Thoughts and images from the first days back at school

7 Sep

Well, we made it to the end of the first week back at school, and from all accounts that I heard, it started out pretty good.

I invited people to send me stories and photos from opening day, and I received several heartwarming messages and super cute photos. A big thank you to everyone who took the time to email me. I’m pleased now to share those emails with you all.

Three brothers together 

Moorman

Ryan, Nolan and Brendan Moorman

Alicia Moorman was pleased as punch to report that all three of her boys are now in the same school, Plank Road North Elementary. Ryan is in 5th grade, Brendan is in 3rd, and 4-year old Nolan just started preschool.

This is the only year they’ll be together before Ryan heads off to middle school next year. “Ryan and Brendan were happy to be back with their friends,” Alicia wrote. “And Nolan was excited to be going to his big brother’s school and meet his new friends.”

Reconnecting with favorite teachers 

This nice story also comes from Plank Road North. Laura Simmons wrote that her daughter Harleigh was “excited and ready to go” for her first day.

Harleigh Simmons

Harleigh Simmons

She moved up to 5th grade with her teacher (Mr Crowley) and most classmates and said it was great to start out knowing her teacher and friends.

When we had out evening mommy/daughter chat before bed she was full of news about one of her favorite teachers who teaches music at Plank North. News about her cats and how she has been learning how to operate the pump controls on the firetruck. That she was the only girl driver… She is all about girl power and I loved that Harleigh has such a role model to reiterate that girls/women can do anything! Now I have a little girl who wants to be a fireman like her teacher and her Papa.

An encouraging note on a scary day

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Hannah Yaravitz

This was one of my favorite emails. It’s from Tara Yaravitz, who told me about an extra special teacher at Klem South Elementary and what she did for her former students, including her daughter Hannah.

At the end of last school year, fifth grade teacher Meghann Piwko bid goodbye her students, who were moving on to Willink Middle School. But she wasn’t going to let them start the new year without one last boost of encouragement. Tara described what happened that morning.

“My daughter started sixth grade today and received a letter in homeroom this a.m. from her fifth-grade teacher from last year encouraging her, still teaching her life skills, and building confidence in her.”

Piwko had written a personal letter to each one of her former students, delivered them to Willink, and made sure they were awaiting the new sixth graders in homeroom Tuesday morning.

Tara was clearly touched by the teacher’s thoughtfulness.

“I think it’s such a lovely idea and gives (the students) a sense of comfort on a day that is full of anxiousness and worry and fear of the unknown. …  As a parent I think that’s so special and truly shows how much her teacher cares about her and her other classmates from last year.”

New to kindergarten? No problem!

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Anya Orr with her family

Proud grandma Rebecca Parzynski sent this photo of her granddaughter Anya Orr, who’s all smiles as she poses with her dad Joshua, mom Melissa and little sister Teagan.

Anya started kindergarten this week at State Road Elementary School. Rebecca reported that Anya “was nervous, but had a great day.”

New school, new friends

Samantha Privitera sent along this photo of her daughter Lilli on her first day of school in second grade at Schlegel Road Elementary. It

Lilli1 (1)

Lilli Privitera

was a brand new school for Lilli, who had just transferred over from Plank North.

Looks like she was pretty excited to start the year, and since I work right across the hall from her classroom at Schlegel, I can attest that it was a good day!

It was a red carpet morning

All the students at Schlegel Road Elementary started the day on a high note, actually. They received a royal welcome when they filed off their buses Tuesday morning.

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Red carpet treatment at Schlegel

A red carpet had been set up stretching from the curb to the school’s front door, lined by all of Schlegel’s administrators, staff and faculty members, who were holding balloons, clapping noisemakers and cheering loudly.

It was the first day of school for staff, too! 

I was reminded of that a few times as I was putting together this feature. Matter of fact, one of the first emails I received made that point for me right away. Shannon Peterson wrote,

“I’m a secretary at DeWitt (Elementary) and was excited to see the kids and parents today. The first day of school

Shannon Peterson

Shannon Peterson and Lillian Bradbury

is just as exciting for us in the offices. Some students were excited to wave to me in the hall, some were excited to show me how tall they grew, their special outfit for today or just to say hello.”

