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More details about Schroeder Drama’s The Addams Family

17 Apr

I just got an email yesterday with some more details about Webster Schroeder’s performance of The Addams Family next weekend.

Shows are scheduled for Friday April 23 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday April 24 at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Of course, thanks to Covid, they can’t open up the auditorium to packed audiences, so they’ve arranged to live-stream each performance, which should be just as enjoyable as the in-person experience (plus, you don’t even have to leave your living room!).

You can purchase live-stream tickets by clicking here. You won’t even have to print off a ticket. Instead, you’ll receive an email with a StreamPass code. Simply click the code link and you’re in. Tickets are $10 each.


Here’s the awesome cast:

Gomez Addams………………………………………..Brendan Mathewson
Morticia Addams……………………………………..Lauren Farrow
Uncle Fester…………………………………………….Jake Horton
Wednesday Addams………………………………..Aydan Baier
Pugsley Addams………………………………………Michael Sofia
Grandma…………………………………………………Bridget McNamara
Lurch……………………………………………………….David Lynch
Lucas Beinecke………………………………………..Zach Gibson
Mal Beinecke…………………………………………..Theo Guth
Alice Beinecke………………………………………….Sara Kidane

Ancestors:

Maggie Anderson, Aidan Jacobs, Anika Peterson, Jack Baker, Hunter Lane, Tony Pellegrino, Liam Cornish, Samantha Morgan, Georgie Prevosti, Sydney Enright, Sam Nagar, Devon Proia, Carenza Glastonbury, Andrew Painton, Maya Richards, Amelya Harris, Ryan Parody, Tyler Young and Kenzie Harris

Make it a night (or afternoon) out (so to speak). Grab a drink and some snacks, pull up a couch, and enjoy a terrific production by some very talented high school students who’ve been working very hard to bring some laughter to all of us during these difficult days.

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Schlegel and Plank North staff members are running around the Great Lakes!

28 Mar

Well, not really. They’re talking virtually running, and it’s actually only around Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. But still, it’s a pretty big challenge.

The event is being called the “Tour Around the Lakes,” a virtual race designed to promote teamwork and community, while encouraging everyone to get out and exercise and have a little fun.

The idea is based on the many virtual distance races that have been organized during the pandemic. In those, racers would track their daily miles over a period of several weeks in an effort to travel a pre-determined route — like, for example, from Yankee Stadium to Fenway Park or around the Ring of Kerry. For the Tour Around the Lakes, over the next 11 weeks, racers — working in teams of seven or eight — will try to log enough miles by running, walking or cycling to virtually circumnavigate Lakes Ontario and Erie, a distance of 1100 miles. Progress will be updated every week on the Tour Around the Lakes bulletin boards posted at each school.

The race began last Monday and will continue through June 11. Schlegel Rd. Elementary is fielding six teams, and Plank Rd. North has four. The competition was fierce from the start. It started heating up even before the race started when word got out that bonus points were being handed out for the first teams to come up with team names and photos. The schools will not be competing against each other, but only within their buildings … or at least that’s the plan right now. (An inter-school rivalry might be an extra incentive, however.) I expect much trash-talking will ensue.

The team names already show how much fun everyone is having. The Schlegel teams are Sole Sisters, Fueled by Caffeine, Chicks With Kicks, Ready for Anything, Not Fast Just Furious, and Are We There Yet? At Plank North the teams are Green and Bold, Sore Today, Strong Tomorrow, Heart and Sole, and Get Me an Uber.

The Tour Around the Lakes is similar to an event both schools participated in last spring, a virtual relay. For that challenge, everyone who wanted to take part first signed up for a half-hour relay “leg.” Then on one day April, you would run, walk or bike during your appointed time, and “hand off” the virtual baton to the next relay participant via a text or phone call.

It was a great way to keep staff members connected after the schools shut down in March. Everyone had a terrific time and appreciated having an excuse to get outside and get a little exercise. This year’s Tour Around the Lakes should be no different.

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A colorful way to celebrate our seniors

27 Mar

Our Webster Thomas and Webster Schroeder seniors this week were given a colorful surprise this week. Each one received a bag of Skittles with a note attached reading, “Hey Senior! There is a rainbow of possibilities in your future! Shine on!”

The recognition is part of an ongoing program designed by the Schroeder and Thomas PTSAs. Once a month through June, the PTSAs are surprising each senior with a fun gift or special event, planned for on or around the 21st of each month (in honor of 2021). The idea, wrote Webster Thomas PTSA representative Denise Warren, is “to show students that they are cared about so very much!”

Every 2021 graduate at Webster Thomas and Schroeder high schools, whether remote, hybrid, GOAL or other, is included. The program began in January, when each senior was presented with a small baggie of Hershey’s kisses, complete with an inspsirational message. You can read more about that special delivery in my blog here.

