Tag Archives: WCSD

Webster Marching Band lights up the field at Autumn Fanfare

5 Oct

Our very own State Champion Webster Marching Band will host their 36th annual Autumn Fanfare field show and competition this Saturday October 8 at Webster Schroeder High School, 875 Ridge Rd.

Ten different field bands will compete this year, representing schools from Buffalo to Victor. Each school has about 10 minutes to present their program for the judges before clearing the field for the next band. The programs they present reflect months worth of planning and rehearsing to be ready for almost weekly competitions in September and October, culminating in the state championships on Oct. 30.

Autumn Fanfare is always a spectacular evening of storytelling through music, marching, and even a little bit of acting. There are always huge set pieces involved to move the music-story forward, and this year is especially impressive, ’cause there’s a light show involved.

Their 2022 field show is called “Only Light Can Do That,” and according to the release the band sent, it revolves around “being the light in a dark world…. It reminds people that fighting hate with hate only creates more hate, and that fighting darkness with darkness only creates darkness. Illustrating that change can begin with one person at a time, and that light and positivity can be infectious.” 

The release further descibed the show:

Their performance starts with a flute soloist who plays a melody that repeats throughout the show. This represents the light. In Movement One (“Darkness”), the rest of the ensemble represents the darkness that overtakes the single light. However, in Movements Two (“Shining Through”) and Three (“Light”), you hear and see a shift of positivity when the full ensemble plays the “light” melody which represents light overtaking all of the darkness. Musical selections include original music by Webster Marching Band Director Jerbrel Bowens.

See? It’s kind of like a theatrical performance, driven by music. You really got to see it to believe it.

Autumn Fanfare begins promptly at 6 p.m. with a performance by Marcus Whitman. The rest of the schedule looks like this:

  • 6:13 p.m.: Le Roy
  • 6:26 p.m.: Hilton
  • 6:39 p.m.: Greece
  • 7:12 p.m.: Webster
  • 7:25 p.m.: West Seneca
  • 7:38 p.m.: Medina
  • 7:51 p.m.: East Irondequoit
  • 8:04 p.m.: Lancaster
  • 8:17 p.m.: Victor

Gates will open at 5 p.m. Tickets are $7 in advance from Hegedorn’s, $9 at the gate. The show will be held rain or shine.

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(posted 10/5/2022)

PTSA/WHEN-sponsored speaker will address social media concerns

27 Sep

I can’t speak for everyone in my generation, but I’ve come to a point in my life where I can’t keep up with the pace of technology. That’s especially the case with the proliferation of social media outlets. I mean, I’m still not even on board with TikTok and Snapchat, which in 2022 are among the elder statesmen of social media.

So I can’t even imagine how difficult it must be to have kids right now, who seem to be on their phones every waking moment. Keeping them safe and focused on school and other responsibilities is a formidable task.

A program coming up on Tuesday Oct. 4 is designed to help parents with that task.

The program, sponsored by the Webster Central PTSA and the Webster Health Education Network (WHEN), is called Social Media and Your Kids. It features Mark Stossel, an award-winning poet and filmmaker, who will speak on how technology affects, influences, and makes addicts of all of us.

Stossel is kind of an expert in the field. He ran social media for multinational brands and worked for a social media company where he designed some of the same notification structures to distract people that he now raises awareness about. He has spoken with hundreds of thousands of students, parents, and educators around the world about social media’s impact on our lives and provides a unique and much needed critical perspective on the role of technology in schools and in our society. 

His presentation will illustrate some of the specific ways technology is designed to be addictive and distracting, give an overview of how students are using social media, and give recommendations on how to improve focus and diminish distraction in learning environments. 

Stossel will speak at assemblies at both Webster Thomas and Schroeder high schools, but the presentation on Oct. 4 is meant for the entire Webster community. It will be held at Webster Schroeder High School, 975 Ridge Rd., on Tuesday Oct. 4 beginning at 7 p.m. Admission is free.

For more information on Stossel, go to socialawakening.org. For more information on his Webster School District presentations, contact Joe Montemaro, district director of educational technology and information, at 216-0123 or joe_montemaro@webstercsd.org.

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(posted 9/27/2022)

New kindergartners invited to Strive for Five

25 Jul

The start of the new school year is just around the corner, so it’s time to start thinking about buying supplies, getting up early again, and catching the bus.

