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Luncheon concludes first collaborative community reading project

31 May
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Webster community members and their student reading partners.  

I had the privilege to attend a very nice event on Thursday afternoon, the culminating luncheon of the first-ever community reading project.

Organized by Webster Schroeder English teacher Eileen Connolly, the project paired 25 adults from the greater Webster community with 25 students in Connolly’s 10th grade Here and Now English class. Every participant read the same novel — My Dog Skip by Willie Morris — over a period of four weeks in May. Reading assignments were assigned each week. Participants answered questions related to each assignment, recording their answers in a spiral notebook. The book and notebook were then delivered back and forth between adults and students every week so each could see what the other had written.

At yesterday’s luncheon, the adults and students met each other for the first time. My student partner was Kaylee Ziemniack, and I was pleased to be able to spend a few minutes getting to knew her at the luncheon.

Because it was just the first time for the program, there were a few glitches. But in general, it was a terrific experience and clearly adults and students alike got a lot out of it.

I asked Connolly to provide her thoughts on how things went and if she plans to run the program again next year. Allow me to quote her email directly:

Especially because it was our first time through, I was exceptionally pleased with how the program went. While we had a couple of bumps with delivery, every student and every adult read and responded to all parts of the novel. The opportunity to meet the people they’d been corresponding with was a little scary, but students enjoyed meeting and talking to their partners. Once we finished our luncheon, some of the participants also tried their hand at some blackout poetry using text from the novel.

The program gave students a low stress opportunity to do some reading and having adult feedback kept them interested. Students were always excited to open their envelopes and see what their partners had written. Many adults shared their own memories of childhood and provided some context for kids whose experiences are sometimes, but not always, very different from their own. Even the chance to see that people (other than teachers) actually write in cursive was an eye-opener for some students. Student readers had a chance to view how skilled and mature readers and writers interacted with the text. That provided excellent models for all of our students. …

We hope to expand the program to some English 10 classes at Thomas High School as well. I am thrilled that almost every adult said they would not only participate again but promised to get a friend or two involved.

I am so grateful for the many people who supported the program including our Principal Mr. Benz, Secondary Director of ELA, Larry Wahl, District Courier Jimmy Lehman, and my colleague Linda Law. … (Also) the staff of the offices at all the school pick up and drop off points. They didn’t have any advance notice and were very supportive too! At Schroeder, the front office staff, Kelly Dinsmore and Emily Zicari, were wonderful too!

Most of all, I want to extend my genuine gratitude to each and every community member who accepted our challenge to participate. The program taught my students that there are community members who care enough to take an interest in their work and lives. They gave of their most precious gift: time. There is no way to measure the value (short and long term) of that gift.

I would also like to add a thank you to the staff at the Webster Public Library. I arranged to have my packet dropped off there several times, and they were very accommodating.

I’m already looking forward to next year, and encourage others to come on board when Connolly ramps up the program again.

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At the luncheon: Me and my reading partner Kaylee Ziemniak; Noah Vercruysse and his partner   Meredith Feary. Claire Belmont is photo-bombing. 

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Webster community mailbag

30 May

mailbag iconThere’s a whole pile of great events coming up in the next few weeks, starting this coming weekend.

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The Webster Marching Band will hold their annual spring bottle and can drive this Saturday June 1 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. They’ll come to your street, so all you have to do is bag up your returnables and put them outside your house, near your house or garage, making sure they’re visible from the street. DON’T leave them out at the street, and DON’T put them out overnight, so no one else decides to make the rounds and snag them.

You can also drop off your donations before 4 p.m. at Webster Schroeder High School, 875 Ridge Rd. And remember, the band operates a 24-hour bottle and can hotline. Call 234-8684 any time and leave a message. Someone will be back in touch to arrange a pickup time.

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Grab your kids and their bikes and head on out to the Bicycle Skills Rodeo on Saturday June 1 from 10 a.m. to noon, hosted by the Webster Police Department.

Held in the Town Court parking lot at 1000 Ridge Road, the event will give kids a chance to practice bicycle safety skills and learn about proper helmet fit.

Make sure to bring your bike and helmet. There will be a few extra helmets on hand for children who do not have them, but — really? All kids should own helmets and use them.

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The Webster Aquatic Center will host its Webster Youth Triathlon this Sunday June 2.

The event, which includes a swim, bike and run, is for children from kindergarten through age 16, and is scaled according to age. Kindergartners, for example, will swim 25 yards, bike a mile and run a 1/4 mile. Older kids will swim 150 yards, bike 4 miles and run a mile. There’s also a team relay option.

