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Schlegel students get real-life lesson in charity

7 Dec


If you happened by Walmart on Wednesday night to do some holiday shopping, chances are you saw a very festive group of elementary school students. They were fifth graders from Schlegel Road Elementary School, manning the Salvation Army’s red kettle, ringing bells and singing Christmas carols.

According to fifth grade teacher Jill Mancini, this is at least the sixth year the classes have taken a bell-ringing shift for the Salvation Army.

“We do it to teach students about giving to others,” she said, adding that the volunteer effort was integrated into a lesson about charitable agencies.

“(The students) have been researching community organizations including the Red Cross, Salvation Army and UNICEF,” she said. The experience “also helps introduce our upcoming lesson about human rights, getting them thinking about that,” she added.

You can find a short video of the kids singing on the Schlegel Elementary School Twitter page. Click here to see that.

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Webster Saturday Mailbag

25 Nov

mailbagThe Penfield Public Library is looking for a few enthusiastic people.

The library is looking for two new members for its Board of Trustees to replace outgoing trustees whose terms have expired.

The nine board members must be strong library advocates. Board members support the library by crafting a strategic plan and vision in conjunction with library personnel, by developing and reviewing policies, by reviewing and approving the budget and financial matters, and by communicating with the community and local legislators.

The Board of Trustees meets regularly at 7 pm on the third Tuesday of each month in the Ruth Braman Room of the Penfield Public Library. Meetings usually end by 9 pm and are open to the public.

Any resident of the Town of Penfield interested in applying for the Penfield Public Library Board of Trustees should submit a letter of interest and a resume to Chris Fluit,
Personnel Committee Chairman, Penfield Public Library, 1985 Baird Rd, Penfield, NY, 14526. Applications should be received by November 30, 2017. Interviews will be scheduled for early December and the new trustees should begin their term in January 2018.

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A group of 15 Webster Schroeder High School upperclassmen shared the fruits of their fundraising efforts with Rochester families in need through a unique partnership with Mt. Hope Family Center (MHFC).

Last Monday, several MHFC vehicles arrived at Webster Schroeder’s main office, 875 Ridge Road, to pick up boxes and bags with all the fixings for Thanksgiving meals that will be provided to at-risk children and families supported by MHFC. The groceries were purchased by Webster Schroeder students who began fundraising for these Thanksgiving meals last month.

This is the sixth year students have partnered with MHFC to raise funds to supply Thanksgiving meals for those served by the organization. What makes the students’ fundraising efforts so unique is that they personally reached out to other Webster Schroeder High School clubs, sports teams, organizations, faculty, staff, and Webster businesses to raise $3,500 for the Thanksgiving meals. Extra funds raised will provide holiday gifts for children from each of the 20 families that receive a basket.

Schroeder students with Thanksgiving donation - Photo 1

15 Webster Schroeder High School juniors and seniors collected $3500 to provide Thanksgiving meals to families served by the Mt. Hope Family Center.

The Country Gardeners of Webster, Klem Road Garden Club and the Webster Arboretum will hold their annual Garden Club Holiday Sale on Saturday December 2 from 9 am to noon at the Webster Recreation Center, 1350 Chiyoda Drive.

This huge sale features fresh wreaths, arrangements, poinsettias, centerpieces and gifts that are created by hand by the club members for this sale.

This is always a very popular event, so you want to get there early. I stopped by at about 11:30 last year and pretty much everything was sold out.

The sale is the Country Gardeners’ annual fundraiser, so think about decorating your own home, and purchasing gifts for family, friends and holiday hostesses.

Admission is free.

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Webster Thursday mailbag

15 Nov

imageLots going on as the holidays start to gear up in earnest.

Here’s a fun thing to do this weekend: The Webster Thomas Players will present Shakespeare’s classic A Midsummer Night’s Dream in three shows this Thursday Friday and Saturday, November 16 through 18. All shows begin at 7:30 p.m. at Webster Thomas High School, 800 Five Mile Line Road.

Tickets are $7 and will be available at the door.  Click here to check out a preview of the show.

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On Saturday, Spry Middle School will host a FIRST Lego League competition, which promises to be a fun spectacle.

Here’s a description/press release written by one of the SparX team members:

It’s that time of the year once again! Young students throughout the world are preparing to compete in this year’s FIRST Lego League competition, HYDRO DYNAMICS.