She snapped a photo of one of those students, Lillian Bradbury. “She delivered a hug to me and made my day!” Shannon added.

And over at Plank North — the second of the two schools I work at — Principal Craig Bodensteiner and Assistant Principal Heather Balsamo made sure that the schools’ staff members also felt special. To show how much they love their teachers, and how much they were missed over the summer, Crag and Heather gave each one an “all star teacher” t-shirt.

On the Monday night before school my colleague Susan Padgham had this to say about the family that is Plank North:

“I work with some amazing teachers and who genuinely care for their students’ well-being, along with academics. Their tireless perseverance shows daily. Tomorrow we will all be united in wearing our green & gold school colors along with the quote ‘I am the difference.’ Another reason to be PROUD to be a Plank North Pioneer!”

Here’s the staff photo we took that morning:

Plank N staffSubstitutes unite

 

Lest we forget that we have some outstanding substitute teachers in our district, I received this message from one of my favorites, Pat Clemens-Sweetland, who told me what she did on day 1:

“Some retired teachers and substitute teachers that haven’t been called yet celebrated by meeting for breakfast!” she reported. “T’s seemed to be the ‘place to be'”!

Finally, a shout out to our hard-working school PTSAs. These dedicated volunteers took some time out on Labor Day to go around to several of the schools and create some inspirational chalk art to welcome the kids back. Here are a few examples:

And a quick reminder from the PTSA that calendars are now available at Hegedorn’s as well as at school events. The handsome publications are just $5 each and have all the important district events so you’ll never miss out.

Plus your $5 helps support our schools.

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Village schedules 9/11 ceremony

6 Sep

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One of the most solemn anniversaries in our nation’s history comes around again next week. The two simple words by which we all know it belie the horror of the day: 9/11.

The Village of Webster always does a very nice job commemorating the occasion, with a ceremony held at the gazebo at Veterans Memorial Park, on North Ave.

Scheduled for next Tuesday at 6:30 p.m., the event usually lasts around 45 or 50 minutes, and includes first responders, and local and regional political representatives who offer some comments. Last year the Chorus of the Genesee also participated, performing some patriotic tunes.

Members of the Webster Fire Department are planning to congregate at the station on South Ave. at around 6:15 and march as a group to the ceremony. You won’t want to miss that.

Click here to see the blog I wrote about last year’s 9/11 ceremony.

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Village autumn events taking shape

5 Sep

Don’t know about you, but as soon as September rolls around, I start looking forward to the brutally hot temperatures turning into the comfortable cool of fall.

And all of the great events that go along with that time of year.

trick or treat

The Village of Webster is already well into the planning stages for some of their best family-friendly events of the entire year, notably the Halloween in the Village and Trick or Treat Trail. This year’s is scheduled for Saturday October 27, complete with the ever-popular costume contest (including one for our four-legged friends) and plenty of treats from local merchants for the kids. More details to come.

Closer to the holiday season, White Christmas in the Village returns on December 1. Maybe we’ll actually get some snow this year. Stay tuned for more information about that as well.

Barry’s Old School Irish has added something new this fall. For the first time ever they’ll host a “Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day” party at the pub on Saturday Sept. 29 from 7 to 11 p.m. Celtic Cross will provide live entertainment, there’ll be Irish dancers, a whiskey toast and Guinness giveaways.  Owners Danny and Jess Barry are encouraging everyone to wear their green for the occasion.

Barry’s lovers will also want to mark your calendars for the pub’s 7th anniversary celebration. A whole week of special events will lead up to a final bash on Saturday November 3, from 7 to 11 p.m. Check the Barry’s Old School Irish Facebook page for more information.

First up, though, is the Village of Webster’s next Beer Walk, scheduled for Saturday Sept. 15 from 4 to 7 p.m. It’s sponsored by The Coach and is certain to be as much fun as the wine walks. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased online here. Check back at the Webster BID website soon for a list of participating “brew stops.”

