YES to Lakeland's Bond
After being defeated by a little
over 60 votes, the Lakeland School District is presenting
district voters with a scaled down version of the same borrowing
plan they presented a few months back. The voters need to
pass it and we hope they do. Passage of the bond will provide
Walter Panas High School with much needed repairs. In light
of the attention the high school has gotten over the last
year with regard to its overall condition, some aesthetic
repairs are not only necessary but they're vital. The vote
will be held on November 21, 2002.
Specific to Walter Panas High School,
the bond calls for a new gym, a multi-sport synthetic field,
a softball field with lighting, and new tennis courts. District
wide the bond will provide for full day kindergarten as well
as a host of other repairs for other school buildings.
The bond doesn't come without
a price tag, however, and its recognized the Lakeland voters
have consistently supported the budget over and over again.
The public's decision to defeat the bond last time was a wake-up
call to administration officials, and residents cannot be
faulted for exercising some reservations. Again they
are being asked to vote for a tax increase in these less than
prosperous economic times. Voters have been very accommodating
in the past and they should be recognized for that. It's apparent
that the district has heard the message sent by voters and
scaled back the proposal by $6.1 million.
We hope that Lakeland's voters
will go to the polls and support the bond, knowing that a
yes vote will provide Walter Panas High School and its students
with some much needed attention. Renovations at the school
will serve to help boost moral and pride in what we already
know to be a great place to learn. We urge all alumni to voice
their support for the bond and if still in the area show up
to vote on November 21, 2002.
Walter Panas High School's Stock Value Up
Society constantly puts pressure on students
and teachers to perform to certain standards. Always a political
football, educational standards are constantly stressed by
school administrators and politicians. While I agree that
we should expect the best from our educators and our kids,
it should also be expected that the buildings that house these
educators and students are up to standard.
The recent protest levied by students of Walter
Panas High School has raised many questions. While the catalyst
for the incident was a broken furnace and the cold temperatures
in the building, the frustration that boiled over into a walk-out
runs much deeper. Over the last several years students, teachers,
and parents have been complaining about the condition of Panas
High School. Leaking ceilings, air quality, and temperature
control issues have plagued the school for several years now.
These conditions do not provide an atmosphere for learning.
Working on Walter Panas High School's Alumni
website, I have seen the kind of product that Walter Panas
High School has produced. It has produced highly successful
members of society. I am amazed when I hear about the successes
and the contributions that graduates of Walter Panas High
School have been a part of. I would hate to see that product
damaged by the current state of affairs at Panas High School.
I commend the students and the teachers for
continuing to produce for as long as they have under such
stressful conditions. No one enjoys working, whether it in
a classroom or in an office, when the temperature is cold
or the air conditioning isn't working. No one enjoys walking
through the halls of their school or the corridors of their
office building if the ceilings are leaking. If we want to
continue graduating the quality of young adults that Panas
has in the past then we need to address to the overall condition
of the school. It's not about plugging up holes or about fixing
the furnace. It's about making a concerted effort to get the
school back in shape again with the knowledge that once it
is, Panas'product will continue to make great contributions
I myself will do whatever it takes to assist
in this effort, but I believe it has to be led by the Lakeland
Administration and the Board of Education. Let's take the
message the Panas Students sent us and address their concerns.
We have to make a guarantee to our teachers and students.
We have to promise them that we won't just demand they perform
but we will give them the tools that are necessary to do so;
the most important of which is a facility conducive to learning.
Let's get things back in shape at Walter Panas High School,
for our students, our teachers and our community.
Alumni Pick Their
Favorites Among the Faculty
If you were being graded on participation,
I'm not sure your GPA would have been served well. But not
unlike in the real classroom, everyone seemed to get their
assignments in at the last moment. It took some time, but
we now have the answers we have all been looking for.
Let's start by giving credit to
the department that had the most nominations: the Sciences.
While only one of Panas'science teachers received enough votes
individually to make it to the top five, nonetheless, the
department had a strong showing. Congratulations to all those
who like playing with test tubes and Bunsen burners.
Now to those teachers who made
the grade and left a lasting impression with their students
over the years.
5) Let's start with the Art department.
To the best of my knowledge, this individual retired from
Walter Panas High School within the last three years or so.