Judging from these photos from Ms. Castro’s and Mr. Hardy’s classes at Thomas, the effort was very well received.

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My updated Webster bucket list. How many can you check off?

26 Feb

A few weeks ago, I introduced you all to my Webster Bucket List. As I explained in that first blog, I first developed the list more than 10 years ago, shortly after I began this blog, and was just getting to really know Webster.

That orginal list included more than 80 items from Webster and near-Webster (Penfield). It was pretty comprehensive list, but very out of date. It decided that it desperately needed an overhaul.

I started by throwing out some of the items which were no longer possible (businesses were closed, or events no longer happen, for example). Then I added several new ones, including many reader suggestions and others I came up with myself.

The final list still includes about 80 items, three pages of Webster and near-Penfield places you really should visit, or events that you really should attend. I toyed with the idea of including some more businesses on there (like the Waffle House and the new Cobblestone on Main restaurant), but if I started doing that, it would be tough to leave any one out. And of course the list can never be complete — there’s just too much to see and do in Webster. So if you think of something I should add, drop me an email.

You can download a .pdf of the list blow. Print it off and see how many things you can check off!

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Seniors welcomed back to school in a “bright” way

22 Feb

Our Webster Schroeder and Webster Thomas high school seniors got a nice surprise this morning when they entered their buildings and saw each one of their names posted on the wall, near banners celebrating their bright futures.

The banners were created by Webster Thomas art teacher Todd Stahl, and hung by parent volunteers near the entrances of both schools. The students’ names were written individually on small squares of paper, along with the school’s logo, and plastered together into huge displays welcoming the seniors back to school after the February break.

Thanks to Stacie Peters for all these photos!

“We wanted to surprise the kids when they (got) back to school on Monday,” wrote Schroeder PTSA chair Stacie Peters. “We are hopeful this will be super exciting for all of them to see once they return, pretty cool to see all the names together!”

She added, “We are super thankful to Mr. Benz, Mr. Widor, and Mrs. Saiff for all their help and support in all that we are doing for the Class of 2021. We cannot thank Todd Stahl enough for his time in creating such a fun and unique banner for each school.”

Special thanks also to Webster Thomas teaching assistant Tara Nielander, who wrote all of the Thomas senior names.

The recognition is part of an ongoing program designed by the Schroeder and Thomas PTSAs. Once a month through June, the PTSAs are surprising each senior with a fun gift or special event, planned for on or around the 21st of each month (in honor of 2021). Every 2021 graduate at Webster Thomas and Schroeder high schools, whether remote, hybrid, GOAL or other, is included. The program began in January, when each senior was presented with a small baggie of Hershey’s kisses, complete with an inspsirational message. You can read more about that special delivery in my blog here.

Here’s an awesome way to support our teachers

19 Feb

I think you’ll agree with me that our teachers are superheroes.

I mean, recall that last March, on a week’s notice, they were asked to finish up the year by going completely online. Even this school year, they’ve been juggling Covid restrictions, remote lessons, half days or half weeks, doing their best to deliver as much learning as possible. And given all those challenges, I think they’ve been doing an amazing job.

So now more than ever, we should show them how much we appreciate them, and throw as much support behind them as possible. One of the best ways to do that is to join the Webster Central PTSA and — better yet — get involved as a volunteer.

The PTSA has sent out an urgent request for anyone interested in filling one of several open committee and executive board positions for the 2021-2022 school year. Committee positions include PACE, Community Arts Day, Reflections competition, PTSA Calendar, Recognition (Oak Tree and other district-wide recognition programs), Grants, Advocacy and Programming.

All of these committee lead positions are OPEN for the coming school year. Plus, on the executive board, both co-presidents, 1st VP (elementary), 3rd VP (communications) and secretary positions are open.

The need is great. Please consider lending a hand. For more information you can email CENTRALPTSA@WebsterPTSA.org.

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More about the Thomas radio play, and a preview of the upcoming school musicals

11 Feb

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of being in the very small audience for The Webster Thomas Radio Hour, a collection of short, very humorous plays written and acted by students.

Given the restrictions caused by the pandemic, not a whole lot of people could see the play live. But DO NOT DESPAIR. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, you too can now enjoy this very clever walk back through memory lane.

The Webster Thomas Radio Hour is now on YouTube, and you can access it by clicking on this link.


If you love live theater, then you’ll be excited to know that all four of our secondary schools are preparing right now to stage plays this spring. Here are the details:

Students in the Spry Drama Club rehearsing Pajama Party

Spry Drama Club will be presenting its first-ever One Act Play Festival from March 18 to 20. Four plays will be performed, including “Pajama Party,” “Four Little Words,” “Goldilocks on Trial” and “Not so Grimm Tales.” Each play features between 10 and 14 cast members and accommodating them all for rehearsals has been quite a trick.