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Lots going on at the library

4 Sep

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There’s always something going on at the Webster Public Library. Here’s a sampling of programs for children and adults coming up in the next few weeks:

Learn about Ikebana (ee-kay-bah-nah), the Japanese art of flower arrangement, on Thursday Sept. 27 and Friday Sept. 28. During regular library hours, stop into the library’s meeting room for an exhibition of this disciplined art form in which the arrangement is a living thing where nature and humanity are brought together. It’s steeped in the philosophy of developing a closeness with nature.

What should you do in the fall to ready your garden for spring? Learn about Putting Your Garden to Bed on Thursday Sept. 18 from 6 to 7 p.m. Master gardener Jurij Kushner will teach you what to do in the fall to improve soil quality, and protect perennials, tender plants, trees, and shrubs from winter conditions. The program will also explain how to bring in the house plants, how to winterize tools, and how to prepare water sources for the winter season. Registration is required.

Tired of the same old hair styles? On Monday Sept. 10 from 6:30 to 8 p.m., teens can learn Hair Braiding 101, some fun new braiding techniques to try out on themselves or their friends. The class is designed for teens in grades 6 and up (adults and younger children ages 10 and up welcome if they are accompanying a teen), and registration is required.

Children ages 15 months to 8 years old will explore science, technology, engineering and math with the STEAM Powered Play program on Thursday Sept. 13 from 3 to 4 p.m. or 4:15 to 5:15 p.m. Children will learn concepts and practice skills through hands-on exploration and play, such as creative problem solving, critical thinking, self-regulation, pre-math and science, sensory experience, construction and more. We provide experiences with blocks and loose parts, process oriented art, sensory and science, dramatic/pretend play, and language and literacy, and more. Registration required. Children must be accompanied by adults. For more information click here.

Have you always wanted to learn CPR but didn’t know where to go to do it? You can do that at the library, too! NEQALS is offering several classes in Community CPR, First Aid and AED. It is a two-year certification through the American Heart Association. The class is open to everyone in the community from 5 years old and up. Current classes are scheduled for Sept. 29, October 13, November 10 and December 8, all at 10:30 a.m. at the library. Cost is $45 per person. To sign up, email community.education@neqals.org.

The Webster Public Library is located at 980 Ridge Road. Make sure to check out their entire schedule of classes for children and adults.

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First Responders 5K a great success

2 Sep

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More than 600 runners and walkers participated in the inaugural First Responders 5K on Friday night, enjoying gorgeous (albeit somewhat warm) weather and a party atmosphere to support a good cause.

The race was organized, according to the website, to “recognize the strength, perseverance, and courage of police officers, firefighters, EMTs, and their families in our local community.” Funds raised will go to create a local charity to “provide support, awareness, assets, and services to first responders seeking assistance in dealing with the effects of PTSD.”

The race began and ended on Sanford Street, at the south side of Firemen’s Field, and wound three miles through neighborhood streets on the village’s east side. Every finisher received a medal, and enjoyed plenty of post-race food, a free beer and live music. Runners came from all over the area, including representatives from fire companies, police departments and EMS companies from all over Monroe County and beyond.

Of course many of our very own Webster Volunteer Firefighters participated, completing the entire race in full turnout gear. I even saw a Webster policeman running in his full uniform — including his dress shoes.

The number of people who signed up for the race was a delightful surprise. Even the race organizers, Fleet Feet, noted that more than 600 participants is pretty much unheard of for a first-time race, especially on a Friday night. AND on Labor Day weekend.

But that’s who we are in Webster — a strong, supportive community. I fully expect that given this year’s success, the First Responders 5K will be back again next year, and Webster will come through again.

Click here to see a small gallery of photos from the race. You can also check out a short video which Channel 8 News ran after the event, featuring one of our very own Webster volunteer firefighters.

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Reclaimed DIY celebrates grand opening

1 Sep

diy studio sign

After several months of renovations, Reclaimed DIY Studio, one of the Village of Webster’s newest businesses, will finally be opening to the public on Tuesday Sept. 4.

Reclaimed DIY, owned and operated by husband/wife team Tracy Brucato and David Zoyack, is a locally-owned studio specializing in wooden signs and decor which patrons make themselves. I wrote a blog about them about a month ago, which you can read here.

