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We all have a story — even your kids’ teachers

30 Nov

You know how sometimes children are surprised to learn that their teachers don’t live at school, don’t spend all their after-school hours in the classroom, and don’t ever have to go shopping at Wegmans?

Adults, of course, are more enlightened, but it’s still easy to assume that during the school year, teachers are almost entirely focused on their jobs and they otherwise lead rather humdrum, uninteresting lives.

WAHAS_11x17_PosterPhotographer Linda Hayes of Hayes Photography hopes to change that perception with her current exhibition, We All Have a Story: The Stories Continue. 

The exhibit, which will be on display at the Webster Public Library all next month, is a follow-up to Hayes’ first We All Have a Story exhibit in spring of 2018.

Hayes is a portrait photographer and Webster School District (WCSD) teaching assistant who has created images of 21 of her WCSD colleagues. Each staff member also submitted a narrative of his or her life story to share next to their photos.

The exhibit takes a closer look at the lives and stories of these WCSD staff members to help illuminate the people inside the classrooms and offices who work with our children every day. The stories are thought provoking, happy and sad. But more than anything else, they will probably make you think, “Wow, I never realized that.”

The exhibit, which runs the entire month of December, will be open to the public during the library’s normal business hours, Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday from 10 to 6, Saturday from 10 to 5 and Sunday from 1 to 4. (The library will be closed for the holidays on December 24, 25, and 31.)

The public is invited to an opening reception on Tuesday Dec. 3 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.  Both the exhibit and reception are open to the public. The Webster Public Library is located at 980 Ridge Road.

I’ll be at the reception; I’m pleased and honored to say that I’ve been included in this project. If you come to see the exhibit, you’ll read how three simple — but powerful — words changed my life, helped me realize my passion and convinced me to become a writer.

I hope to see you there!

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Blood drive honors Colin Montesano

27 Nov

You have an opportunity on Saturday to honor a life ended too soon, while helping to save others.

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A blood drive being held Saturday Nov. 30 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Webster Schroeder High School honors the memory of Schroeder graduate Colin Montesano, Schroeder class of 2014, who passed away suddenly two years ago at age 21.

Colin had wanted to dedicate his life to helping others by becoming a physician and studied at the University of Pittsburgh. He was also an active community volunteer and talented athlete. He was also an organ donor, so Donate Life will also be at the blood drive signing people up to be organ donors. Anyone who donates blood, signs up to be an organ donor or already is an organ donor can enter to win raffle baskets and gift cards from local businesses.

Here are the drive details:

Blood Drive in honor of Colin Montesano
Saturday, November 30, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Webster Schroeder High School library
875 Ridge Road, Webster. Walk-ins are welcome.

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.

If you can’t make today’s drive, here are a few other local opportunities coming up in the next weeks:

  • Visiting Nurse Service, 2180 Empire Blvd., Webster:  Friday Dec. 6, 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  • St. Martin’s Lutheran Church, 813 Bay Rd., Webster:  Tuesday Dec. 10 from 1 to 6 p.m.
  • Webster Knights of Columbus, 70 Barrett Drive:  Wednesday Dec. 11 from 1 to 7 pm.

BONUS! Anyone donating between Nov. 25 and Dec. 18 will receive a $5 Amazon gift card by email from Suburban Propane.

Walk-ins are welcome, but appointments are encouraged (and help you get in and out a little faster). Call 1-800 RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or log onto RedCrossBlood.org.

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Webster schools welcomes Kevin Sherry — and he’s changing lives

20 Nov

Something pretty neat happened at school yesterday which I wanted to share with you.

Earlier this week, Plank North Elementary was fortunate to host Kevin Sherry, author and illustrator of children’s books.

IMG_20191120_103417012It is hard to put into words how animated and energetic Kevin Sherry is. The three presentations he gave to the students were filled with music (he plays the guitar), puppets (he even brought a marionette), stories and much laughter. He bounded across the stage with a frenetic intensity that belied his passion for art and writing.

The kids were enthralled. Thanks in large part to weeks of preparation by Plank North librarian Gretchen Pulver, the students were already looking forward to Sherry’s visit. But by the end of the day, most of them considered him a rock star.

But Sherry’s presentations were not just entertaining. They were inspiring. That became obvious yesterday morning.