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 15th year, is designed for 2022/23 incoming kindergartners. It gives children a chance to become familiar with school buses, and learn important safety procedures.

Due to construction at the transportation department, this year’s program will be held at Webster Schroeder High School, 875 Ridge Rd. It begins promptly at 6 p.m., and parents/guardians are asked to park in the high school’s main parking lot.

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 1 – Plank South
August 2 – Klem North and Schlegel Rd.
August 3 – Klem South and State Rd.
August 4 – Plank North and Dewitt Rd.

Private and parochial students residing in the Webster Central School District can attend any one of the four dates.

The program will be held outside and will take place rain or shine.

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(posted 7/25/2022)

Students learn life skills at the OWL Cafe

13 Jun

A small, student-run cafe has sprung up at Schlegel Rd. Elementary School, and it’s providing a lot more than just coffee and snacks for both students and staff.

The “OWL Cafe, Coffee and More” is being operated by the students of the One Webster Learning (OWL) Center, a small program serving Webster Central School District students in grades K-12. 

The cafe, which has been operating for about a month, was first proposed for Schlegel by OWL social worker Kelly Petzing, who saw a similar venture at another school. She immediately recognized that “it would be a good opportunity for the kids to plan something, work together, and use different skills,” she said. It’d be an especially good way to reinforce the mathematics and social skills they’ve been working on all year.

So she brought the idea to OWL teacher Brennan Leva, and together they presented it to the students.

“They were all super excited about it,” Petzing said. So they started planning, working with the students to come up with a name, figuring out what kinds of jobs were required, what services to provide and what products to sell.

The cafe launched about a month ago, and the students immediately proved they were up to the challenge of operating a new business. They rotate among three jobs, Leva said: set-up, cashier and barista. Each presents a different set of learning goals.

“For set-up, students need to learn what things they need to get ready each day, and how to make a list of items that might be missing,” Leva explained. “The cashier’s job is to greet customers, count money and give change.”

The job of barista, however, is probably the most popular. This student listens for the orders, makes the coffee in the Keurig or pours the tea, and hands the drink order to the customers.

The cafe is open for an hour every morning and a half hour in the afternoon. Its menu includes hot or iced coffee, hot or iced tea, seltzer water and a variety of cookies, chips, fresh fruit and other snacks.

It’s a very professionally run business. Every employee wears a crisp blue apron, complete with name tag. Customers are immediately greeted with a polite, “Welcome to OWL Cafe, Coffee and More. How can we help you?” Orders are filled quickly, change is made accurately (albeit with some adult help) and if you need creamer or sugar, you’ll find it at the well-stocked condiment bar. There are even regular specials like half-off hot tea, or buy a drink and get a hand-made bracelet for free. They offer loyalty cards. There’s even an “Employee of the Week,” his or her photo posted next to the condiment bar.

In the short time the cafe has been open, the students have already shown great strides in self-confidence and even leadership skills, Leva said She added,

At first it was a lot of adult help but I think they can pretty much run it self-sufficiently. They’ve really taken over ownership of it. We’ve had some of the younger kids start training. So it’s nice to see that they took complete control of training them, told them everything they need to know, gave them aprons so they’re ready to go.”

A few students have even said they might like to work at Starbucks someday.

Schlegel staff members have embraced the new cafe with open arms, keeping the staff busy with orders for coffee, tea and snacks.

Consultant teacher Bill Ambler is a regular customer.

“The OWL Cafe staff greet me every morning with a smile and a fresh iced coffee,” he said. “The students are always so eager to serve and offer their recommendations. It’s wonderful to see some friends who have been very shy in the past come out of their shells when talking to staff, and a noticeable increase in self-confidence.”

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(posted 6/13/2022)

Thomas drama students inaugurate new outdoor stage with original one-act plays

31 May

The Webster Thomas Drama Club normally likes to stage their annual production in the fall. But this year, due to COVID restrictions, they decided to postpone it until spring in the hopes of being able to perform in front of a live audience.

Their efforts have paid off big time. Not only will the audience be treated to a live show, but will also see it performed outside on a brand new stage built by the GeoTech class in the school’s Gold House courtyard.