Opening week classes will begin on Tuesday and are already filling up quickly. (Parties are already booking through October at the studio, and off-site at customer’s locations like local breweries.) You can go online at www.reclaimedstudiodiy.com to see what’s available and to reserve your seat.

Tracy wrote,

I’m extremely proud of all of the hard work and dedication both David and I put into Reclaimed DIY Studio. The business in itself is a unique hands-on experience incorporating its “do-it-yourself” approach. Ironically, that’s exactly what David and I did to fully renovate the inside of the shop, construct our own website, and put forth the work needed to begin this venture. The outside is still in process of its much needed makeover, offering a rustic, industrial vibe to the Village of Webster. We are fortunate to be a part of the local Village of Webster’s establishments.

Customers can purchase $1 raffle tickets through November, for a chance to win a  $75 gift card to be used on retail purchases, DIY classes, parties or custom pieces such as wine racks and furniture.

You can stay in touch with Reclaimed DIY Studio through their website, Facebook page and Instagram at reclaimed_diy_studio.

The studio is located at 21B East Main Street (behind Press on Main), but its entrance is actually off of Lapham Park.

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An update on CrossFit Webster

31 Aug

CFWThe news of the imminent closing of CrossFit Webster (CFW) on Ridge Road took a lot of people very, very hard.

Although many people consider CrossFit a fad — or worse yet, dangerous and unhealthy — I have seen the fitness regimen improve lives, both physically and emotionally.  The friendships that are made while sweating through high-intensity workouts can become as strong as the muscles the workouts are building. More specifically, I have seen CFW help people through some tough personal challenges, and helped others gain incredible self-confidence.

So naturally when people started hearing about how CFW was closing, there was much teeth-gnashing and inaccurate news passing back and forth. I finally got the down-low from current CFA owner Laura Rice who kindly sent me a long email detailing the reasons she and her husband Jeff had to close CFW, AND how it will be reopening in a new space just down the road.

She wrote,

It had been our plan for a long time now to find a new location for CrossFit Webster once our current lease ended. For the last five years, we have been running two gyms (the other being Flower City CrossFit) and have come to realize that trying to keep up with the needs of two businesses and two communities was taking too much of a toll on us. With that in mind, we had agreed to sell CrossFit Webster to two of our trainers who had approached us about it. We were anticipating transferring the gym to them shortly after we moved to a new location.

Around six months ago we found a great new spot for the gym and began the process of getting a new lease created and working on the plan for the transition to the new owners. At the last minute, the deal to sell the gym fell through and we were left with having to make the very difficult decision to close the gym at the end of September.

Almost immediately we were approached by one of our longtime members, Rob Coffey (a CF-L1 certified trainer), who asked us about the space we were looking at. We confirmed that it was still available and told him that if he was interested in starting a gym there, we would happily endorse his efforts and would transfer the CrossFit Webster affiliate name to him.

Last weekend, Rob signed the lease for the new space and will be, as Laura said, “carrying the CrossFit Webster banner forward into its next chapter.” Laura and her husband Jeff will now be able to focus exclusively on their other location, Flower City CrossFit in Winton Place.

Word is, the new CrossFit Webster will be located just west of Lowe’s Theater on Ridge Road.

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Village traffic advisory in effect Friday

30 Aug

first responders 5KVillage of Webster residents are advised that the running of the First Responders 5K on Friday night Aug. 31 beginning at 6:30 p.m., will affect many streets. The race will be run along Sanford street and through several streets east of South Ave., requiring traffic along many of them to be delayed for a short time.

Here are the details, provided by Yellowjacket Racing:

While some streets will be closed during certain timeframes, local residential traffic will be delayed but accommodated. The Webster Police and Fire Departments will be working diligently to assist with traffic.

The following roads will be affected from 6:30-7:30PM:

• Sanford St, South Ave, Fuller Ave, Dunning Ave, Meadow Dr, Southwick Dr, Hawley Dr, Hefner Dr, Judson St, Harmon St, Curtice Park.

• Route 250 between State Road and Main Street will be closed for a short timeframe and then restricted for approximately one hour.

Here’s a look at the race map:

run route

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Schroeder teacher organizing team for Wilmot Warrior Walk

30 Aug

warrior walk

When it comes to fighting cancer, Kelly Cameron is one of those people who not only faces it head-on, but does so with a “bring it on, cancer, ’cause you’re goin’ down” attitude.

