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Virtual relays keeping schools connected

14 May

Plank Rd. North principal Craig Bodensteiner heading out for his relay leg.

A little while ago I posted a blog about a fun way we Barry’s Runners found to stay connected during the pandemic. It was a 12-hour virtual relay, based on 24-hour relay organized last month by Rochester Running Company.

The idea was simple: sign up for a half-hour relay “leg,” run or walk or bike during your appointed time, then “hand off” the virtual baton to the next relay participant via a text or phone call.

The response was overwhelmingly positive. Every single runner commented about how they appreciated the excuse to get out, to be a part of something greater than themselves, and have a purpose.

The following week, my Plank Rd. North principal Craig Bodensteiner asked if anyone had suggestions about how to keep the staff connected as the pandemic dragged on. I immediately knew that a virtual relay was perfect.

We ran our Plank North Virtual 12-hour relay on Tuesday, April 28. Between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., 40 staff members, plus a lot of family members and furry friends, logged more than 105 miles.


Even the Schlegel mascot, Whiskers, joined in the fun with AP Robin Jennings.

I’ll bet you know where this is leading….

We had SO MUCH FUN, I then suggested to my Schlegel Rd. principal, Francine Leggett, that we also have a staff relay. That one was even more successful. On Thursday May 7, more than 70 Schlegel Rd. staff members — plus a lot of family members and furry friends — logged an amazing 223 miles.

Everyone at both schools sent me a photo of themselves, or their sneakers, to mark their accomplishment. I put them all together in videos. If you have students at Plank North or at Schlegel, they might like to watch them and see all their teachers!

Click here for the Plank North video

Click here for the Schlegel Rd. video

And stay tuned. Teachers had so much fun and liked the idea so much, you might actually see them organize a virtual relay for their students!

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Plank Rd. schools’ staff members will play basketball for charity

5 Mar

Plank Rd. North and Plank. Rd. South elementary schools have been neighbors and close friends pretty much forever. But they have never played together.

That will change later this month when the schools host the first annual Battle of the Planks Staff Charity Basketball Game on Saturday March 28, when faculty and staff members from both schools hit the Webster Schroeder High School court for a friendly game of hoops to benefit Golisano Children’s Hospital.

The idea for the game came from a conversation a few weeks ago between Plank North principal Craig Bodensteiner and physical education teacher Kevin Sayers as they monitored the bus loop.

“I’d always wanted to do something like this,” Bodensteiner said, and this spring, between the two school breaks, seemed the right time to do it.

“We’re in the middle of March Madness, so everyone is thinking about basketball. And the month of March kind of drags, so we thought this would be a good way to spice things up.” The next step was running the idea by Plank South principal Jennifer Sullivan.

“She’s a former basketball player,” Bodensteiner said, “so she’s very excited.”

We’re talking real basketball here, folks, complete with a referee, announcers, and concessions. About the only thing that might be missing in spots is actual athletic ability. But, Bodensteiner makes sure to stress, skill is not required; what is required is the desire to have fun.

“It’s a great way to bring everyone together,” he said. “Staff members at both schools will enjoy getting together in a non-work environment, and students will love the opportunity to come out to cheer on their favorite teachers, and show some school pride.”

Alumni are also being invited, adding more volume to each school’s cheering section.

It’s going to be a lot of fun and a lot of friendly competition,” Bodensteiner said. But, he added,”If Plank North can get the win, that’s a cherry on the top.”

The First Annual Battle of the Planks Staff Charity Basketball Game is scheduled for Saturday March 28 at 5:30 p.m. at Webster Schroeder High School, 875 Ridge Rd. There is no admission, but donations are encouraged, and all proceeds will benefit Golisano Children’s Hospital, a cause suggested by Plank North assistant principal Heather Balsamo.

(Big thanks to Kevin Sayers and Shawn Strege, Webster’s Director of Physical Education and Athletics, for so efficiently pulling together the details and arranging for the venue.)

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Webster community mailbag

18 Feb

Some good food and good news from our Webster athletes in today’s mailbag.

St. Martin Lutheran Church, 813 Bay Rd., invites community members to attend their annual FREE Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper on Tuesday Feb. 25 (which just happens to be Mardi Gras!)

