Walter Panas' Seniors Start New School Year With Mixed Emotions

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Seniors at Walter Panas, pictured with interim principal Phil Kavanaugh, said they are excited for their senior year.
Seniors at Walter Panas, pictured with interim principal Phil Kavanaugh, said they are excited for their senior year. Photo Credit: Sam Barron
A student prepares for his first day of school at Walter Panas HS.
A student prepares for his first day of school at Walter Panas HS. Photo Credit: Lakeland School District
A student at Walter Panas HS asks a question to a faculty member.
A student at Walter Panas HS asks a question to a faculty member. Photo Credit: Lakeland School District
Students and faculty gather together at Walter Panas HS.
Students and faculty gather together at Walter Panas HS. Photo Credit: Lakeland School District
Juniors at Walter Panas HS gather for a meeting.
Juniors at Walter Panas HS gather for a meeting. Photo Credit: Lakeland School District

CORTLANDT, N.Y. -- The school year has begun at Walter Panas High School in Cortlandt and seniors said it was a bittersweet day.

"I'm filled with mixed emotions," Bella Siniscalchi said. "It's my last first day. I love Walter Panas and everyone who goes here. I'm hoping to make more memories this year."

Siniscalchi said she is hoping to go to UMass in Amherst. 

"I am obsessed with that school," Siniscalchi, who wants to be a business major, said.

Barbara DiPaterio said she was excited to show her freshman brother around.

"The last three years have gone by really fast," DiPaterio said. "I feel like the first day of summer was yesterday. 

DiPaterio said she was looking forward to forensics and taking culinary arts at BOCES.  

"I like baking, especially cakes," DiPaterio said. "I like school, summer gets so boring."

Anna DiPaterio, Barbara's cousin, remembers slipping on the driveway before her first day of high school and worried it was a bad omen.

"I'm very excited for my last year of school," Anna DiPaterio said. "I can't wait to start planning our senior prom. I can't wait to see what happens this year."

DiPaterio said she was sad that she only had one more year at Panas.

"I don't want to grow up," DiPaterio said. "I'm going to miss everything, especially going to school."

Matt Slevin said he would tell incoming freshman to stay on top of their work.

"I've learned that the hard way," Slevin said. "At our 8th grade graduation, we were told when we get to high school, it counts. That really stuck with me."

Slevin said he wants to go to Siena and eventually become a guidance counselor. He said he was excited to take AP Environmental Studies.

"We get to go to Indian Point," Slevin said. "I also am looking forward to my cinematography class. We get to make the senior video."

Slevin, like the other seniors, talked about the friendly and familial atmosphere at Walter Panas, remembering when Panas took home the gold ball in basketball at the County Center.

"We came together as one," Slevin said. 

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