Three third-grade boys came into the library to show Pulver a book they were working on, called Blizz at Shore. It was a graphic novel, complete with bold text and large, colorful full-page illustrations. The story line was based closely on one of Sherry’s books, The Yeti Files: Meet the Bigfeet, complete with the same lead character, Blizz the Yeti. They had started working on it shortly after their class had seen the presentation. It was impressive.

It so happened that Sherry was still in Webster, doing presentations at State Rd. Elementary. We decided that he needed to see this book. I made three copies — one for each student — and drove over to State Rd.

Sherry was amazed by the work these third graders had done. He not only signed each of the copies, but graciously wrote an individual message on each. Then, book in hand,  he posed for a photo.

Later that afternoon, Pulver and I went down to the boys’ classroom and presented the signed copies and photos to each of the boys. As you can imagine, they just beamed. When they saw the personal messages and the photos, their eyes grew as wide as their grins. Their fellow classmates applauded.

It was a heartwarming moment, an event that will definitely be something these boys remember for a long time. But I think it may go beyond that. It’s possible that Sherry’s validation of these boys’ writing, illustrations and initiative might just be a pivotal point in their lives.

All because one very kind author took a moment in his busy schedule to pause and say “good job.” Sometimes that’s all it takes.

Who knows? Maybe 20 years from now, they too will be rock stars.

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Webster Thomas to host art student summit

8 Nov

So today’s blog is not about a public event, but I wanted to feature it regardless, because it is an outstanding example of the commitment our Webster CSD teachers have for our students — and it allows me to give a shout-out to a former Webster Thomas colleague.

A few weeks ago Todd Stahl, an art teacher over at Thomas, sent me an email about an exciting program he has set up for his students.

He wrote,

For a long time, a few of my fellow art teacher friends in the area and I have lamented the loss of the art community that was cultivated through the local Scholastic Art Awards show that used to happen at RIT. About 10 years ago, they stopped hosting it, and many of us have lost touch, with our hectic schedules getting in the way of connecting – both us as teachers, but also our students.

So I got thinking about a way to start to bring people back together again – and give something even more beneficial to our students. So… an idea was born.

What Stahl came up with is the first (of many, he hope) Rochester Area Art Student Summit, scheduled for Nov. 15 from 9:15 to 1:45 at Webster Thomas. Students will be able to participate in four different presentatons and workshops run by local artists, who will speak about their artwork, art making process, their career/life journey and lead the students through some sort of sketchbook activity. It will all take place while the rest of the school day continues around them.

Stahl added,

We are hoping that this will be an extremely engaging and inspiring day for all of our students, to help them further see how process is just as important as (more important than?) product, and how our work can grow and mature over our lives and careers. We will also have a table set up with information about mental health support information, run by an alumni with experience in this area.

The event is designed for senior AP art students and art college-bound juniors. More than 200 students from 11 local high schools had already signed up when he wrote two weeks ago.

This sounds like a terrific event and could be a real life-changer for our students.

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It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown! (And some school news)

21 Oct

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I want to pass along a few notes from our schools this morning, but first, this photo to give you a smile to begin your Monday.

Maureen Finn forwarded me this picture of the huge pumpkin her husband Tim grew in their back yard on La Baron Circle. Posing with the mammoth melon are his great grandchildren Emma, Ellie , Ella and Charlotte.

Do you have any fun fall photos you’d like me to share with my readers? Feel free to send them along to missyblog@gmail.com.

AND NOW to some school news.

It’s time to start your holiday shopping!

 Schlegel Elementary School will  host its annual Craft Show on Saturday Nov. 2 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the school, 1548 Schlegel Rd.. The event will feature more than 60 vendors, sweet treats, raffles, concessions and more.

Bailando con sus amigos!

Also on Saturday Nov. 2, the Webster school district will continue its observance of Hispanic Heritage Month with an evening of salsa dancing at Willink Middle School. Entertainment will be provided by Cinco Con Swing.

The event is free and open to the public! Doors open at 6:30 p.m., with salsa and merengue dance lessons from 6:45-7:45 p.m. After the lessons, dancing will be open until 9 p.m.