Kelly Cameron is an English teacher at Webster Schroeder High School, and I had the pleasure to work with her for many years at Webster Thomas. Kelly’s a recent breast cancer survivor; so recent that she still has one last surgery scheduled for December, which should (hopefully) take care of it for good.

So basically, Kelly Cameron has kicked cancer’s butt, so now she’s leading the way to help others do the same.

Next weekend, on Saturday Sept. 9, the University of Rochester’s Wilmot Cancer Institute will host its sixth annual Wilmot Warrior Walk — a 5K, 10K and one-mile walk — at Highland Park Bowl, to raise money for cancer research. Kelly is putting together a team of Webster CSD faculty, staff and friends to participate in that event.

But she’s doing so with a specific purpose in mind: to honor two colleagues and friends who passed from cancer.

Kelly explained her goal in a district-wide email:

Statistically speaking, every single one of us will be touched by cancer at some point in our lives. Most likely, we will experience it many times even if we aren’t personally diagnosed as well. Many in my life have fought cancer, myself included. Some have concluded that fight. With the blessings of their families, I created a team for the Wilmot Warrior Walk to honor two of our own teachers: Christine Bohannon and Chris Barnes. We lost Christine in June of 2017 and then Chris almost three weeks ago. The team and its total earnings for Wilmot are done in their honor. Your individual walk or donation can honor anyone.

Christine Bohannon was a teacher at Webster Thomas High School and passed away from B-cell Lymphoma. Chris Barnes taught at Willink Middle School and coached the Webster Thomas High School varsity girls lacrosse team. He passed away on Aug. 8 from colorectal cancer.

Kelly continued with a list of some very good reasons everyone should consider joining the team:

  • You want to honor Christine and/or Chris.
  • You want to honor a loved one who is fighting cancer.
  • You want to honor a loved one who is no longer here to continue his/her battle with cancer.
  • You are living with cancer or are a cancer survivor.
  • You are just an awesome human being who wants to support a great cause!

And she added, “if you’re unable to walk, all of the above reasons are why you should donate :)”

The one-mile walk is at Highland Park Bowl starting on Robinson Drive.  The walk is followed by finisher’s medals, an awards ceremony, and a celebration.  There will be food trucks, activities for the kids, and survivorship/wellness tent activities.  Registration is $35 per person. Participants can register online through Friday, Sept. 8 or the day of the event. To register, click here. You can also read more about the event here.

Kelly added that if you’d like to walk in support of a particular person in your life, you can wear a shirt or ribbon indicating the type of cancer that individual fought or is fighting. A list of those colors, and information about how you can help can be found here at the Bohannon/Barnes Legacy Team Link .

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Village gets charged up

29 Aug

charge 1

The Village of Webster has just taken a very big eco-friendly step.

Just this week, the village installed a new EV charging station for electric cars, located in the village parking lot behind Village Hall and the fire station. It will fully charge a car in about six hours (faster than home charging) and it has two ports, so that two cars can use it at the same time. It works with an app called EVConnect, which drivers download on their phones.

Village Mayor Darrell Byerts said that installation of the charging station is part of a charge 2broader plan to make the village a “greener” community, and perhaps nab a New York State grant.

“This brings the Village a step closer to being a Clean Energy Community and eligible for a $5000 grant,” Byerts wrote in an email.

“I have been in favor and an advocate of a charging station in the Village since seeing one at the Port of Rochester and a public parking lot in Venice, Florida,” Byerts added. “We join a growing number of local communities that are providing service for the new electric vehicles.  In fact, we are investigating and considering the future purchase of electric vehicles for Village use.”

“It is exciting to be able to now service vehicles in the heart of the downtown business area.”

Final details are still being worked out, including hours of operation, how long cars can stay connected, and whether there’s a charge to use it (no pun intended). These details will be discussed at the upcoming Village Board workshop on Tuesday Sept. 4 and regular Village Board meeting on Thursday Sept. 13. So if you’d like to weigh in on any of those topics, you should try to attend one of those meetings.

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