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2022-2023 School Year Kick-Off
Our school year is off to a great and exciting start! Our fall sports teams were here a couple of weeks before opening day, [sweating and] working hard; they are into their seasons now and are seeing the benefits of their pre-season hard work.
On our first day of school, the students started the day with a motivational and comedic speaker who talked about finding their purpose, challenging themselves to raise their bar higher, and taking risks. (Apologies, in advance, if your student came home wanting to go sky-diving after hearing about our speaker’s funny narration of his experiences!) Thank you to WEOF and our Home and School Association for supporting our efforts to start the year off with positivity and enthusiasm. The students ended their first day with grade-level ice-cream socials. (If you remember, it was a scorcher that day so the ice-cream sandwiches were being devoured quite quickly!)
As you know, we made some intentional changes to help us create a positive school culture and climate for all of the members of our community. Students are now required to use phone hotels during their classes and we are being more diligent about ensuring that students are out of the classroom for a minimal amount of time and with a purpose. Each classroom has established, with student direction and input, a set of classroom norms and incentive programming. We are already seeing the positive impacts of these changes. Additionally, students are starting and ending each school day with a six minute “We Have Space” relationship builder. Students are discussing quotes or talking about a quick video to build a sense of community within their classrooms and promote accountability; we are all responsible and own the type of community that WHS can and will be. Here are the videos that the students watched on the first two days to kick off the We Have Space initiative: day 1 and day 2.
As you can imagine, the conversations are really fun and inspiring! I look forward to all that is ahead for WHS! Our staff and students all watched this video about hope (my new favorite four-letter word) to kick-off this school year. Together, we all had a chance to post on doors and bulletin boards what we are hopeful for this school year. My wish for everyone is that your hope becomes your truth this year.
Code of Conduct
Along with our new We Have Space initiative, we have updated our district’s Code of Conduct to reflect our priorities to use all experiences as opportunities for learning and growth, to encourage ownership and accountability, and to prioritize the restoring of relationships and deliberate attention spent to repair harm. The Code of Conduct can be found here. The priorities are to create a school community that values all members, that ensures the sense of belongingness for all, and that proactively addresses safety.
Wiss Nation is proud to acknowledge National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15th - October 15th). This period in the United States is a wonderful opportunity to recognize the history, culture, contributions, and influence of Hispanic and Latinx Americans. Additionally, throughout the month of October, Wiss Nation recognizes the contributions of Italian Americans to the United States. In 1989 Congress and President George H.W. Bush issued a special proclamation to acknowledge and honor the achievements and contributions of Italian Americans.
September Monthly SEL Theme
Each month, our staff will be focusing on a different SEL skill with our students; these skills foster connection, celebrate individuality, promote a collective community, and highlight the importance of relationships. Our theme for the month of September is Inclusivity and You Belong. There is no better way to start off the year than with an intentional effort to remind all of our students that they matter and are an important and valued part of our community.
Free Breakfast for All Students
We are happy to provide an opportunity for our students to receive breakfast (in the Lower Café) each morning. Please encourage your student to get the day started off with the nutritious options available each day.
Please make sure to fill out the Free and Reduced application for lunches if not already completed. This can be found on the school website under the Food Service Department webpage.
Students from our German-American Partnership Program (GAPP) partner school are visiting WHS from September 4th through September 18th. With their host partners, the German students have visited classes, toured Philadelphia, attended a Phillies game, rafted on the Lehigh River, and enjoyed the activities on the WHS campus. Our WHS students had the chance to visit Germany in June. If you are interested in participating in the next GAPP exchange, please see Frau Wilson in K03 for more information. All 9th and 10th grade German students can apply in September 2023 for the Summer/Fall 2024 exchange. Check out some of the great pictures:
This summer, eight graduates from the WHS Class of 2022 earned the AP Capstone Diploma based on scores released from the 2022 AP Exam administration. This is quite a big deal! AP Capstone is a College Board diploma program that is based on two year-long AP courses: AP Seminar and AP Research. The program provides student-centered learning while incorporating performance-based assessments. Both courses prepare students for college and career success through the development of critical thinking, academic research, collaboration, presentation, and time management skills. To receive the AP Capstone Diploma, students must earn scores of three or higher on the AP Seminar exam, AP Research exam, and on four additional AP Exams. That’s a significant challenge and we are so proud of our students! Over 2,200 schools participated in the AP Capstone program worldwide during the 2021-22 school year. Approximately 14,100 students earned the AP Capstone Diploma. Congratulations to Amanda Brecher, Andrew D’Aquanno, Nathan D’Aquanno, Emily Dunsmore, John Licata, Christina O’Farrell, Ethan Pigeon, and Arianna Reiserer!