Dinner will include sausages, applesauce, and unlimited pancakes, served from 5 to 7 p.m. at the church. In honor of Mardi Gras, there’ll be beads and make-your-own mask crafts for the kids (and fun-loving adults). Feel free to come dressed in your best Mardi Gras finery!

All are welcome, so bring your whole family, and invite your friends. Call the church at 671-1899 with questions or to reserve seats .

The folks at St. Martin’s are holding this event in appreciation to the Webster community for its continuing support of all of its programs and missions. While the dinner if free, a free-will offering to support the church’s Little Free Pantry will be gratefully accepted.

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Now this notice about our Webster high school athletes doing great things for our community:

On Tuesday February 11, 2020, Webster Schroeder’s Hockey program organized and executed a successful community service even to address a very important topic: mental health.

Two hockey teams. One Webster. One fight. So many reasons. Beneath their armor of pads and skates, there are kind, caring individuals on our hockey teams who came together to raise awareness of NAMI Rochester (the Rochester chapter of the National Alliance for Mental Illness) in support of mental health.

The WCSD varsity hockey teams shared an important moment on the ice…where everyone was leveled by a single sheet of paper that signified a reason they fight. For someone, or a principle. Stopping and thinking about mental health and someone or a group of someones who are fighting a battle no one knows about. The boys filled out a sign and held it at the start of the game, both lineups facing the flag and recognizing the fight that may be in us all, even if we don’t know it.

Proceeds from the event — which included a raffle, Chuck-A-Puck contest and wristband sales — will be donated to NAMI Rochester.


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Webster Youth Sports Council PosterThe Webster Youth Sports Council will host sport psychologist Craig Cypher and a panel of local and regional health professionals for a discussion about “The Purpose of Youth Sports” on Thursday March 26 from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

The evening is billed as a “can’t-miss night of valuable sports-related information for parents, coaches and students.”

The panel will be held in the Webster Schroeder auditorium, 875 Ridge Rd. Child care will be available for children ages 3+.

For more information about the panel members, click on the poster.

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Bowling tournament to benefit scholarships

8 Feb

bowlingDust off those bowling balls and shoes and save the date for an enjoyable afternoon of bowling, all for a great cause!

On Sunday, April 26, Webster’s Special Education Parent-Teacher Association (SEPTA) will hold its annual bowling fundraiser to raise scholarship funds for graduating Webster Schroeder and Webster Thomas High School seniors who are part of the district’s special education family.

The event takes place at AMF Empire Lanes, 2400 Empire Blvd., Webster. Check-in and lane assignment will be 1:30 to 2:15 p.m. with squad time from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Details are still coming together, but right now organizers are looking for teams to show off their hidden bowling talents. This is always a hugely fun event where teams dress up in theme costumes to win some awesome prizes. Cost is only $30 per person (teams of four or five), which includes two hours of bowling, shoe and equipment rental, pizza, unlimited soft drinks, two raffle tickets toward prizes, gratuity for AMG Empire staff, and (of course) money toward the scholarships.

For more information and/or to reserve a spot for your team, email Christine Schotthoefer at Registration ends April 15.  To sponsor or donate prizes, email Dina Malboeuf at

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The Rec Center ice rink is open — and better than ever

25 Jan

IMG_2606Good news for ice skaters! It’s finally been cold enough for long enough this winter for the Webster Recreation Center to open its ice rink.

As far as I know, it’s the only outdoor public ice surface in town, and since it opened several years ago, it’s been very popular with families and hockey players. And this season, I’m happy to report, it’s even better than ever.

Thanks to the efforts of the Webster Rotary, this season the rink — which measures 52 ft. x 104 ft. — has a brand new liner AND a spacious warming hut where skaters can sit and put on their skates while protected from the weather.

The hut itself measures 16 ft. x 10 ft. Inside are two benches and thick rubber flooring to prevent damage to skates. There’s also a window in one side which allows for what meager sunlight we get in the winter months. 

As for the new liner, Mark Yaeger, Webster’s Commissioner of Parks and Recreation, calls it a “great addition in this climate when we have a thaw.”