Honoring our veterans

Veterans and active duty service members and their families are cordially invited to a free dinner on Friday, Nov. 8 from 4 to 6:30 p.m. at Spry Middle School, 119 South Avenue, Webster.

This event is sponsored by Spry Middle School Student Council, Spry Middle School Builders Club, Webster-Fairport B.P.O. Elks #2396, Webster Community Chest, Wegmans, and Hegedorns as a way of showing appreciation for servicemen and women and their families.

Reservations are appreciated; please call Ms. Ritzmann at 216-0093.

New graduation dates

The Webster Central School District has announced an important change regarding graduation ceremonies for Webster Schroeder and Webster Thomas high schools’ class of 2020.

The location will remain the same as in past years (RIT’s Gordon Field House), but the previously scheduled graduation date of Sunday, June 28, 2020, HAS BEEN CHANGED.

The new dates and times for the Class of 2020 graduation are:

  • Webster Tomas High School: Thursday, June 18, 7 p.m.
  • Webster Schroeder High School: Friday, June 19, 7 p.m.

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Webster community mailbag

8 Oct

This is a busy week coming up in Webster.

klem northFor starters, I just got a notice this morning from the folks over at Klem North Elementary, asking me to post this notice about an upcoming PTSA meeting.

As you can see, the meeting is scheduled for this Thursday at 6:30 in the library.

Please consider getting involved in your school’s PTSA if you aren’t already. They do so much to support our students and staff members — and as I one of those teachers, I speak from experience. Even if you can give an hour occasionally for a special event, that would be great.

I’m always happy to publicize community events like this, so please remember me when you need help getting the word out. Email your notices to missyblog@gmail.com.

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This Thursday through Saturday (Oct. 10-12), the Friends of the Webster Library will host their fall used book sale at the library, 980 Ridge Rd., off Van Ingen Drive at the back of the plaza.

On Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., all hardcover books are $1 and paperbacks are 50 cents. Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. AND Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. are Bag Days; $4 fills an entire bag with books.

And get this! You can even use your credit card. So make your way to the sale and stock up on books for the long winter ahead.

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St. Rita School’s 35th annual Craft Sale returns this Saturday Oct. 12 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. It’s time to start thinking about Christmas shopping, and with 100 vendors signed up this year, it’s a perfect opportunity.

There’s plenty of free parking, and there’s no admission. St. Rita School is located at 1008 Maple Drive in W. Webster.

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October is domestic violence awareness month, so proceeds from this month’s Saturday Flapjack Community Breakfast at the First Baptist Church of Penfield will be donated to Resolve, an organization dedicated to intervening and preventing domestic and sexual violence against women.

The breakfast is scheduled for Saturday Oct. 19 from 8 to 10 a.m. at the church, at Penfield’s four corners. For $6 per person, enjoy pancakes, pure maple syrup, scrambled eggs, sausage, and beverages. The church is handicap accessible.

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nick KThe Nick K 5K will be running its 6th annual event this Saturday Oct. 12 beginning at 8 a.m. at Webster Parks and Recreation, 1350 Chiyoda Drive.

Nicholas Kapusniak was killed on March 1, 2014 when a drive-by shooter fired into a group of college students in St. Louis, Missouri. Nick is a former resident of Webster and was attending school at the St. Louis College of Pharmacy.

The Nick K 5K hopes to draw attention to the violence that is becoming commonplace in our schools and cities. Part of the proceeds will go to local Crime Stoppers in Rochester and St. Louis, with the rest being put towards scholarships in his name at his high school in Waukesha, Wisconsin and the St. Louis College of Pharmacy.

Runners and walkers can register by clicking here. Cost is $25, and includes a t-shirt and other giveaways. Walk-up registrations will be accepted the morning of the race beginning at 7:15AM.

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Go on The Journey with the Webster Marching Band this Saturday

2 Oct

 

band 1

Your Webster Marching Band will be taking everyone on a spectacular “Journey” this weekend when these amazing musicians and dancers present their annual Autumn Fanfare field show and competition on Saturday Oct. 5.

band 2Seven bands from around the Rochester area will compete, including our very own Pride of Webster. Each school prepares a different, elaborate show, complete with huge set pieces. Sometimes band members will even act out part of the story being told. Webster calls their show this year “The Journey.”