This inaugural Thomas Courtyard Stage production, called The Neighbors, is a collection of one-act plays written by Thomas students, all set in a townhouse complex (the two photos are from rehearsal). The show will include:

The Party, by Giuliana DiTullio:  Five college seniors wake up in their trashed apartment after a night of poor choices.  With family on the way, can they clean up their act in time?

The Will, by Kilian Laird:  A dysfunctional family comes together for the reading of Grandma’s will.  Can the estranged sisters set aside years of petty bickering?

The Heirloom, by Frank Russo:  A sibling rivalry blows up, and Dad’s precious family heirloom is caught in the cross-fire.  Can Freddy prove his innocence?

The Ghost, by Jenna Dow:  Rosalind and Charlie come home for her mother’s funeral, but strange things are afoot. 

The Mouse, by Catherine Magaw:  Moving to take care of an elderly mother is hard enough, but Christine and George weren’t planning on a little houseguest. 

The show will hit the stage on Thursday June 9 and Friday June 10 at 7:30 p.m. each evening. General admission tickets, available at the door, will be $10. Signs around the building will guide theater-goers to the new stage, but it’s easiest to park in the northeast parking lot by the Field House.

Director Mark Stoetzel and his students are very excited about the new stage. It’s been in the works for months, and is very sturdy and attractive, complete with a pergola. I’m certain the school will get a lot of use out of it in years to come. Below are a few photos from the design and construction phase.

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(posted 5/31/2022)

Mock DWI scenario taught Webster Thomas students a sobering lesson

27 May

Anyone who happened to drive by Thomas High School Wednesday morning might have been alarmed to see dozens of firefighters, police officers, EMTs and their emergency vehicles swarming around what appeared to be a horrific accident that had just occured in front of the school.

But they needn’t have worried. The realistic accident scene was actually a very carefully arranged and pre-planned mock DWI scenario. It’s organized annually by our local emergency responders as a training exercise, and hosted by the school district during prom and graduation party season as a serious, real-life lesson for our students.

The scene imagined a two-car accident occurring just down the street from the high school, at the corner of Five Mile Line Rd. and Publisher’s Parkway. About 700 juniors and seniors watched from bleachers in the parking lot as School Resource Officer David Herrle described what happened.

It was prom night, and the young driver of one of the cars had had too much to drink. The other driver, distracted by the friends riding with him, didn’t see the drunk driver bearing down on him as he made the turn. He was t-boned.

Somebody called 911, and emergency vehicles started arriving. First a police car, and then a second. Finally, after what seemed like a very long time, an ambulance, two fire trucks from West Webster, and two more from the Webster Volunteer Fire Department pulled up.

As the officers and firefighters surveyed the scene, they found that the distracted driver, who was not wearing a seatbelt, had been ejected. He was lying on the sidewalk nearby, dead. Firefighters placed a sheet over him. Another student in the car suffered a broken ankle and, after getting out of the car, hobbled to the ambulance.

The drunk driver was unscathed, and with some assistance was able get out of her car. Her three passengers, however, had to be removed with the help of the Jaws of Life, an agonizingly long and fightening process if you’re trapped and hurt.

As the firefighters were removing doors and cutting the roof off the car, the young lady who was driving drunk was taken aside by a police officer, given a field sobriety test and arrested.

The whole scenario only took about 45 minutes, but for those who were taking it seriously, they might be among the most important 45 minutes of their lives.

Acerin Menough, a Thomas High junior, was especially surprised by how long it took to get everyone extracted. After the presentation, she told me,

It took a lot longer than I thought it was going to take. I thought it would take maybe like ten minutes for them to get everybody out of the cars but it took an entire block, like 45 minutes to an hour. That was pretty scary, knowing that I could be totally fine driving and then somebody could hit me, and I could end up dying because of it. But I also found it very interesting seeing how they opened the cars and how hard it was to get into the cars.

But Acerin was also bothered by how some of classmates were behaving. When I asked her if she thought everyone else would take it seriously, she said,

“Probably not. A lot of them weren’t paying attention or messing around on their phones, which is really upsetting, because this could save their lives. A lot of them just don’t care and they don’t understand the impact of that.”

Speaking as a mother, I hope the message being shared that day sunk in at least a little bit with everyone. But I know that’s wishful thinking. Young people these days tend to think they’re invincible. Bad stuff like that can happen to someone else, but never to me.

