Tag Archives: Webster Central Schools

Community readers are needed!

9 Feb

booksThe Webster school district is looking for some book-loving adults who’d like to participate in a pilot reading program being led by Webster Schroeder English teacher Eileen Connelly.

The program is called Webster Community Reading. Connelly describes how it will look:

The program pairs adult readers with high school students. Each pair reads and responds to a novel over a period of about four weeks. The kids read the book in class and answer four questions in a notebook; the book and notebook are then delivered to the adult reader who completes the same task and returns it. A district courier drops off books and notebooks at central locations around the district and we have a luncheon at the end where readers get a chance to meet each other.

Readers only have to commit to four weeks of reading. Books will be provided and delivered to a location of your choosing.

Connelly said that the program has been very successful at Brighton High School.  She has chosen to pilot the program here in Webster with one of her sophomore English classes.

But to be successful, Webster Community Reading has to have readers. So far only six people have signed up for 26 open slots. If you’re interested in taking part, click here to fill out the very short registration form. If you have any questions about the program, drop Eileen Connelly an email at eileen_connelly@webstercsd.org.

What a great way to encourage literacy! I’ve already signed up.

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“Anything Goes” opens this Thursday

6 Feb

wizard of oz

Congratulations to the students of Willink Middle School for an outstanding performance of The Wizard of Oz last weekend! It was a fitting kick-off to the spring musical season, which continues this coming weekend when Webster Schroeder High School presents Anything Goes. 

The scene is a cruise ship in the late 1930s. Carefree broker Billy Crocker finds out that the woman he’s in love with is engaged to someone else and about to set sail on the luxury liner S.S. American, he sets in motion a madcap plan to stow away on the ship, win socialite Hope Harcourt’s hand, impress his boss, and evade law enforcement who anythinggoes_home400think he’s Snake Eyes Johnson, Public Enemy #1.

It’s a funny musical adventure, packed with Cole Porter songs you already love (like “Friendship” and “I Get a Kick Out of You”).  Showtimes are Feb. 7, 8 and 9 at 7:30 p.m., with a matinee performance on Feb. 9 at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $10-$15, available online at www.Showtix4u.com or at any Wegmans.

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Teachers “Plunging” for a cause

5 Feb

polar plungeI work with some pretty crazy colleagues. Crazy dedicated to students, that is.

Several of my colleagues at Schlegel Road Elementary School — and at least two others from Schroeder and Plank North — are teaming up to participate in the Polar Plunge this coming Sunday, which takes place annually at Ontario Beach Park.

In this very, very cold event, participants raise money for Special Olympics by “plunging” into Lake Ontario. There’s no swimming skills involved; even dipping a toe in counts as a plunge.

The Rochester Polar Plunge is the largest Polar Plunge in New York and one of the largest in the entire U.S. It’s part of the Special Olympics New York Polar Plunge series. There are over 15 Polar Plunges statewide and the event serves as the signature fundraising initiative to benefit the athletes and programs of Special Olympics New York.

The first Plunge in Rochester was held in 2001 and had 75 plungers with $15,000 being raised. It has since grown tremendously, drawing 2,300 plungers in 2016, who raised more than $300,000.

Here are the current team members (maybe one of them has taught your kids):

From Schlegel: Meg Dugan, Bill Ambler, Dan DeStephano, Jill Mancini, Janet Gibson and Becky Plouffe. Joining them are Dan Crowley from Plank North and Linda Law from Schroeder.

The team members are still looking for donations to encourage their efforts. You can click this link to support one specific team member or the entire team. And if you’re not doing anything this Sunday at noon, come on down to the lake and watch your WCSD teachers take the Plunge!

(Believe it or not, I’m seriously considering joining them……)

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Webster community mailbag

4 Feb

The Webster Chamber of Commerce recently honored Joseph A. Vitello (2nd from right) as their 2019 Business Person of the Year. Also pictured (l to r) are Joe’s mother and wife, Barry Howard, Webster Chamber President/CEO and Dawn Sargent, Webster Chamber Board Chair.

Congratulations to Joseph Vitello for recently being named Webster Chamber of Commerce’s 2019 Business Person of the Year.

Vitello is a Senior Product Advisor for Heartland Payroll Solutions who has been an enthusiastic Chamber member for a number of years and is a familiar face at Chamber breakfasts. He’s been active in our Webster business community and many businesses know him as a leading sales professional in his company.

Vitello was recognized at the Chamber’s most recent Breakfast Before Business meeting, where was presented with a plaque by Barry Howard, President/CEO of the Webster Chamber of Commerce.