The swim will take place at the Aquatic Center and the run and bike portions on the Webster Schroeder campus.

Cost is $15 before June 2, $20 the day of the event. The first 200 participants will receive a goody bag and t-shirt.

To register and for more details, call the Webster Aquatic Center at 585-670-1087. You can also email race director Missy Whipple with questions, at missyw26.2@gmail.com.

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Microsoft Word - Spry Evening Of Jazz Concert.docx

Prime Time Funk (provided)

The Webster community is invited to the annual Spry Evening of Jazz on Friday June 7 beginning at 7 p.m. at Webster Schroeder High School, 875 Ridge Rd.

 

There’s no admission charge for this concert, which will include a performance by special guest Prime Time Funk.

This should be a great evening of incredible music from our talented youngsters and outstanding Prime Time jazz artists. All for free!

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Webster’s Joe Obbie Farmer’s Market will open for the season on Saturday June 8. Many of your favorite vendors will be returning, and several new ones are also expected.

The market is held at Webster Towne Center Plaza (Kohl’s Target Plaza) near the gazebo in front of Old Navy. It runs from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday through October. You’ll find fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, cheeses, baked goods, jams, honey, maple syrup, plants, herbs and flowers and crafts.

Also, this Saturday look for a Town of Webster booth where you can meet and chat with many of your town and county officials, first responders, and community organization representatives.

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Barbara Killip (Adrian DeJesus Photography)

Finally, congratulations to school bus driver Barbara Killip, who was recently named the Webster Central School District Transportation Department’s Employee of the Year. 

Barbara and transportation colleagues from throughout the area were recently honored at a brunch hosted by the Rochester Area Transportation Supervisors Association.

Our bus drivers do an amazing job keeping our children safe and aren’t always fully appreciated, so I love to see this recognition.

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Generations come together to make sweet music

29 May

Willink Joint May 2019 keep this one

The Willink Middle School 8th grade bands joined the Webster Village Band last night for a collaborative concert to help kick off the Village Band’s regular summer season.

An almost packed house enjoyed Willink band teacher Matt Osika’s Day 2 and Day 3 bands as they performed favorites including the Hawaii Five-O Theme; Moscow, 1941; See You Again; the Orpheus OvertureAlabama Folksong Fantasy; and Ghost Run.

The Webster Village Band followed, led by diirector Thomas Indiano, performing  Reflections From the Wall and the Irish Washerwoman from the Irish Suite. Associate Director Sue Siegmund conducted the first movement of Gustav Holst’s First Suite in Eb, Chaconne.

All the bands came together for the culminating piece, Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, complete with thundering “cannons” provided by the percussion section.

It was a wonderful evening and a great example of collaboration across the generations.  Thank you to Sylvia Hungerford for sending along the information, and to Tom Indiano for the photo.

The Webster Village Band hosts concerts most Thursday nights through the summer at the bandshell in Harmony Park on Phillips Rd. The first concert of the season is June 13. Click here for the full schedule.

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Spreading kindness, one locker at a time

14 May

photo

This is another great story from the schools.

Last Friday morning, every single student in all four Webster secondary schools arrived to find inspirational notes taped to their lockers. The previous evening, teams of parent volunteers had fanned out at each school — Schroeder and Thomas high schools and Willink and Spry middle schools — and taped thousands of positive, uplifting messages to students’ lockers.

The project was coordinated and implemented by the Webster Central PTSA, in conjunction with the Webster Teachers Association.

PTSA representative Stacie Peters wrote,

My co-president, Allison Fedyk Featherly and I along with WTA President Chris Wojtas and WTA/PTSA liaison Linda Law thought as the year is winding down it can be a stressful for our older students with exams, papers, homework, etc. We wanted to send some encouraging vibes to them during this time.

We are excited to surprise the students as they come in Friday morning. We did this last year as well and the smiles it brings to students/staff was awesome!

What a wonderful, simple way to bring a little sunshine into our schools during a dreary spring.

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Schroeder athlete needs our votes!

13 May

sydney 1Sydney Bolton, one of our finest high school athletes — a star on the field and in the classroom — has been nominated by the Democrat and Chronicle as their Female Athlete of the Week for May 6-11. But the only way she’ll win is with OUR help.

The D&C is now taking votes to decide who will be the the male and female athletes of the week each week. Sydney, a Webster Schroeder Varsity softball pitcher, is one of four Rochester-area athletes in the running for this week’s honors.

Sydney, a junior at Schroeder, pitched two complete games last week for the Warriors, allowing just three runs in two wins, and driving in five runs of her own. But her academic achievements are equally impressive.