He explained,

In the past we would lose the water seeping into the ground and we would have to start from scratch. With the liner the water stays and refreezes within a day or two. Building the ice rink from scratch takes about 4 or 5 days. 

The Webster Rotary Club purchased the new liner and sidewalls in 2018, and last year purchased the materials for the warming hut. Rotarian Rich Comins designed the building and enlisted support from Yeager and his Parks and Rec employees to construct the building.

The Rotary and Rec Center hope to have an official grand opening ceremony for the hut in the next few weeks. Watch for news of that!

The Webster Recreation Center is located at 1350 Chiyoda Drive, just north of the Village of Webster. For updated ice conditions, call 872-7103, option 3.


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Titans Hockey event a huge success

14 Jan

A quick update this morning from the organizers of the Webster Thomas hockey team’s recent Robert J. Smith Memorial Showcase. The event, held Saturday, featured four hockey games and benefited the American Cancer Society.

Word is, the event was “HUGELY successful.”  Through admission, raffles, a “chuck a puck” and apparel sales, the team raised thousands of dollars. 

Here are some photos from the evening, courtesy Deb Vent:


The Robert J Smith tribute event included raffles and other contests.

The team’s next big event is its eighth annual Honor Our Heroes game to benefit CDS Monarch Warrior Salute. This will be a single game on January 31, when the Thomas Titans face Victor at 6 p.m. This event will feature a TV and gift card raffle, 50/50 and apparel sales. Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for senior citizens. Students, military and first responders are free with ID.

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Webster athletes well represented in AGR rankings

9 Jan

Schroeder sophomore Sierra Doody made the AGR list in cross country. (Photo courtesy S. Webster)

The Democrat and Chronicle has just announced its 2019 All-Greater Rochester Team, and many Webster athletes have made the list.

This D&C has created this list for many years. This year, it includes 165 athletes and 12 coaches in 11 different sports.

Congratulations to these outstanding student athletes from Webster Thomas and Webster Schroeder who made the cut:

  • Football: Victor Snow, (Schroeder junior), and named to the second team, John Talen from Thomas and Travis Dear from Schroeder.
  • Boys soccer: Cameron Webb (Thomas senior)
  • Girls soccer: Anna Hewlett (Schroeder senior), and named to the second team, Emma Leonardo from Schroeder, Mikayla Morelli from Schroeder and Annika Monfort from Thomas.
  • Field Hockey: Emily Klein (Thomas senior)
  • Boys volleyball: Allister Spiegel (Thomas senior)
  • Tennis: Alexa Monrad (Schroeder junior) and Stephanie Romero (Schroeder senior)
  • Boys cross-country: Austin Schoen (Thomas junior)
  • Girls cross-country: Sierra Doody (Schroeder sophomore)
  • Girls golf: Ava Labelle (Thomas sophomore)
  • Girls swimming: Suzanne Sokolowksi and Dana Witte, both juniors.

There’s also a list of “honorable mentions” which has too many Webster athletes to include here.

The article has only been posted online so far, and can be found here. It will be published in the print edition on Sunday.

Congratulations to everyone who made the list! Keep up the good work; you make Webster proud.

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Good hockey, great cause

27 Dec


If you like hockey (or even if you don’t), and want to help support an awesome cause, I have the perfect event for you next week, on Friday Jan. 3 at the Webster Ice Arena on Publisher’s Parkway.

It’s the Webster Beats Brain Tumors benefit hockey game putting Webster Schroeder vs. West Irondequoit. The annual event has been organized for the last four years by Webster Schroeder grad Marshal Scheidt as his way of giving back to the URMC medical staff who saved his life.

Here, allow Marshal himself to tell his story:

When I was in high school at Webster Schroeder I was diagnosed with a large brain tumor my freshman year and I used my desire to play hockey again to keep my spirits high through surgery and rehabilitation. I was able to “beat the odds” and play the game I love again.

When the tumor grew back my senior year, I played the second half of the season knowing that there was a tumor on my brain and I would undergo surgery again after the year was over. The amazing doctors, nurses, and medical staff at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) saved my life and I’ve always wanted to give back. Without the game of hockey I’m not sure I would have been as motivated to go through everything that went along with surgery, rehab, and radiation.