The Pride of Webster Marching Band has been hosting this show for 34 years. Last year was was the first time I ‘d actually attended. I was blown away. Allow me to quote some of my thoughts from that evening:

It is an impressive sight. Almost 70 smartly-dressed kids moving in sync like a well-drilled Army unit, at the same time PLAYING AN INSTRUMENT. People who pride themselves on being able to walk and chew gum at the same time have got nothing on these kids.

And at Saturday night’s event, we got to enjoy the artistry of six other marching bands as well, from Leroy, Hilton, Orchard Park, Medina, East Irondequoit and Victor,  who together provided 90 minutes of music, pageantry and spectacle.

As I watched and snapped about a thousand photos, these are some of the thoughts I came away with:

* These bands don’t just get out there, walk around and play music. The shows are full musical productions, complete with elaborate set pieces (check out Stonehenge in one of my photos) and detailed story lines (one school even had several performers act out part of the story). The music is rich, and usually presented in a series of movements, guiding spectators through the story’s intricacies.

* Every performance by every school is completely different. One school hid behind their set pieces at the beginning of the show, so it looked like no one was on the field. Another put down their instruments a few times for some coordinated dance moves. There was a huge moon, geometric shapes, and yes, even Stonehenge.

* The shows are changed every year, which means a new story, new music, new set pieces, new choreography, and often new costumes and flags for the color guard.

* Think marching bands are all trumpets and drums? Webster’s 2018 production, “Heart Strings: Tugged and Torn” features violins, a stand-up electric bass and two flute soloists.

* Band parents are as invested in these competitions as much as — or even more than — any sports parent. They are cheerleaders, critics, coaches, and analysts. They are the roadies, helping set up the complicated sets and running out on the field after the final note to break everything down and move it out as quickly as possible. And if you’re school is hosting an event like this, if you’re not a roadie you’re still working hard selling tickets, running the raffle, manning food booths, or selling merchandise.

* And oh, by the way, while you’re competing, not only do you have to remember all your music, where to walk without running into anyone, and how to toss that heavy flag without dropping it, you have to do all of that while a judge is walking through the ranks, sometimes just feet away from you, watching you, JUDGING you, and communicating his observations with the head judge at the sideline. Talk about pressure.

I’m looking forward to going on The Journey again this year with our marching band, and I encourage everyone else to do so as well.

The show begins at 5:30 p.m. Saturday night Oct. 5 at Webster Schroeder High School, 875 Ridge Rd. (Gates open at 4:30 p.m.) Tickets are $7 in advance at Hegedorn’s, $9 at the gate. For more information, visit www.webstermarchingband.org.

Click here to see a gallery of photos from last year’s show.

band 5

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Webster community mailbag

27 Sep

So many things to tell you about today. Let’s get right to it.

Good food for a good cause

Sandy [new]TTONIGHT, Friday Sept. 27, a food truck rodeo at Veterans Memorial Park in Penfield will benefit Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong.

The event, scheduled from 4 to 9 p.m., will feature trucks from Bay Vista Taqueria, Abbott’s, Chef’s Catering, The Meatball Truck, Waffles R Wild and Marty’s Meats. Live music will be provided by John Akers and Coupe de Villes, and the kids will enjoy bounce houses and face painting.

Admission is $5 for adults (remember, it’s for a good cause!) and children are free.

Veterans Memorial Park is located behind Penfield Town Hall, 3100 Atlantic Ave. (there’s also an entrance off Jackson Rd.).

Another food truck rodeo!

Don’t want to drive ALL THE WAY DOWN TO Penfield for dinner tonight?

The Spry Middle School PTSA invites families to come enjoy some “beats & eats” at their second annual Welcome Back Food Truck Rodeo, also tonight at Spry, 119 South Ave. Trucks will include Meat the Press, Effortlessly Healthy and Magical Marinades BBQ. Free Rochester Foam Dart Legal Nerf games will be offered in the gymnasium, and you can purchase some Webster spirit wear while you’re there as well. A DJ will provide music.

It’s picnic style so bring your chairs.

And EVEN MORE FOOD!

TOMORROW, Saturday Sept. 28, St. Rita School will host a Sticky Lips fundraiser from 4 to 7 p.m. at the school, 1008 Maple Rd., Webster.