Mr. MacMinn gives a shout out to his Physics students!
Nathan Antonio and Tara Pacini used liquid accelerometers to demonstrate different way to accelerate. While the students moved around the room, the colorful liquid inside the accelerometer created a triangle that pointed in the direction of their acceleration. This lesson helped students understand the relationship between velocity and acceleration.
Ms. Castillo gives a shout-out to her ninth graders!
They participated in a SEL activity called the Acceptance Web. Before throwing the skein of yarn across the circle to a classmate, students would share, “Something I hope everyone in the class will accept about me this year is…”. It was a great way for the students to get to know each other and helped foster a sense of community.
In other Science news, Ms. Shahbazi’s Chemistry and Environmental Science students enjoyed productive lab days. The Chemistry students oriented themselves to important lab equipment including the Bunsen Burner; Environmental Science students honed their observation and date collecting skills during a walk around the campus. These are great examples of Science in action!
Exchange Students at WHS
Please join me in welcoming Selveig Thoss (Germany), Vladana Grujic (Bosnia), Madeline Bordais (France) and Chirath Soithong (Thailand), our four exchange students who will be attending WHS during the 2022-2023 school year. We are so excited to have them join our community! I asked them about their experiences so far and here is what they shared:
Selveig is excited about meeting new people, is adjusting to the longer days because her school ends at 1:00 PM, and loves American mac and cheese. Vladana is excited about the upcoming school year, misses that she used to have morning and afternoon half days, and has found a passion for Dunkin' coffee. Madeline looks forward to growing her understanding of the English language, thinks we keep our buildings too cold with lots of AC, and also is happy to have discovered mac and cheese. And Chirath is enjoying the shorter school days at WHS because his school ends at 4:00 PM, is enjoying learning about American culture, and has already experienced his first Philly cheesesteak!
Class of 2023 Starts Their Senior Year Together
The Class of 2023 opened the year by personalizing their parking spots and enjoying breakfast and the sunrise on the Senior year on the first day of school. Although the morning was a bit cloudy, it was a time of great fun and celebration and the Pancake Club did not disappoint!!! Thanks to all who joined in the fun.
Upcoming Senior Events
- Senior T-Shirts – On sale for $15.00 until Friday, Sept 23. Use the link to purchase.
- Senior Class Tailgate before the Wissahickon vs. Upper Dublin Football Game on Friday, Sept. 23rd at 5:30PM – 7:00PM. The cost is $5.00; all you can eat.
- Senior Class Banquet –Monday, November 7 on the Spirit of Philadelphia. The cost is $85 per person. More information to be posted on Schoology and the class Instagram including information about ticket sales.
Wiss Link Leaders LEAD!
On Friday, August 26th, close to 400 ninth graders arrived on campus for our Freshman Orientation program facilitated by the one and only Wiss Link! The freshman arrived to the campus and were immediately met with welcoming (and loud!) teachers, staff, and student leaders. There was no turning back! They spent the morning participating in team-building activities and learning about the ins and outs of WHS. Most importantly, they had the chance to learn from and connect with our extremely dedicated and awesome Wiss Link student leaders. Those same leaders spent the weekend before the first day of school delivering lawn signs to the Class of 2026 and came to school on the first day of school dressed in their blue t-shirt so the freshman could spot them. I am pretty sure all of our Wiss Link leaders logged in a lot of walked miles that first day in the building; they spent the day walking freshmen to classes and answering questions. Thank you to our Wiss Link student leaders! You are THE BEST! And, thank you to our Wiss Link Faculty Advisors: Ms. Butt, Ms. Lehman, Mr. Shoemaker, and Mr. McKenna. The program’s success is a reflection of you! Check out this video.
Camerata Holds 9/11 Memorial Concert
On Monday, September 12th, our WHS Camerata held their 21st annual 9/11 Memorial Concert, offering a place for our community to reflect on the historical and devastating tragedy that impacted our nation twenty-one years ago. The students, under the direction of Mr. Conahan, did a wonderful job honoring those lives lost, the heroes of 9/11, and their families. Thank you for the continued effort to remind us to “never forget”.
Homecoming Week Activities
Get Your Tickets: Hypnotizing America
Students of all ages, parents/guardians, alumni and community members are invited join the Wissahickon School District for an unforgettable evening Thursday, October 6th at 7 PM, Wissahickon High School Auditorium, with WHS alumni, Tim and Michelle Miller, hosts of the international comedy hypnosis show, Hypnotizing America.