FIRST Lego League is a worldwide competition in which students ages 9-14 compete in challenges by creating a robot using Lego® blocks. In this year’s game, HYDRO DYNAMICS, kids have to create a robot that can do a variety of water-related functions, such as turning on a Lego faucet, flushing a Lego toilet, and replacing a broken Lego pipe. In between the games, the teams also make presentations to focus on the thematic issue presented each season. This season the teams are focusing on the importance of conserving water and the human water cycle. The kids use the scientific method and engineering design to solve their problems.

The last significant part of the game is designing a poster that goes over the fundamentals of Lego League: Discovery, Integration, Inclusion, and Cooperation.

On November 18, a regional competition will be held in Spry Middle School so the kids can show off what they have been working on for the past few months. Opening ceremonies begin at 11:00 a.m. If you are interested and want to learn more about the FIRST Lego League and the FIRST program, stop by or visit


The Chorus of the Genesee has announced their second annual Breakfast with Santa, which will be held on Saturday December 2 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Harmony House, 58 East Main Street in Webster. Photos with Santa will be available.

The menu will feature French toast sticks and sausage, coffee, juice, and milk. Cost is $5 per person, $20 maximum per family. For tickets call (585) 265-9540 or visit

Breakfast with Santa is happening on the same day as the Village of Webster’s White Christmas Festival and Parade of Lights (Saturday December 2), which features holiday activities all afternoon and evening. Watch for a more complete blog about that to come soon.

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The annual Henderson Ford Toy Drive is ending in the next two weeks.

The dealership, along with six other business partners, are calling for the community’s help for new and unwrapped toys. Donated toys are being given to the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots and The Furnished 4 Life Christmas Store at the Wedge Market.

The Henderson Ford annual toy drive is one of the largest collections in Rochester for both distribution campaigns. The toys delivered by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve will be distributed in Rochester. The toys delivered to The Furnished 4 Life Christmas Store at the Wedge Market will allow for parental selection and pride in gifting.

You can drop off your new, unwrapped toy donations for all ages at any of the following locations:

  • Henderson Ford, 810 Ridge Road, Webster
  • Steinmiller Insurance, 1223 Bay Road, Webster
  • The UPS Store, 1900 Empire Boulevard, Webster
  • Webster Chamber Health Insurance Service, 1110 Crosspoint Lane Suite C, Webster
  • RAMP (Rochester Area Music Project), 31 West Church Street, Fairport
  • Edge Advertising Group, 6 North Main Street, Suite 220, Fairport

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Blood drive will honor Schroeder student

14 Nov

Ed. note:

I received this important message on my blog earlier today from Nancy Ryan, which I wanted to add to the blog post:

Hi Missy. I wanted you and your subscribers to know that community members will also have the opportunity to register as an organ and tissue donor at the November 25th event at Webster Schroeder in honor of Colin Montesano.

As you mentioned in your blog, Colin was a registered donor and, because of his generous spirit, was able to save and improve the lives of several people through the gift of donation. I am the Director of Marketing & Community Relations for Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network and will be on hand to help people join the New York State Donate Life Registry, as well as answer questions about organ and tissue donation.

And now, the blog itself:

You probably know by now that I’m a huge supporter of Red Cross blood drives. Well, I wanted to especially tell you about one coming up in a few weeks, which is important for two reasons.

colinFirst, this special blood drive, scheduled for Saturday November 25 at Webster Schroeder High School, is being held in memory of Webster graduate Colin Montesano, who passed away last April at just 21 years old.

After graduating from Schroeder, Colin enrolled in the biology program at the University of Pittsburgh. He had wanted to dedicate his life to helping others by becoming a physician. Following his death, Colin received a bachelor’s degree in Biology, Summa Cum Laude, when the University of Pittsburgh determined he had completed the credits necessary in his three years of enrollment to earn the degree.

Colin was an active community volunteer. He volunteered at a hospice facility in Webster, and at a children’s hospital in Pittsburgh. He was a co-founder of Pittsburgh Attacks Cancer Together (PACT), a fundraising organization for cancer research. He was also a talented athlete, whose accomplishments include being on the Webster Schroeder High School ice hockey team that won the NYSPHSAA Division II championship in 2014.

After his death, Colin continued to help others by being an organ and tissue donor.

Colin’s family is hosting this blood drive to continue Colin’s legacy of helping others. “Colin was a very giving person,” said Tracy Montesano, Colin’s mother. “Hosting a blood drive is a way to keep his memory alive and give hope to other patients who need blood.”