Sydney…carries a 94.5 cumulative GPA while taking enriched AP courses and interesting electives. She is a member of Schroeder’s National Honor Society (and) volunteers with Link Crew. Her academics have allowed her to be on High Honor Roll every quarter, and she was recently accepted into the New Visions program at St. Ann’s. In addition to softball, Sydney plays the trumpet in the wind ensemble and symphony orchestra.

Future plans include becoming a pediatric nurse practitioner in oncology/ hematology, and coaching a youth softball team.

Sydney was also recently named the Webster Schroeder Female Athlete of the month at school (the above quote was taken from that display) and was recently inducted into Tri-M music honor society.

Sydney is an exceptional scholar-athlete who deserves to be recognized. It would be great if all of Webster could get behind her and show the entire Rochester area how proud we are of our young people.

Click here to vote for Sydney. (You don’t have to be a D&C subscriber.) You can vote once per hour, and votes will be accepted until noon on May 17.

Sydney 2

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Webster Community Mailbag

4 May

You might want to warm up your coffee before you read today’s mailbag, because it’s a pretty long one.

jakeJake Gorski, the son of one of my Plank North teaching colleagues, is working on his Eagle Scout project and is looking for some help collecting supplies. He explains in this letter:

My name is Jake Gorski and I am a senior at Fairport High School. I am also a Scout in Fairport Troop 207 in the final stages of my Eagle project. 

My Eagle project is to create and distribute packets of essential hygiene items for those in need at the Blessed Sacrament soup kitchen, where I have been volunteering for the past 12 years. They are located on the corner of Monroe Avenue and Oxford Street in the city of Rochester, and serve dinner to a large and diverse population of homeless and needy individuals five nights a week.

I am looking for donations of socks, tooth paste and tooth brushes, deodorant, baby wipes, and razors. I will accept both travel or regular size items. Blessed Sacrament serves many individuals in need, so I am trying to make around 80 packs. Any donations are greatly appreciated.

If you think you can help out, contact Jake at jwgorski22@gmail.com.

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swan lakeThe students of Willink Middle School will present their student-run production of Swan Lake on Friday, May 10 and Saturday, May 11 at the school, 900 Publishers Parkway.

Two of the school’s our 8th grade students, Mayli Nitsch and Shanna Smith are directing the play, which involves nearly 40 cast and stage crew from grades 6 through 8. Their hard work has been impressive, and the show will surely be outstanding.

Tickets are only $5 and can be purchased online here. They will also be available at the door.

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Just in time for spring planting and Mother’s Day, the Webster Arboretum Association will host their annual Plant Sale on Saturday May 11 from 8 a.m. to noon.

The sale features beautiful, live, healthy plants offered by locak commerial growers and local garden clubs. Garden Club members will also share their favorite plants from their own gardens.

The sale will take place at the Arboretum, 1700 Schlegel Road in Webster.

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These next items are from the schools:

The Webster Teachers Association (WTA) has secured approximately 25,000 free books for Webster schools via the First Book program. In order to get these books distributed before the end of the year, the WTA is partnering with the Webster Central PTSA to get books unpacked, sorted and organized by age group for delivery to all of our 11 schools.

Lots of volunteers are needed. The WTA is looking for a minimum of 2 adult volunteers per school, per time slot to help on Saturday, May 18 from 8 a.m. to noon in the Thomas Field House. Click here for more information and to sign up.

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Speaking of the PTSA, they’re in urgent need of sponsors for next year’s PTSA calendar. Here’s the plea:

It’s community that makes Webster so special. We’d like to thank the local businesses and organizations, past and present, who have supported WC PTSA with generous donations, sponsorships and member benefits, making our work possible.

We are asking for your support once again. Please consider sponsoring our special edition 60th Anniversary 2019-20 calendar!

Whether it’s your first year, or thirty-first year sponsoring our calendar – your support is needed and appreciated more than ever. We’ve made it even easier this year, you can do it all online if you choose! Click here to learn more.

All donations are tax-deductible, and you’ll receive a receipt along with a sample copy of the calendar by September.  Families or individuals may become sponsors too.

Your donation funds community-wide programs supporting students and their families on critical topics like mental health and substance use prevention, annual scholarships to outstanding graduating seniors, annual Oak Tree Awards for exceptional educators, and helps us support the PTSA committees in all eleven WCSD schools, so they can provide services unique to their school population.

Questions? Email SponsorHelp@websterptsa.org.