What would you do under hypnosis? What will your friends, family and teachers do? FIND OUT!!
Tickets are $10. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE. Doors open at 6:15 PM.
Career Pathways Portfolio Information
Ninth, tenth, and eleventh grade students (and even some seniors who still need to finish their requirements) are enrolled in the Career Pathways course. This program aligns with the Pennsylvania 339 Career Readiness Standards and is a graduation requirement for Wissahickon students. You will find all required assignments posted on Schoology. This is an independent study course so no class will meet, but students are encouraged to attend Office Hours through TEAMS with a Career Pathways teacher. Please see the information below:
Congratulations to our Students of the Month: September 2022
Join us in celebrating our September WHS Students of the Month! We are so proud of each of you!
Welcome to our New Staff
Please join me in welcoming the following new staff to the WHS Family:
- Mr. Carey Holder – Science
- Mr. Khoa Pham – Science
- Mr. Matthew Kozeniewski – Social Studies
- Ms. Suzanne Netter – Social Studies
- Ms. Cassandra Allen – School Counselor
- Ms. Natilya Sanken – Special Education
- Ms. Shea Cumberland – Special Education
- Ms. Susie Boxman – Language Arts/English Language Learners
- Mr. Rory Graver – Health and Physical Education
- Ms. Jenna Garcia – World Language
- Ms. Sarah Horwitz – World Language
- Ms. Lizzie Law – World Language
- Ms. Jen Ignerto - Library
- Mr. Ben Johnson – Safety Specialist
- Mr. Chase Wilson – Safety Specialist
- Ms. Aaliyah Fisher – Safety Specialist
- Officer Shannon Gallagher – School Resource Officer
Trojan Tributes: WHS Athletic Highlights
The Girls’ Tennis team is off to strong start in Suburban One League Liberty Division competition with decisive wins over Upper Dublin and Hatboro Horsham; posting 6-1 record with the lone defeat coming at the hands of last year’s D1 Champion and top PIAA State finished, Spring-Ford. Senior Saachi Mehta posting strong results at 2nd Singles, while Claira Baldasano, Tiffany Chen and Vanessa Urzua serve as senior doubles strength. YiYi Huang and freshmen Nicolette Agassi round out the singles lineup and have winning records, putting Wissahickon in position as a strong District 1 competitor.
The 2022 Wissahickon Field Hockey team is well on their way to defending their Suburban One League - Liberty Division League title. The team now 5-0 has proven themselves as tough competition, outscoring their opponents 32-6. The senior captains, Sophia Havrilla, Ella Hummel and Caroline Kirkpatrick, have been great role models and truly inspirational in creating a “team first” attitude. The other seniors on the team, Kendall Crowley, Shaina Possoff and Meredith Walsh have also shown amazing leadership and strong work ethic. Meredith Walsh and fellow goalkeeper, freshman Ava Fell have led a strong defense which has only allowed 6 goals in the first 5 games. Offensively, Sophomore Riley Ball leads the pack, with 13 goals in 5 games.
This year the Boys’ Water Polo team is looking forward to an exciting season lead by Senior Captains Hudson Bowers, Tyler Shilling and Nate Valentine. Completing our starting line are Seniors Nick Donofrio, Jordan Quimby, Junior Carmen Schoppe, and Sophomore Jack Johnson. We started out with a close away game against North Penn losing 11-8 but gained knowledge of some areas of improvement needed for our team. We are looking to show off our improvements the rest of the season. Up next, we have Springfield Township High School, Upper Dublin High School and a Tournament.
GIRLS WATER POLO
The Wissahickon Girls Water Polo team opened up their season on the road against the defending State Champion North Penn Knights on Thursday September 8th. In a tightly contested match, the Knights pulled ahead in the second half and secured the victory 9-5. Goals were scored by Senior. Maddie Johnson (3), Senior. Gabby Jones & Junior. Bernice Fu. Senior. Hazel Mullen blocked 12 shots in the effort. The Trojans are back in action with a busy September schedule as they play 3 tournaments over the next three weekends. The strong senior class will look to lead this team on a deep post-season run.
The varsity football team dropped to 0-3 to start the season. We have not seen the results on the scoreboard that we would like but we are proud of our team’s perseverance and we are confident that we have improved and will continue to improve as a football program. Our student-athletes are very determined and will continue to work hard and compete each day. They are an outstanding group lead by our senior class. The JV football team remains undefeated after a tie vs. OJR and a win vs. CR North. The future is bright for Wissahickon Football!
