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Principal's News

Principal’ s Corner

Dear Families,
It’s hard to believe that we are already into October but, as the saying goes, time flies when you are having fun.  September was a spirited, energized time with our opening of school, Spirit Week, Homecoming, and the general excitement created when students, faculty, and staff reunite after a long summer.

In the short time that I have been a part of the Walter Panas family, I am so impressed with the sense of togetherness and unity that defines the culture of our school. There is truly a place for everyone here, from the arts, to athletics, to academics, as well as the incredible selection of extra-curricular offerings.  If you have not already done so, please take a look at what we have to offer and have a conversation with your child.  It is my goal to do everything possible to ensure that each student in our building is connected to a faculty member, either in or outside of the classroom.  That connection will be a key component to your child’s success.  Another key component to your child’s success is your engagement as a parent or family member. 

If you have not already done so, please join our PPC (Panas Parents Club). The PPC is a dedicated group of parents; your membership goes a long way towards supporting your child.  You should also feel free to reach out to me directly if you need assistance with anything.

As we settle into the school year, I would like to offer some perspective on the role of the parent and child at this level. To start, please register for access to your child’s grades through the Home Access Center.  Doing so will give you a first-hand account of your child’s progress.  Sometimes parents at the high school level are unsure as to their role in this regard.  While it is important to foster a sense of independence in your child as he/she progresses through the high school years, it is also vital for you to stay connected to what’s happening so that you can engage in a meaningful conversation with your child about his or her progress. Also, the same approach holds true for the college application process.  As overwhelming and daunting as it may seem, the key to success with that process is to break a huge process into small parts, personalize the experience so that decisions that are made are done in your child’s best interests, and a gradual release of responsibility so that by the time your child is a senior, he/she is confident, comfortable, and owns the process on his/her way towards life beyond high school.

Finally, please join me on Wednesday, November 1st at 7:00 pm in the Cafe for an event I am calling “Meet the Principal.” Here, I will spend a little time sharing my background and beliefs with you so that you have a better sense of who am I am and what my goals are moving forward.  I will also set aside time for questions and answers so that I can gain some insight into your perspectives.  I look forward to seeing you there.

Joe Spero - Principal

Counselors Corner
    Counselors’ Corner

Commended Students in the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program

Congratulations to…
The following 12th grade students are being recognized as Commended Students for their outstanding performance on thePSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.  About 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation are being recognized as Commended Students for their outstanding performance on the PSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.  About 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation are being recognized for their exceptional academic promise.  Although they will not continue in the competition for National Merit Scholarship awards, Commended Students placed among the top 50,000 scorers of more than 1.6 million students who entered the 2018 competition by taking the 2016 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT).

Joshua Burfeind

Rose Iannuzzi

CAT scans and MRIs have given researchers a better understanding of how alcohol and other drugs, including marijuana, impact the developing brain of a teenager.

The information acquired through technology has given insights to researchers to help them determine that the brain is not fully developed until a person is in their mid-20’s. Furthermore, this time of maturation is accompanied by vulnerability to substances that can negatively impact the brain, and, in some cases, lead to life-long addiction.

The latest research on the relationship between marijuana and psychosis underscores the reality that science is truly still in its infancy in understanding the way chemicals impact the brain. What is known that is most compelling is that the longer a teen can be persuaded to wait to use alcohol and other drugs, the less likely they are to become addicted to a substance and have to deal with the negative consequences of addiction throughout their lives.

Danielle Gamar, LCSW,        
Student Assistance Counselor


Welcome back to another year at Panas! The PPC invites you to continue your membership for
2017–2018. The PPC is WPHS’s lighter version of the PTA; rather than paying into the national PTA, every dollar raised goes directly to our own students.  The PPC runs on donations from our parents and the community. Did you know that if even half of the families within the WPHS community donated the membership fee, we would be able to cover all the events we fund?

The majority of our funds go to classroom mini-grants and senior scholarships. Last year we provided the WPHS scholarship committee approximately 15 senior scholarships, as well as nearly $900 in classroom mini-grants to teachers. We also host the Staff Appreciation Luncheon, Student-of-the-Quarter Breakfasts and provide refreshments at various school events. If you haven’t renewed your membership, click here to find the membership form.

Our first meeting on September 26th featured Mr. Joseph Spero, Mr. Frank Accetta, Ms. Denise Kness, and Ms. Jean Miccio, who shared with us the results from last spring’s survey. Our next meeting is scheduled for January 23rd; we hope to see you there! We will feature speakers with relevant topics to parents of teens, and offer some light refreshments.

Our first fund raiser will be a Trivia Night on October 27th at the 202 Diner. Space is limited, so please get your reservation in early! It will be a fun evening with raffles and prizes!  We are also selling Panas Pride yard signs. Contact us at for information.

Thank you for your support!
Becky Burfeind

Important DatesImportant Dates

October 6- Emergency Management Plan Drill (Students dismissed 15 minutes early)
October 9-Columbus Day-School Closed
October 12-Underclaass Photo Retakes
October 14 PSAT at Walter Panas
October 18-Junior Class Ring Ceremony
October 19-High School Early Release Day (Dismissal at 1PM)
October 21-13th Annual Panther Invitational Volleyball Tournament
October 23-27 Red Ribbon Week
October 24-NHS Induction 6:30pm
October 26-Guidance Department Event 7pm
October 28-WP Cheer Fest
October 30-District Parents’ Council Admin Bldg. 7pm
November 1 – “Meet the Principal” Cafe  7pm
November 2-Bd of Ed Work Session Admin Bldg 7:30pm
November 7-Election Day Schools Closed (Superintendent’s Conference Day, Staff only-No Students)
November 10-Veterans Day Schools closed

November 14-Blood Drive 8am-2pm
November 16-Student of the Quarter Recognition
November 18-WPHS Fall Musical
November 22-24-Thanksgiving Recess-Schools Closed
November 29-District Parents’ Council Admin Bldg .7pm