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The school district has announced the hiring of four new assistant principals:

Jill Doyle

Jill Doyle is the new assistant principal at Plank South Elementary School. Doyle is a WCSD graduate and former Plank South student herself. She is currently a fourth grade teacher at the school, a position she has held since 2016.

Matt Mietelski

Spry Middle School White House welcomes new assistant principal Matthew Mietelski, who is replacing Interim Assistant Principal Jim Vitale. Mietelski is currently assistant principal of cooperative summer school for Monroe #1 BOCES and a literacy specialist at Johanna Perrin Middle School in Fairport CSD, where he has taught since 2013.

Two new assistant principals will greet students at Willink Middle School in September: Ashley Socola in the Blue House and Jason Simoni in the Green House.

Ashley and Jason comboSocola is currently an assistant principal at Merton Williams Middle School in the Hilton Central School District, a position she has served in since 2016. She is replacing interim Blue House assistant principal Annette McCabe.

Simoni is a WCSD alum who is returning to the district from Bishop Kearney HighSchool, where he has served as principal since 2015. He replaces Jeremy McBride who will be a new assistant principal moving at Webster Thomas High School.

All four new administrators will begin their positions on July 1.

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Stay tuned for upcoming blogs I’m still working on about new developments at Knucklehead Craft Brewing; special events at the Webster Museum; May programs at the Webster Public Library; a look at the new Spiedielicious restaurant in town; this summer’s special events schedule in the Village of Webster; a big anniversary for Webster Eye Care, and OH! the village is getting BIKE RACKS!! Start thinking about where you might like to see them installed.

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Thomas student play opens Thursday

1 May

IMG_6942Laughs, love, and the kind of family drama we all have experienced all take the stage Thursday night when the students of Webster Thomas High School present the comedy Things My Mother Taught Me by Katherine Savino.

The story follows Olivia and Gabe, a young couple moving into their first apartment together. They’ve just packed up all of their belongings and driven halfway across the country to start a new life together in Chicago. Their moving day doesn’t go exactly as planned, though, and things become slightly more complicated when all of their parents show up to help! Things get a bit crazy as everyone tries to squeeze into their new two-bedroom apartment.

Things My Mother Taught Me will be presented Thursday, May 2 and Friday May 3 at 7:30 pm in the Webster Thomas auditorium, 800 Five Mile Line Rd.  Tickets are $7 and will be available at the door.

Director Chelsea Muller (12th grade) is supported by a small but mighty cast, including:

* Alexander Ramirez (9th grade) as Gabe Lawson
* Isabelle Nitsch (10th grade) as Olivia Keegan
* Nico Pantojas (12th grade) as Wyatt Lawson
* Haley Warren (10th grade) as Lydia Lawson
* Brynn Smith (10th grade) as Maxine Mirowski
* Celia Darling (11th grade) as Karen Keegan
* Tim Dudinski (10th Grade) as Carter Keegan

Here are a few photos from a recent rehearsal:

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Golden Apple Award follow-up

30 Apr

CindyAs I ramp my blogging back up from my newly situated dining room table/office, I’d like to begin by posting a long-overdue follow-up.

Back on April 8, my good friend and Plank Rd. North teaching colleague Cindy Barnard was surprised with a Golden Apple Award from WROC-TV channel 8. She was in the school’s library with her kindergarten class when the news crew arrived to present the award. You can read more about that happy event in this blog I wrote.

It took a few weeks for film of the presentation to make it to the newscast, but WROC did finally run it last week. Click here to see it.

It was a fitting tribute to an excellent teacher and an even better person.

film of Cindy

Click here to see video of Cindy Barnard’s Golden Apple award presentation. 

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Webster community mailbag

16 Apr

I need to start today’s mailbag with something of an apology.

Many of you may have noticed that my blogs of late have been somewhat sporadic. I have not been my normal loquacious self. But I do have a good excuse. My husband and I are in the middle of purchasing a new house, and selling our family home of almost 23 years.

So naturally, I’ve been a little distracted. But there is light at the end of the tunnel with regards to both deals, and the move itself should commence sometime next week. So hang in there and I’ll soon be my normal, annoying self once again.

In the meantime, here’s what’s happening around town (and sorry again, some of these are repeats; I’m taking a few shortcuts even today).

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mailbag iconIf you’re interested in running for the Webster Central School District Board of Education, you’re reminded that petitions are due this Monday April 22. Packets can be picked up from District Administrative Offices at their new temporary location in Towne Center Plaza (Target/Kohl’s Plaza), at the former Paychex location.

For more information, visit the WCSD website.