“We hope that everyone who can donate blood, rolls up a sleeve and gives blood in Colin’s memory, especially his coaches, teachers, friends, and those who played sports with our son,” added Mike Montesano, Colin’s father.

Blood Drive in Memory of Colin Montesano
Saturday, November 25, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Webster Schroeder High School
875 Ridge Road, Webster

Walk-ins are welcome, but appointments are encouraged.
To make an appointment to donate, visit or call
1-800-REDCROSS. Use sponsor code websterschroederhighschoolwebster.

Aside from this being a great thing to do in Colin’s memory, this is also a critical time of year for blood donations. Donations decline significantly from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day as people get busy with holiday activities, so the Red Cross really needs your help.

It only takes about an hour of your day and would help lots of people. Just like Colin would want to do if he were here.

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Dewitt students enjoy a visit from the WWFD

10 Nov


Here’s a quick — yet adorable — post about a recent visit from some real firefighters at Dewitt Road School.

About a week ago, the school’s first graders were treated to a lesson in fire safety from volunteers from the West Webster Fire Department. They got to see what a firefighter looks like all suited up, check out all of the tools on a fire truck, and even sit inside of the truck for a few minutes.

Many thanks to firefighters Phil Vanderlee, Pat Manfreda, and Gene Kohlmeier for taking the time to share this important information with these students.

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House of Hamill brings Irish music to Plank North

9 Nov

hamill 2

Students at Plank Road North Elementary School were bouncing to an Irish beat on Wednesday as Rose Baldino and Brian Buchanan of the House of Hamill, a Philadelphia-based folk/Irish/rock group, spent the day conducting Irish music workshops.

Toe-tapping music filled the school all day as the musicians discussed different facets of Irish music, including the difference between a violin and a fiddle, and how to tell a jig from a reel.

Brian and Rose not only shared their exceptional musical talents with the students, but also an important lesson on perseverance, especially for anyone struggling to learn an instrument.

When he started playing the violin, Brian remembered, “I was terrible for a very long time. It sounds bad at first. It’s hard to make it sound good, but little by little you start getting better.”

At the end of each lesson, the musicians opened up the floor to questions. A lot of hands shot up, and a lot of the “questions” were more like very important (to a grade-schooler, anyway) informational-sharing statements (“My cat is named Pete!”). But several clearly showed the students had been listening, and were very engaged and entertained.  And when Brian and Rose challenged them to distinguish between a jig and a reel, they were pretty much spot-on.

Brian and Rose are visiting Plank North again today for more workshops, and will conclude their visit this afternoon with a school-wide concert.  Tonight, they’ll travel to Lovin’ Cup near the RIT campus, where they’ll perform from 8 to 11:00 p.m. Click here to see more information about that.

House of Hamill

Brian and Rose teach fourth graders the tempo difference between a jig and a reel as Plank North music teacher Sarah Rosenberry helps the students count out the beat. (Provided)


Below is a short clip of House of Hall playing for the students. Click here to see the video.

hamill 1

Click here to see a short clip of Brian and Rose playing for Plank North students. 

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Webster’s Schlegel Elementary ranked top-10 in quality

2 Nov



The faculty and staff of Webster’s Schlegel Rd. Elementary School

There’s some exciting news from our Webster schools today.

As reported in the Democrat and Chronicle in an article posted online Thursday, Webster’s Schlegel Road Elementary School was ranked as a top-10 school in Monroe County for quality.

The ranking, part of USA Today’s New York State School Quality Index, looked at several statistical factors, including a school’s diversity, class sizes, attendance and teacher experience levels. Those indicators, the article explained, attempted to capture

measures of a school’s environment that don’t necessarily show up in test scores or graduation rates. The best schools, by this measure, are not those with the highest passage rates on standardized tests, but those that both children and adults find to be pleasant places to spend their weekdays.

Schlegel Road Elementary landed at #10 on the elementary school list. The other nine included two city schools, two charter schools, two East Irondequoit schools, two Rush-Henrietta schools and one in Greece.

I am fortunate to work at Schlegel Elementary School, and can attest to the dedication and commitment that the teachers and staff there have for their students. I see the connections they make every day, the personal touch they have with each and every one of the students in their care. You can tell the kids like coming to school from the smiles on their faces and they way they skip through the halls.