The Cheer & Football Teams hosted the AW Trojans for the first home game of the season. The youth cheerleaders had a great time rooting for players on the field during the first half of the game.
The Wissahickon Girls’ Volleyball team has put forth a renewed focus at the start of our season determined to elevate the profile of our program in the Suburban 1 League. Starting with a strong camp, the girls began the year with 2 competitive scrimmages and have opened with a 3-2 record. Leading the way in our new Middle focused attack is junior Peyton Lloyd who has 24 Kills and 11 Blocks. Our team’s scrappy defense is led by junior Libero Sadie Paxson (16 Digs) and senior Captain Alex Bladek (9 digs). Senior Setters Georgia Davis (Captain) and Serena Harris have combined for 48 assists. The offensive attack has been led by Serena Harris (17 Kills), Georgia Davis (12 Kills), sophomore Anna Weir (11 Kills) and senior Captain Devon Szczepkowicz (8 Kills). Georgia Davis leads the team with 19 Aces closely followed by sophomore Aly Wines with 18 Aces. The team has loved the support from our fans and family and is looking forward to continuing their winning ways.
Minding Your Mental Health
Each month, our Counseling Department will share information to help support families and students. This month, to kick off the year, the focus is on introductions. Please meet the Counseling Department Dream Team by reviewing the information below.
Ms. Antoinette Perrotta (8038)
A-Dh (Class of ’23-’25)
A-Dd (Class of ’26)
Mrs. Cailin Diebolt (8033)
Di-Ho, Autistic/Functional Support (Class of ’23-’25)
De-H, ELL, Autistic/Functional Support (Class of ’26)
Mrs. Marissa Samit (8037)
Hp-Mc (Class of ’23-’25)
I-Mc (Class of ’26)
Mr. Vince Yasenchak (8036)
Md-Sb (All grades)
Mrs. Felicia Glover (8034)
Sc-Z (All grades)
Cassandra Allen (8039)
Ms. Stacy Anderson (8035)
College & Career (all students)
Ms. Michelle Simpson (8030)
School counselor assignments are visible on Infinite Campus. Appointments with the counselors can be scheduled online through Calendly. Once scheduled for an appointment, students will receive a pink counseling pass in homeroom or their first session on the day of their appointment. As always, students who need to see a counselor immediately can drop-in to the School Counseling Office.
The Counseling Department would like to remind you that September is Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month. Recently our nation has taken steps to shorten the length of time it takes to connect community members in crisis with a mental health talk line. The Suicide Prevention Lifeline (988) provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, as well as prevention and crisis resources. This new, shorter phone number will make it easier for people to remember and access mental health crisis services. If you are struggling or have concerns about a friend or family member, please reach out to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline and your school counselor.
Safe2Say Something is a youth violence prevention program run by the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General. The program teaches youth and adults how to recognize warning signs and signals, especially within social media, from individuals who may be a threat to themselves or others and to “say something” before it is too late. With Safe2Say Something, it’s easy and confidential to report safety concerns to help prevent violence and tragedies.
Here’s how it works:
- Submit an anonymous tip report through the Safe2SaySomething system
- The Crisis Center reviews, assesses and processes all submissions
- The Crisis Center sends all submissions to school administration and/or law enforcement for intervention
You can also access Safe2Say via our district website: https://www.wsdweb.org/about-wsd/school-safety/safe2say-something.
As a reminder to all of our students, together, we need to keep our community safe. Please be sure not to open any outside doors and please alert a teacher or administrator about any concerns you have. Thank you for the teamwork!
STARS Tutoring and Math/Writing Labs
STARS Tutoring is now up and running! STARS is a student-to-student tutoring initiative. Tutors provide academic support in subject areas that they have excelled in to those in need of extra help. Students will be paired based on subject and scheduling availability. Students will meet on a 1:1 basis or within a small group. Meetings will occur during Study Hall, I/E, or after school by appointment with Mr. McCabe. Late busses are available. Applications are available in the Counseling Office and the Library. Please contact Mr. McCabe with any questions by emailing email@example.com or by calling 215-619-8112 ext. 8602.
Our Math and Writing Labs are open during the school day in the Library. Students can visit the Labs for extra support, re-teaching, pre-teaching, and/or second chance learning opportunities. Additionally, our weekly schedule for ELT (Extended Learning Time) will be posted for students on Schoology each week; ELT is an after-school tutoring program.