEZE & (401)944-2450 FOR A PERSONAL TOUR Our uplifting environment and special approach to Alzheimer's and dementia care have created a quality of life you simply can't get any place else. MEMORY CARE ASSISTED LIVING RESIDENCE Convenient to US Hwy 6 and I-95 in Johnston, RI 49 Old Pocasset Road | Family Owned Since 1926 $100 Off New Gas Boiler or Furnace LIC. #RIMP882 • One Day Gas & Oil Boiler Replacements • Same Day Gas & Electric Water Heater Replacements • Boiler Repairs & Maintenance • HVAC Service & Replacements • All Work Guaranteed Call NOW to get your AC Service Ready for Summer. Register For Online Courses: excel.html Improve Your EXCEL Skills! • Take courses from the comfort of your home or on-the-go using your smart phone • "Ask The Expert" feature submits your questions directly to an expert in the field you are studying Find out more, call 401-334-9555 x134

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