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Earth Day 2019 is this coming Monday April 22. You can help the Webster Public Library celebrate the occasion by lending a hand on Saturday April 20, as they clean up their outdoor space and plant their garden.

The entire family is invited to join in from 1 to 3 p.m. Crafts and activities will be provided for the kids, and there will be information about the seed library. Don’t forget to dress for the weather!

Reminder that the Friends of the Library Spring Book Sale happens Thursday April 25 through Saturday April 27.

Hardcover books are just just $1 each, paperbacks only 50 cents, and credit cards are accepted. Shopping hours are Thursday April 25 from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. On Friday and Saturday you can fill a whole bag for just $4.

Visit the Webster Public Library website to get more information about these and lots more April programs. The library is located at 980 Ridge Road, on the back side of the plaza off of Van Ingen Drive.

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The next Flapjack Saturday Community Fundraiser at the First Baptist Church of easter rabbit in egg clipartPenfield, on Saturday April 20, is going to be a special one.

From 8 to 10 a.m., enjoy all-you-can-eat pancakes, eggs, sausage and more for just $5 per person. Plus, at 9 a.m., children up to fifth grade can also participate in an Easter egg hunt, rain or shine.

April proceeds will benefit the Penfield Ecumenical Food Shelf, a supplemental food relief organization serving the 14526 and 14625 areas and families of children in the Penfield school district since 1997.

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St. Rita School will be hosting a Sticky Lips fundraiser on Saturday April 27 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the school, 1008 Maple Rd., in Webster.

On the menu that night will be BBQ chicken, pulled pork, fresh cornbread, two homemade sides as well as a coupon for a free appetizer card when you visit the restaurant.

Tickets are $12 and can be purchased at the school, or through the school’s website.

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It must be chicken BBQ season.

St. Martin Lutheran Church on Bay Road will host its Spring Chicken BBQ and kids’ FunFest on Saturday May 4 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

The dinner will include a half chicken, salt potatoes, cole slaw, roll, butter and beverage. Pie slices and other desserts will also be available for purchase. A hot dog dinner for kids is $2.00.

Dinners are eat-in or take-out. Tickets are $10 and can be reserved by calling the church office at 671-1899, or purchased at the event while supplies last. Proceeds support St. Martin’s Christmas Stocking Project, which reaches more than 500 youth in Monroe and Wayne counties.

St. Martin is located at 813 Bay Road in Webster.

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Finally, here’s a reminder about the free English classes being offered the Pickled Paintbrush in the village, for adults looking to improve their English language skills.

The classes will run on Monday evenings from April 29 through May 20. Each session is 90 minutes long, and are designed to help adults improve their English skills through interactive activities, while getting to know people living in your community.

One of the best parts of the program is that childcare will be available during these sessions, for potty-trained children ages 4 and up. The Pickled Paintbrush will provide an art program for children while the adults are in class.

logoAll skill levels are welcome to join the classes. There’s no charge, but participants are asked to register in advance so they know how many adults and children to expect. Click here for more information and to register. You can also call The Pickled Paintbrush at (585) 704-8809 or email thepickledpaintbrush@gmail.com.

If you’d like to check out the Pickled Paintbrush ahead of time, owner Marissa Birke is hosting an open house on Monday April 22, where prospective students can meet the instructor and kids can check out our studio space. The adults will complete a brief questionnaire to get a better feel for their English needs. We’ll also provide an art project for the kids while their parents are meeting with the instructor. If they’d like to enroll, registration will also be available that day.

The Pickled Paintbrush is located at 36 East Main St. in the village of Webster.

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Plank North teacher earns Golden Apple

8 Apr
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Plank North kindergarten teacher Cindy Barnard with Brooklyn

I am pleased and proud to spread the news that my good friend and Plank Rd. North Elementary School teaching colleague Cindy Barnard received a Golden Apple Award from WROC-TV Channel 8 Friday morning!

Cindy was in the school library with her kindergarten class, lured down there by an admitted “fib” from Principal Craig Bodensteiner,  when Channel 8 came in to present the award.

Brooklyn Lown’s mother Lindsay nominated Cindy for the award.

It was clearly an emotional moment for Cindy; after the requisite interviews and photos were completed, she had her class help her do some mindful breathing to calm her nerves.

Afterwards, she told me, “I feel blessed to have been working for Webster for 22 years, and I have been at Plank North the entire time. I call everyone at Plank North my family.”

The presentation and interview were captured on camera, and will be aired in a few weeks. As soon as I know when it will be on, I will be sure to share that information.

 

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email me  at missyblog@gmail.com“Like” this blog on Facebook and follow me on Twitter and Instagram

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