Because of this I have created the Webster Beats Brain Tumors fundraiser (formerly Brockport Beats Brain Tumors). This is the fourth year we have hosted this event to raise money and awareness for brain tumors. … This is a perfect way to give back, and together, we can make this horrific experience a little easier for kids in the future.

After the game, everyone is invited to convene at Buntzy’s Sports Bar, 2235 Empire Blvd. for a concert by Dawgs For a Cauz, more games and prizes.

Marshal’s goal this year is to raise $7,000, which will be donated to the Brain Tumor Care Fund to support care for patients with brain tumors and their family members and caregivers during all stages of treatment.

There are several ways you can support the cause, even without attending the game:

  • Make out a check to University of Rochester Medical Center with “Webster Beats Brain Tumors” in the memo, mailed ATTN: Brooke Whowell, 300 E River Rd, Rochester, NY 14627.
  • Make a secure gift online at
  • Donate a raffle item for the raffle. Email to arrange pick up of donated item.
  • Attend the game on Jan. 3 at 6 p.m. at the Webster Ice Arena, 865 Publishers Parkway. All proceeds from the raffle and promotional items will be donated to URMC.
  • Celebrate at Buntsy’s at 8:30 with the Dawgs For a Cauz concert
  • Volunteer: Email Marshal at for more information.

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Thoughts on the First Responders 5K

2 Sep

(Photo courtesy Mary White)

An amazing 625 people — both adults and children — participated in the second annual First Responders 5K on Friday night, which began on Sanford Street near Firemen’s Field and wound through the east side of Webster village.  It’s an impressive number considering it was the start of Labor Day weekend AND it was a Friday night, two very good reasons that race participants might have had other things to do or places to be.

But again this year, Webster and our surrounding communities showed how incredibly

holly and me

Before the race with my friend Holly. (Courtesy Mary White)

supportive they are of our first responders. And not only did the race attract a lot of runners, but the number of village residents who took the time to sit out front of their homes and cheer the runners as we raced by was heartening and very much appreciated.

Kudos to all of the firefighters and police officers who ran in their full gear; the weather was much improved over last year’s heat and humidity, but it must have still been a struggle to complete the 3.1-mile course while wearing many pounds of gear.

I took a few pictures, but not as many as our favorite Turkey Trot photographer Mary White. I’ve posted a few here, but if you’d like to see a lot more, click this link for an entire gallery.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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Webster community mailbag

31 Jul



Webster extreme softball 12U Hicks team had an amazing season! They were undefeated in league play, won four of the six tournaments they attended, and placed in top three of the other two. The last tournament was a huge win in Clayton NY this past weekend.

I don’t have much more information about their season yet, but when I do, I will post another blog with LOTS of action photos!

More Music, More Music

I was reminded recently that in addition to Webster’s weekly Friday night concerts in the gazebo, there’s another great free concert series hosted every Wednesday night.

They’re called Caring Community Concerts, hosted by the Webster United Church of Christ, 570 Klem Rd. They’re held on the church’s front lawn, beginning at 6:30 p.m. (In case of rain they’re moved indoors.)

Each concert benefits a different community agency, and while the concerts are free, donations are gratefully accepted. There’s also a concession stand, which opens at 6 p.m., if you need something to eat.

Upcoming concerts will feature:

  • Tonight, July 31: Allegro, to benefit the Webster Health and Education Network
  • August 7: Mr. Mustard, to benefit the Webster Public Library BookBox for Kids
  • August 14: Alyssa Trahan, to benefit the Friends of Webster Trails

Bring a blanket, bring a friend, bring a picnic if you want, and enjoy some great music. Check out the church’s Facebook page for more information.

Puzzle Me This


Jigsaw puzzle lovers, take note!

If you need to update your collection with some new puzzles, here’s a great opportunity. The Webster Public Library will hold a Jigsaw Puzzle Swap on Monday and Tuesday Aug. 5 and 6, all day.

Bring one (or several) puzzles you’d like to swap, and turn each one in for a new-to-you one!

The Webster Public Library is located at 980 Ridge Rd. (on the back side of Webster Plaza), and is open Monday and Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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