But I couldn’t help thinking back to one of these mock DWI presentations I watched many years ago when I was working at Thomas. In addition to the student actors, the school had brought in the mother of the driver who “died.” She was standing on the school’s front walk when a police officer told her that her son had not survived. As any mother would when given that news, she collapsed with grief. As I watched, I found it easy to imagine how devastated she was, to feel the searing pain of losing a child. I cried, too.

I don’t imagine many high school students read this blog. But if you have one, or know of one, perhaps you can present him or her with that perspective: you might think it’s OK to be cavalier with your life, cut corners and take chances. But think what the news of your hospitalization — or death — would do to your parents.

Thank you to all of the organizations who joined forces to stage this important demonstration: the Webster Police Department, Webster Volunteer Fire Department, West Webster Fire Department, Webster EMS, Northeast Quadrant ALS and Webster Central School District. Thanks also to Wilbert’s U-Pull It for donating the vehicles and Barth Towing for getting the vehicles to and from the accident scene.

The entire scenario will replayed at Webster Schroeder on Thursday June 2 in the back parking lot.

Here’s a slideshow of photos from the event:

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email me  at missyblog@gmail.com“Like” this blog on Facebook and follow me on Twitter and Instagram.

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(posted 5/24/2022)

Oak Tree Award winners announced

13 May

Congratulations to this year’s Webster Central School District Oak Tree Award recipients, announced earlier this week.

This year’s winners were Michele Parry, a fourth grade teacher at Plank South Elementary School, and Denise Warren, a special education teacher at Webster Thomas High School.

Parry and Warren were greeted by representatives of the Oak Tree Committee, teaching colleagues, and others with flowers and a cookie cake. Each recipient will receive a $500 stipend, a hand-lathed pen, and an acorn pin. The honorees were also congratulated by the Webster CSD Board of Education at its May 3 meeting. 

Thirty-eight educators were nominated by students, teachers, and community members for this year’s award.

The Oak Tree Award spotlights excellence in teaching at the elementary and the secondary levels and is jointly sponsored by the Webster Teachers Association and the Webster PTSA. The first Oak Tree Award was presented in 2000 and is a once-in-a-career honor.

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email me  at missyblog@gmail.com“Like” this blog on Facebook and follow me on Twitter and Instagram.

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(posted 5/13/2022)

Webster community mailbag

4 May

The Webster Arboretum Association, together with local growers and local garden clubs will host the 2022 Webster Arboretum Plant Sale on Saturday May 7 from 8 a.m. to noon.

A tremendous variety of beautiful, healthy plants from standard to uncommon will be available including annuals, dwarf conifers, hostas, geraniums, tomatoes, and more. It’s a great way to celebrate spring and get some live plants perfectly suited for your garden. And don’t forget … Mother’s Day is Sunday!

The sale will be held at the Webster Arboretum, 1700 Schlegel Rd. Webster.


The Webster Central School District Budget Vote and School Board Election is coming up Tuesday May 17. The vote will be held at Webster Schroeder High School from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. To view detailed information about the district’s 2022/23 proposed budget, click here.

For the Board of Education election, community residents will be asked to elect three individuals for three-year terms. Nine people are running. The three candidates receiving the greatest number of votes will be deemed elected and will begin their terms of office on July 1, 2022.

Click here to read bios about all of the candidates. You’re also invited to join a live-streamed Meet the Candidates Night on Tuesday May 10 from 7 to 9 p.m. The link is: www.websterptsa.org/mtcn2022. If you can’t make it Tuesday, check back on the PTSA website for a recorded video.


The Friends of the Webster Public Library will host their annual Spring Book Sale from Thursday to Saturday May 12 to 14. Hardcover books are just $1, and paperbacks just 50 cents.

Hours are Thursday May 12 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon. Friday and Saturday are also BYOB Bag Sale, when $5 fills a bag. (Bring your own bag.)


If you haven’t noticed yet, the New York DOT has begun a huge Rt. 104 roadwork project on the east side of town. It involves resurfacing, improving traffic signals, replacing guard rails, repainting pavement markings and crosswalks and more.

This is going to be a summer-long project; they don’t anticipate finishing everything until November. So keep an eye out for workers, obey flagmen, and how ’bout we all slow down a bit when we’re going through the construction zones?