I must admit she was at the top of my personal list and I
am glad others thought so too, Mrs. Linda Petrucich!
Starting off at Lakeland High School before Walter Panas was
even thought of she has been at Panas since its inception
teaching studio art and painting classes. You can often find
her work in a gallery in downtown Peekskill, Congratulations
4) Next comes the man who broke-out
from the Science Department. A chemistry teacher, he not only
made one hell of a difficult class fun and not so painful,
he often took that next step and reached out to students when
they were in a jam. For that, Mr. Paul Trongone has
been voted one of the favorites among the faculty.
3) Now here is someone we have
been hearing a lot about as of late. He has been at Walter
Panas High School since the early 1980s as an English teacher
and as the director of the Panas Players. Rumor has it he
is about to retire from directing Panas Players this year,
but I think I will have more to report on that after I see
the show this weekend, so near the top of the list we find
Mr. James Filippelli.
2) I wish I had something clever
to write, but unfortunately I don˙t know much about this teacher.
What I can tell you is that his votes have come mainly from
those who attended Panas prior to 1980. Perhaps this might
help some people to remember who he is a description
was lovingly provided by Sheree (Schwartz) Armstrong ('76),who
affectionately remembers him as "eyebrows."
If that doesn˙t help well think back to Mr. Dockwiller!
Congratulations Mr. Dockwiller.
Drum roll please...
1) Now here is a teacher that has
stood the test of time. I don't think I could nail down what
decade she received most of her votes from, but I can tell
you that she was overwhelmingly selected as Panas High School's
favorite teacher. Known by her maiden name to some, her married
name by others, she is truly a gem to Walter Panas High School.
She has been teaching English for as long as Panas has been
around and has also been the faculty advisor to the National
Honor Society for quite some time. Some might know her as
Miss. Sullivan and others might know her as Mrs. Schulz, but
make no difference, she is Walter Panas High School˙s all
around favorite faculty member! Congratulations Mrs. Frances
'Not wanting to leave anyone
out, I thought I would mention those who were nominated but
just didn't make the cut: Mr. Michael Mahoney (English), Ms.
Payne (Science), Mr. Ken Friedman (department unknown), Mr.
James Tamburri (Science), Mrs. Joan Djakov (Spanish), Ms.
Carolyn Butera (Math), Mrs. Julia Dengler (Spanish), Mr. Richard
Schrader (Science), Mrs. Blattman (Business), Mr. Herb Silver
(English), Mr. Dennis Geiger (Science), Mr. Chris Ortega (Science),
Mr. John Zumback (Phys. Ed.), and Mr. Ken Borsari (Social
without any need to brown nose, the final results are:
5) Mrs. Linda Petrucich
4) Mr. Paul Trongone
3) Mr. James Filippelli
2) Mr. Dockwiller
1) Mrs. Frances Sullivan Schulz
Back: It's Great to See You Again!
I got an email a few days ago from a friend
who submitted information here at the site. Someone who back
in high school was a really great friend, one of those true
buddies. We even worked at the JV Mall together while we were
in high school (gosh, it seemed back then that you either
worked at the Jefferson Valley Mall or you worked at Waldbaum's
Grocery... we're talking pre-Cortlandt Town Center days).
So I got this email from my friend and I sent one back. Then
she sent me another email and I once again returned the favor
and from there a virtual conversation took place; next thing
I know it's 5:00pm and the day has slipped right on by.
Then today I saw that another person I knew
from high school sent us their information here at Walterpanas.com.
We didn't graduate together, we weren't even in the same graduating
class, but I suddenly remembered that we did have Spanish
together and were involved in some of the same organizations
and I also remembered we were friends. I could go on about
my sudden encounters here at Walterpanas.com as I am sure
we all could but that's not my point.
We wanted out of that place so bad. Senior year
I can remember counting the days until I didn't have to see
those damn halls anymore and worry about all those rules and
all that supervision. It seemed like none of us could wait
until we were no longer required to be there.
Then one day we weren't required to be there
anymore and it was the very same day that we stopped seeing
those friends in Spanish class or those kids we worked with
at the mall. We did make phone calls every now and then and
promised to keep in touch (how many remember writing phone
numbers in yearbooks?). We saw some of those friends on weekends
home from college or nights out at the local bar, but when
we were no longer required to be there things just weren't
the same. That's natural though and it's just the way it goes.
