Principal Reflects During “Senior” Year


Alyssa Blair, Editor-In-Chief

As the Class of 2019’s senior year is coming to a close, another person is also wrapping up his fourth year at WSHS. With an easy smile that towers over most of the student body and faculty, it’s not difficult to find Dr. Perrone, our principal, walking the halls being sociable with those in the school.

Completing his first four years as a principal at WSHS, Dr. Perrone is a self-labeled “senior”, especially after successfully taking his first class through their entire four years at WSHS. It’s been a long journey since the day he got the news that he would be the new principal, which was a search process that took many months.

“I was excited by the challenge of becoming an instructional leader in a high school three times the size of my former school, and I was also intrigued by the West Side mystique,” Dr. Perrone said. He was the principal at Easthampton High School before he worked in West Side.

Coming into his position as principal of the high school, like anyone, Dr. Perrone had a plan of action which included both personal goals and goals for the student body, which he frequently reminds students of during their various meetings and assemblies throughout the year. Personally, our principal strives to “create a culture based on common purpose, collaborative effort, collective responsibility, constructive self-criticism, and founded on a growth mindset.” For the student body, his goals are along the same lines- “take ownership of your learning, lead in a positive way, grow school spirit, and engage in service in the West Springfield community.”

At the start of each day, Dr. Perrone has an established routine which he conducts. After checking in with his secretary, Mrs. Fleury, and checking his calendar, emails, and in-box, he takes time to “enjoy a bit of solitude before the day begins.” However, his favorite part of the day is the opposite of the peaceful. Believe it or not, he enjoys his time in the cafeteria during the lunch block. “I am able to see and be with students as they relax and socialize,” Dr. Perrone said.

Just as Dr. Perrone takes notice of the students, they take notice of Dr. Perrone, and appreciate the aspects that make him a great principal, including his friendly disposition and his ability to socialize with students. “He always says good morning to me every time I see him,” said senior Maura Cournoyer.

His favorite moments as WSHS principal are a bit more extensive than the favorite part of his day. Some of the highlights of his favorite memories include this year’s academic pep rally, Onix’s speech at graduation last year, being on the turf at Gillette as the football team won a state championship, the opening night of the musical, his first Pumpkin Chunkin, History and Heritage Fair, and the spring art show. Dr. Perrone makes sure that he is supportive of all that students are involved in beyond academics and athletics. “He’s very personable and he cares about all the clubs in the school,” said senior Molly Ryder.

Of course, with all the good that comes with the job, there are challenges that must be faced, which Dr. Perrone acknowledges is a part of the job. “Seeing students in crisis and suffering due to difficult life situations is heartbreakingly difficult,” he said. There are also the easier and more enjoyable parts of his job. “Attending games, events, and activities is fun because I see students at their best.”

As he rounds out these first four years of being WSHS principal and sends his first class of students out into the real world, Dr. Perrone is sad to see them go. “I wish I had more time to spend getting to know individual students and being able to see them doing what they enjoy doing extracurricular and athletic activities,” he said. He had some parting advice for his fellow “seniors” as they embark on the next chapter of their lives- “live in the moment and do the best you can do so that you have no regrets!”

In reflection of his four years, as well as his whole career as a principal, he equated it to a song. One of Dr. Perrone’s favorite songs is “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd. “I love the acoustic guitar introduction, and the line, ‘We’re just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl’ makes me think of the uncertainties of life and the need to live life to the fullest no matter the challenges we face.”