Artistic director Bill Ambler explained, “Rehearsal days coincide with the students’ cohort days. Each play has its own rehearsal day during the week. The kids have been amazing about social distancing and wearing masks while rehearsing.” Several soloists and small group ensembles will entertain the audience during the intermission.

Each play will give two performances for a intimate audience. The plays will also be streamed on the internet. More details to come about that.


Willink Middle School is preparing a Disney musical review, featuring selections from many of the shows the school has performed in previous years, with a mix of singing, acting and dancing. Shows will be scheduled for May 14 and 15. They’re hoping they can host small audiences, but even if not, the production will be shared online.


Webster Schroeder High School is currently rehearsing for their spring production of The Addams Family. They’re planning two shows, on April 23 and April 24.

They’re hoping to accommodate small audiences at these performances, but most patrons will be able to see the production live through a professional streaming service. Details about that haven’t been hammered out yet, but I’ll let you know when they do.

Some of the accommodations Schroeder Drama has made for their musical this year include a smaller cast; having no permanent on-stage set, which will allow for social distancing; and having the orchestra perform from the band room. More adjustments may have to be made if the currect restrictions aren’t lifted soon. .


The Webster Thomas Players have come up a creative way to beat the Covid: they’re taking their musical outdoors.

Webster Thomas will be presenting Cabaret at the Penfield Amphitheatre from June 17 to 19, with June 20 as a rain date. All shows will begin at 7:30 and tickets will be $12. Tickets will go on sale the beginning of May.

Director Brenda Nitsch writes,

The show will be more about the issues surrounding racism and political fanaticism and less around the unorthodox liberal lifestyles of the time. The show will be appropriate for all ages. The music is by the amazing John Kander and includes such greats as “Cabaret,” “Money Makes the World Go Around,” “Perfectly Marvelous” and “Tomorrow Belongs to Me.”

Stay tuned for more information about each one of these productions as it becomes available.

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Snow day at Schlegel!

6 Feb
School administrative assistants Sharon Nairy and Debbie Jackson with their Covid snowman

What’s a bunch of Covid-weary school staff and teachers to do on a beautiful, sunny, 40-degree February day? Go out and play in the snow!

That’s what happened a few days ago at Schlegel Rd. Elementary School, on that glorious Thursday we had (remember all that sunshine?). The idea was the brainchild of Schlegel principal Francine Leggett and Assistant Principal Kate Hesla. They’d heard about another school giving their teachers a chance to strap on some snowshoes and get outside for a little exercise. So they put out a school-wide snowshoeing invitation for Thursday during the time between the morning and afternoon class sessions.

As word got around, they learned that the P.E. department only had child-sized snowshoes. Undaunted, Leggett borrowed more than a dozen sets of shoes from Willink Middle School, and the play date was back on. (“Mr. Lamonica saved the day,” Leggett said.)

Perhaps 15 or 16 teachers and staff members took advantage of the snow day, and one teacher brought out her whole class for a stroll. Several people strapped on some snowshoes and lumbered around the front lawn. Others built snowmen or just took a long walk through the parking lots. It’s possible a snowball was even tossed through the open main office window.

The time to head back inside came too soon. But in the meantime, much fun was had, laughter happened, and there were a lot of smiles under the masks. It was a well-earned and well-deserved break.

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Webster community mailbag

6 Feb

Blood drives coming up

Three local blood drives are coming up in the next two weeks. The first is Monday Feb. 8 from 1 to 7 p.m. at Holy Trinity Church, 1460 Ridge Rd., and the second on Tuesday Feb. 9 from 1 to 6 p.m. at St. Martin Lutheran Church. 813 Bay Rd.

If you can’t make it to either one of those, a third one will be held on Tuesday Feb. 16 from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the American Legion, 818 Ridge Rd.

You’ll want to make an appointement so that the Red Cross can keep everyone safe, and so you’ll be in and out quicker. Click here to do that.

Aside from saving up to three lives with your donation, here’s another reason to take the time: The Red Cross is currently testing all blood donations for Covid19 antibodies, providing donors insight into whether they have been exposed to the coronavirus.

Important information from the school district

The Webster Central School District has expanded this year’s parent/teacher conference days, which will now take place over four days, March 11, 12, 18 and 19.

On Thursdays March 11 and 18, AM students will attend school during their regularly scheduled class time, while PM students will not meet for class and that time will be set aside for conferences. And on Fridays March 12 and 19, the PM students will have class, while the AM time will be set aside for conferences. This schedule also applies to remote learners.

Transportation will run as usual when class is in session.

If you have children entering kindergarten this September, you should know that kindergarten orientation and registration are open and have gone remote.