Here though there are no requirements. No one
has been forced to stop by. Our parents didn't register us
and there is no bus coming to pick us up. We have all decided
for some reason that we wanted to be here again. Perhaps we
have come by to see how that friend from high school is doing
and be reminded of that classmate from Spanish class. Whatever
the reason we have decided to come back again.
There won't be an impending last day here at
Walterpanas.com. You are not required to put your four years
in and your not required to be on your way at any point either.
Here, you can come and go as you please. It nice to see people
So even though back then we wanted out of Walter
Panas High School, it's now apparent we want to be let back
in. At Walterpanas.com we are pleased to open that door for
you. I know I enjoy hearing from my friends again and we hope
you all do too.
Welcome back everyone! Glad to see you're here.
Tie that Binds
I live in Washington, DC. It's not all
that far from the Cortlandt/Peekskill area; not at all that
far from Walter Panas High School. It's about a four
and a half hour drive, I often do weekend trips. I noticed
some alumni that are registered here live in California, obviously
a bit more of a trip than my drive up I-95. I looked
even further into who was registered on the site and I saw
we have one classmate living in Israel and one living in Germany...
they've got entire oceans to cross before they can get back
to our old stomping grounds. There is a lot of distance among
us all. We've got oceans between us, there are states that
divide us, and we have highways crisscrossing all around us,
but these obstacles really do not stand between us.
If we have learned anything in the last
month it has been that community is strong bond. A bond which
is difficult to break. It's stronger than any one person,
it's stronger than one weapon, it's one of the strongest ties
that exist between men and women. Walter Panas High
School serves as the tie that binds us together.
Chances are if you have taken a look at this
site you are probably part of the Walter Panas Community.
All across the country and all throughout the world there
are people who share this community with you. It's important
to remember this bond and it's important to cherish it.
No matter how far we live, no matter what changes with our
lives, Walter Panas High School will continue to serve as
the glue that keeps us together.
It's unfortunate that we forget about community.
We go about our daily lives as individuals, focused on our
daily tasks, concerned with our daily needs. We go about
our regular life this way until, packaged in sorrow, we are
vividly reminded that in fact we aren't individuals, we are
a community; its then that we come together. Maybe that's
the secret to a strong community. That no matter how much
time or how much distance gets in the way, when the need arises,
we quickly come together and stand strong.
It's nice to know that we have the pleasure
of going about our business on any given day without any concern.
It's nice to know that if something were to happen, if something
demands our attention, we will quickly remember our community
and we will put aside our individuality and come together
as a community.
To the class of 2001
Start thinking about the long term. That
is as simple as it can be put. While everyone else is going
to tell you to enjoy your time at college or to enjoy your
youth a little more, I am going to give you some more realistic
advice. Though it˙s nice to stop and smell the roses, not
many people are going to be doing that, and if you do, you
might get left in the garden.
Take off. Run. Start now and don't stop going
until you know you're ahead of the pack. Become the best at
something. Don't take too much time strolling on the path
of life. Others are going to be building jets to take them
from one end of the path to the other while you dawdle along.
Whether you're in college or whether your working, make sure
you are paying attention to what everyone else is doing. Plan
ahead. Get a head start as soon as possible.
Now don't think that I am telling you to absorb
yourself in the comfort of your own ego. I am not telling
you to step on those who get in your way or to step over those
who seem to be on the sidelines. If that is the way you're
going to take off then you'll eventually run into a brick
wall. What I am telling you to do is to be ambitious and to
start early. Work hard and don't enjoy the sweets of life
too much just yet. There will be time for that. The sooner
you start moving and the sooner you accomplish you'll find
that you'll be able to enjoy the roses more fully.
So as you leave High School and you begin the
rest of your life, leave irresponsibility behind. Leave the
gluttonous fun you had in high school back in the halls of
Walter Panas. Head off to do whatever it is you plan to do
and do it well. Plan on being successful and take the necessary
steps to become so. Make the sacrifices now and enjoy
the payoff later when the roses are fully bloomed and the
scent is all the more sweeter.