On the menu that night will be BBQ chicken (leg and thigh), 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 each and can be bought ahead of time through the school’s website at stritawebster.org/school via credit card (click on the online giving tab where you can place your order) or you can purchase tickets directly at the school.

Is it March yet?

Also TOMORROW, Saturday Sept. 28, the Village of Webster’s very own authentic Irish pub, Barry’s Old School Irish, will host its annual “Halfway to St. Patty’s Day” party.

Live Irish music will be provided by Dave North from 7:30 to 11 p.m., and throughout the evening keep an eye out for Irish dancers, whiskey samples, a “proper” Irish toast and Guinness give-aways.

Barry’s owners Danny and Jessica are encouraging everyone to “green out” for the evening, so poke through your closet for all your St. Patrick’s Day wear!

Barry’s Old School Irish is located at 2 West Main St., at the Village of Webster’s four corners.

Comfort Care Home wine tasting

WCCH LYS 2019 skHave fun and help your neighbors in their time of need by attending the “Lift Your Spirits” fundraiser for the Webster Comfort Care Home on Friday October 18 from 7 to 9:30 p.m. at Artisan Works, 565 Blossom Road.

The Webster Comfort Care Home, located at the corner of Holt and Klem roads, provides free hospice care to the terminally ill of our Webster community, and comfort to the patients’ families. The agency is run solely on donations and fundraisers like this.

The event will feature wine and beer tasting from local breweries, music by Andy Calabrese & Chet Catallo, appetizers, full cash bar, silent auction and raffles for great prizes including a balloon ride over Letchworth, a Sabres Suite for their Dec. 27 game against the Bruins, lodging, dinner certificates, rounds of golf, a humidor, jewelry, home decor and more.

Tickets are $50 per person and can be purchased online at www.webstercomfortcare.org or by calling 585-872-5290.

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Webster Schroeder HS kicks off fall musical season

25 Sep

Joseph2Wow. The fall musical season has already started in our high schools, and I haven’t even had a chance to write up my annual preview column for the D&C.

So let me take the opportunity RIGHT NOW to tell you about Webster Schroeder’s upcoming performance of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, happening this weekend.

Here’s the description from the ticket website:

Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, Joseph is one of the most enduring shows of all time. Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is a re-imagining of the Biblical story of Joseph, his father Jacob, eleven brothers and the coat of many colors. Told entirely through song with the help of a main character Narrator, the musical follows preferred son Joseph as he discovers his ability to interpret dreams.

Showtimes are Friday Sept. 27 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday Sept. 28 at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Reserve tickets are $10 to $15, available at any area Wegmans or online at websterschroedermusicals.com (I always get mine at Wegmans, since ShowTix charges a service fee.) Schroeder productions are always incredible, so I highly recommend putting this one on your calendar.

Webster Schroeder High School is located at 875 Ridge Rd.

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WCSD invites kindergartners to Strive for Five

27 Jul

strive for 5

August — and the start of the new school year — are just around the corner, so it’s time to start thinking about buying supplies and getting up early again (for some of us, REALLY early).

For our youngest students, getting on a big school bus on that first day of school can be a little bit scary. A great program called Strive for Five for School Bus Safety helps allay some of those fears.

The program, now it is 13th year, is designed for 2019/20 incoming kindergarteners. It provides children the chance to travel a short distance on a school bus with their parent(s) and to learn important safety procedures for riding the school bus.

The program will start at Willink Middle School, where the bus will pick up participants and bring them to (and from) the transportation department. The buses leave Willink at 6:00 p.m. and returns about an hour later.

While at the transportation department, students will rotate through five stations teaching them the following safety elements:

  • Loading and unloading the bus
  • Proper crossing procedures
  • Danger zones surrounding the bus
  • Appropriate behavior on the bus
  • Emergency equipment/evacuation

Incoming kindergartners and their parents (no additional children, please) should attend as follows, if at all possible. IF you can’t make your assigned evening, you can come on another, but they district really likes to spread everyone out as much as possible.

August 5 – Plank South
August 6 – Dewitt Road and State Road
August 7 – Klem North and Plank North
August 8 – Klem South and Schlegel Road

Private and parochial schools can attend any one of the four dates.

For more information on the program, please contact the transportation department at 265-3840.

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