Fostering that kind of atmosphere is a critical first step for every school before real learning can take place. That’s the kind of stuff that a lot of people don’t get to see, and is really hard to measure.

Then again, maybe not.

I congratulate all of my colleagues for the well-deserved recognition.

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Happy Halloween from the Schlegel Elementary library

30 Oct

I have the good fortune to work with a very creative librarian at Schlegel Road Elementary School. Jamie Palmer is passionate about picture books, and reads at least one every day to her classes, from pre-K to fifth grade.

To celebrate the joy of picture books, on the week leading up to Halloween every year she creates what she calls a “picture-book pumpkin” for each of those classes, depicting a character or characters from some of her favorite books.

I’m pleased to share this year’s crop of picture-book pumpkins with you. You might not be familiar with the books,  but I think you’ll appreciate the creativity.

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Creepy Pair of Underwear

Creepy Pair of Underwear! by Aaron Reynolds, the brand new sequel to Creepy Carrots!


Found by Salina Yoon.

La La La

La La La by Kate DiCamillo

last stop on market street

Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña.

Please Mr. Panda

Please, Mr. Panda by Steve Antony


Snappsy the Alligator, by Julie Falatko. 

More news from our local firefighters

25 Oct

IMG_6257xContinuing on what seems to be a Volunteer Fire Department theme this week, I’d like to share a few photos from a fun demonstration held for the students at Plank Road North Elementary School last week.

Several members of the West Webster Fire Department visited the school to present a lesson to the school’s first grade classes.

The students first learned about fire safety, home fire drills and how to “stop, drop and roll.” Then they were reminded that firefighters in full gear might be be kind of scary, but they’re always there to help, so children should not run away from them or hide.


Firefighters crawl past the students, simulating what they might do at a house fire.

At that point, to demonstrate how a firefighter might enter their house or bedroom in case of a fire, three firefighters — dressed head-to-toe in their helmets, masks, air tanks and turnout gear — crawled their way into the cafeteria and past the students.

Some of the students were a bit startled and scared. But they quickly brightened up when the lead firefighter unhooked her tank, and removed her helmet and mask, revealing she was none other than the students’ music teacher — and Webster Volunteer Fire Department firefighter — Sarah Rosenberry.

After the inside demonstration was complete, each student was given his or her own fire hat and then went outside to see and learn about all of the equipment stored in a real fire truck.

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WVFD open house

And while we’re on the subject of firefighters, don’t forget about the Webster Volunteer Fire Department Open House this Saturday October 28, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the fire house on South Ave., during the village’s Trick or Treat Trail.

The trucks will be out for the kids to explore, there will be lots of equipment to check out, plus giveaways, refreshments, safety displays, demonstrations, and special activities for children of all ages.

Don’t miss this chance to check out the fire house and chat with our local first responders. Just look for the big fire truck with the ladder reaching all the way to the sky.

For more information, visit the WVFD Facebook page at WebsterVolunteerFireDepartment.

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A thank you from the WCSD

22 Oct

I’m pleased to post this thank-you letter from the Webster School District following a very successful senior citizens’ dinner.

Webster Central School District celebrated the 46th Annual Senior Citizens’ Day on Thursday, October 19. Senior Citizens from throughout the community joined us at Webster Schroeder High School for a day filled with friends, superb student entertainment, wonderful door prizes donated by local merchants, and a delicious turkey dinner prepared by Webster CSD Food Service, served by some of our high school students. An additional 50 volunteers helped with bus loading and unloading, registration, and morning refreshments, and a contingent of elementary school students aided in the distribution of door prizes.

These One Webster festivities could not be possible without the generosity of so many!

Thank you to the following community businesses and organizations for their generous support of this special day: Trident Precision Manufacturing, Webster Community Chest, Webster Lions Club, Eggert & Coles, D.D.S., Webster Kiwanis Charitable Foundation, Stan Drabik, D.D.S., Bill Gray’s, Empire State Weeklies and the Webster Herald, Hegedorns Market, Kittelberger Florist and Gifts, Painting with a Twist, Schutt’s Apple Mill, Ann Kowal and Special Care Systems, LLC, Jerry Christopher and State Farm Insurance, Walmart, Webster Central PTSA, Wegmans, Jeff Scott and Willard H. Scott Funeral Homes, and various anonymous donors.

On behalf of the Webster Central School District and the Webster Board of Education, I would like to express our sincere appreciation to those listed above as well as to all who shared their time and talents with us on October 19. Thank you!

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