Click the photo below for details. (You can also see the map on the Town of Webster webpage.

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(posted 5/4/2022)

Webster Schroeder kicks off spring musical season

1 Feb

Live musicals are back!

Webster Schroeder High School is kicking off the spring musical season with an in-person performance of A Chorus Line, which will be presented in four shows the weekend of Feb. 10.

The high-stepping, Tony Award-winning musical is described on the Webster Schroeder Musicals website as “a stunning concept musical capturing the spirit and tension of a Broadway chorus audition” which explores “the inner lives and poignant ambitions of professional Broadway performers.”

The show features tunes we all recognize, including “What I Did for Love,” “One,” “I Can Do That,” “At the Ballet,” “The Music and the Mirror,” and “I Hope I Get It.”

A Chorus Line” will be presented in four shows, Thursday and Friday Feb. 10 and 11 at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday Feb. 12 at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m., in the Webster Schroeder auditorium, 875 Ridge Rd.

Reserved-seating tickets are $13, and are available now at websterschroedermusicals.com.

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There are fairies among us!

4 Jan

Bet you didn’t know … the field behind State Rd. Elementary School is home to more than two dozen fairies.  

It’s true! They live in 26 miniature fairy houses installed along a more than 3/4-mile path that begins near the school’s back door and stretches all along the wooded area that rings the rear of the property. And to be clear, we THINK fairies live in the houses, because no one’s ever seen them. But lots of folks — families and students — still walk the path regularly in hopes of catching a glimpse of the secretive sprites.

The idea to make the fairy trail came from State Rd. kindergarten teacher Jacquie Smith, who for the last eight years has created a very magical “Fairy Day” for her students. It’s part of an entire fairytale unit, and Smith finds ways to work in science, literacy, mathematics, art, even music. Then on one very special day, she transforms her kindergarten classroom into a magical wonderland, complete with twinkly lights, fairy jars, fairy dust, fairy music, fairy wands and fairy stories.

Smith would also take her students to Tinker Nature Park every year to hike the park’s fairy trail and complete a scavenger hunt. It was a highlight for students and parents alike, so when the park’s staff decided to remove the houses in March 2019, everyone was upset.  

That’s when Smith came up with the idea to make their own fairy trail, using the alphabet trail that already existed behind the school. The trail already had 26 lettered posts; all they needed were fairy houses. 

With full support from the administration, Smith got to work. First, an amazing parent, Brian Roode, built 26 creative and whimsical fairy houses. Then on one extra special day, during the lunch hours, every student in the school had a chance to help decorate the houses by painting them or adding decorations. 

The houses were installed on the posts in June 2019, and Smith organized a ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the new fairy trail. It was a big deal. Former WCSD Superintendent Carm Gumina even donned a pair of fairy wings for the event. Still, Smith wasn’t sure anyone aside from the other kindergarten classes would come.    

“I offered it to the whole school as an optional activity,” she said. “I didn’t want to throw too much more on their plate at the end of the year.” So she was rather surprised when, at the appointed time, every single class came out to watch the ceremony.

It was “the most overwhelming thing,” she remembered.

Two and a half years later, the State Rd. Elementary School Fairy Trail is still there, although a few of the posts need occasional repair due to wind and heavy rains. It’s still an enchanted place, especially for all the innocent new kindergarteners who walk through the school’s front doors every September.

“I love teaching kindergarten because of the magic in here,” Smith said. “They bring the magic into the classroom. They believe and it makes everything else go away.”

One story in particular is a perfect illustration.

“I had one student come in the day after they took their fairy gardens home, and he looked absolutely exhausted,” she said. “He said, ‘Mrs. Smith, I stayed up watching my fairy garden outside to see if there was a fairy.’ And he starts crying. ‘I tried to watch all night and the fairy never came.'”

“I asked him, Buddy, you know the magic of fairies. Did you ever see the tooth fairy? No? That’s because they only come when we’re away or asleep and they leave us hints of magic. So you need to go home and see if you find any hints of the magic.”

When the little boy returned to school the next day, he looked much more rested and cheerful. He reported that he’d found a small speckled stone by the fairy garden. He was convinced it was a hint of magic.

Like that little boy, we should all look for those hints of magic in our lives every day.

Here are photos of a few more of the fairy houses on the trail:

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