If you have a child who will be 5 years old on or before December 1, 2021, that child is eligible for kindergarten enrollment for the 2021-22 school year. In lieu of traditional in-person orientation, Student Registration has a video for parents/guardians of incoming kindergarteners to watch at their leisure, which explaines the registration and entrance process. You can see it at websterschools.org/registration.

The district is also now accepting completed kindergarten registration packets for the 2021-22 school year. Go to websterschools.org/registration to follow the link enabling parents/guardians to complete a 100% online registration process. If you’d like to print out and fill in the registration packet by hand, you’ll also print off the packet from that site. School registration is based on residency. Webster students attend the school assigned to their home address. Use the School Locater Tool on the Student Registration website for placement information.

The safest method to submit registration paperwork is online, but the district understands this is not possible for all parents/guardians. Packets are available for pick-up and drop-off at the Student Registration Office at Spry Middle School, 119 South Avenue, Webster, Door 2 (next to the main entrance). A secure drop box is located in the vestibule from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Please do not drop off any original documentation; only copies will be accepted.

Call or email Carla Watkins with any questions: 585-216-0029 or carla_watkins@webstercsd.org.

February Break magic show

It’s time to start thinking ahead to February Break and how to keep the kids entertained. Here’s a good start.

The Webster Recreation Center will host Rich the Magic Man on Feb. 14 at 7 p.m. for a Valentine’s Day Virtual Magic Show. Cost is $10 per family. Visit the Recreation Center website and search for program #101207A.

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Pandemic or not, the show must go on

28 Jan

When you’re in theater and a global pandemic keeps you from packing an auditorium with people who want to see your show, what’s a director to do? Create a show which people don’t actually have to be able to SEE.

That’s exactly what the students at Webster Thomas have done with their production of The Webster Thomas Radio Hour.

As the name implies, the show — which actually runs about two hours — is modeled after a 1940s-era radio show, complete with serials, commercials and a musical guest.

The main program is a collection five short plays, all written and performed by students. They begin with a crime drama (The Case of the Missing Mallets), followed by some science fiction (The Adventures of the Time-Traveling Athenians and The Return of Professor Z to the Planet of the Beyond), a murder mystery (Terror Train) and a ghost story (Francis Fisher — Ghost Hunter). Tucked in between the features are several very creative commercials and short subjects. And, in keeping with the old-time radio variety show format, all of the sound effects and musical cues are performed live.

Even though the the play couldn’t be presented in front of a packed auditorium, director Mark Stoetzel has tried to give his young actors as much of a normal school play experience as possible. It is being presented on the Thomas stage, for example. But all of the actors will wear masks and maintain social distancing as they act out their lines, something that isn’t possible with a traditional production.

Stoetzel wrote,

Our students, especially the seniors, really do miss the regular performances with all that entails (tech week, set building days on weekends, creative concession tables, cast parties, much longer rehearsals, etc.). These things were stressful, but in a good way. Naturally, we cannot do most of these things, but we can recreate some of the trappings.

We’ll put a display in the trophy case outside the auditorium like always, with cast head-shots and bios. We’ve put the show’s poster on the kids’ lockers (thanks to Denise Warren, Tanya Yost, and Brian Phares for that – everyone is pitching in!). And we’ve scheduled the recording sessions at night like a regular show, and have allowed each student to invite their immediate families (spread out throughout the whole auditorium). There won’t be a cast party, but they’ll still keep certain traditions alive, like paper-plate awards.

The ensemble held their final rehearsal on Wednesday afternoon. I was pleased to be invited, mostly because I was a little unsure about how this radio-play-on-a-stage would work.

Basically, the Thomas stage became the “recording studio.” Actors’ chairs, microphones and script stands were scattered around the stage, with a table in back filled with sound effects materials for two Foley artists. Signs announcing each feature were stacked in front of the stage for the benefit of the studio audience. And of course, one dedicated cue-card holder stood at the ready to let audience members know when to laugh, applaud, boo or gasp!

Jenna Dow and Brynn Smith perform as Alex Ramirez instructs the audience.

I enjoyed the production tremendously. Each of the features was very well written and very funny. The actors actually acted out their roles as they read their lines, and they were all quite good. There were some humorous references to Rochester and the commercials poked fun at several of the students’ beloved teachers. And the poor musical guest … well, you just have to see the show yourself to see what happens to her.

And you will be able to see the show. After presenting the play to very small, invitation-only audiences Thursday and Friday, it will be posted on YouTube and other media platforms. I’ll let you know the details as soon as I know them, but in the meantime, you can stay up to date by following the cast on Twitter at @wthsfallplay.

It’s a very family-friendly production, by the way, so everyone will enjoy it.

Director Mark Stoetzel, right, gives some final instructions to his cast before a performance.

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