Kindergarten Orientation, Registration Set

Parents of incoming kindergarteners in the 2019-20 school year are reminded that the Webster School District’s Parent Orientation and Registration Night is Tuesday, February 26 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at your student’s school. Walk-in registration is available Wednesday through Friday, February 27 to March 1, during the school day, also at your children’s school. For more information, go to websterschools.org, then select Central Registration under the Departments tab.

February at the Library

Here’s a quick run-down of some of the fun things happening at the Webster Public Library this month:

* Wednesday Night Book Discussion

This month’s book discussion group is reading The Stranger in the Woods, the real-life adventure of Christopher Knight, who lived alone in the woods of Maine for 27 years. The group’s next meeting is Wednesday, Feb. 6 at 7 p.m. All are welcome to come and no registration necessary.

Can’t make it this month? Stop by on March 6, when the group will be discussing The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict. You can pick up a copy at the circulation desk.

* The Wonders of Washington State

Lake Quinault, Quinault Rain Forest, Ruby Beach, Olympic National Park, Vancouver Island, North Cascades National Park, Seattle and San Juan Island … Is it possible to visit all of these breathtaking spots in 2 weeks? Yes, it is! Experience the beauty of Washington State in a travelogue presented Tuesday Feb. 12 from 2 to 3 p.m. in the community room.

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* Love Not Loving

Do you hate hearts and flowers? Do you think Cupid is stupid? If you don’t fall for this overrated Hallmark holiday, then you’re in luck! Bring your friends and join us in celebrating Anti-Valentine’s Day with fun activities and tasty treats! Grades 6 to 12 are welcome, and registration is required. Click here for more information.

* February Break activities

Looking ahead to February break, make sure to check the library schedule for all sorts of fun and educational activities for the kids. They can test their engineering skills with the Family Egg Drop Challenge, discover what’s inside a microwave in How it Works, use everyday household items in Building Mini Launchers, learn the beginnings of coding in Offline Coding for Beginners, or build a giant castle on Boxing Day!

Visit the Webster Public Library website for more information about all these programs.

The First Baptist Church of Penfield’s next Saturday Flapjack Breakfast is scheduled for February 16 from 8 to 10 a.m. at the church, 1862 Penfield Road.

For just $5 per person, you get all-you-can-eat pancakes, pure maple syrup, scrambled eggs, sausage, and beverages. All are welcome, and the venue is handicapped accessible.

Proceeds this month will benefit the Resolve, an organization dedicated to intervening and preventing domestic and sexual violence against women

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Webster grad proposes two new school fight songs

10 Jan


Several weeks ago I received a very interesting email from one Jason Hammersla. Now a resident of Alexandria, Virginia, Jason was a 1995 Webster High School graduate. You may recognize the name since his mother, Arleen, was an elementary school reading teacher in the district for many years.

Despite having moved away from Webster, Jason remembers his high school years fondly, and believes with a passion that his years at Webster High created the successful person he is today.

He wrote,

The feverishly dedicated administration, the wildly passionate faculty and staff and even the strangely enthusiastic student government created a community whose warmth stood in direct contradiction to the surrounding weather. …

Webster High School was and is a testament to the value of a first-class public education, even in an era of a flagging local economy, surging enrollment and increasing responsibility for the most vulnerable students.

He added that when he was here, he didn’t think the school had a fight song, an alma mater so to speak. (“Or if it did, it was ill-remembered and disregarded.”)

He decided that oversight needed to be fixed. So he sat down and wrote this:


I will always be a warrior
For knowledge and the truth
I will hold on tight to the fading light
And the passion of my youth
To the ones who made me who I am
I could never say goodbye
I owe all I’ve earned to the things I learned
At my dear old Schroeder High

I will always be a warrior
For my faith and righteousness
And as I may roam I’ll remember home
And the ones who know me best
With appreciation reverent
For the wisdom you supply
With your courage and encouragement
We remember Schroeder High

I will always be a warrior
For the honest and the fair
When I search my heart for the warmest part
I will always find you there
All the principles you gave to me
These I swear will never die
For I cling to these, with the memories
Of my dear old Schroeder High

(Click here to listen to the song actually performed by Jason’s friend Jason Menkes.)

Just to be equal (the district is all about parity between the schools, after all), he also wrote one for Thomas (which you can listen to here):


Of all my days, my brightest days
Are lit with wonder at the ways
My mind recalls and spirit stays
With Webster Thomas High
And now no treasures can replace
No winter winds would dare erase
The lessons learned here in this place
For Titans rule the world

Of all my dreams, the sweetest dreams
Are those when I was young, it seems
And all we had were plans and schemes
At Webster Thomas High
And if my memories do err
And life was something less than fair
I still think life’s worth living there
Where Titans rule the world

Of all my friends, my closest friends
Are those for whom our love depends
On fitful starts and happy ends
At Webster Thomas High
We’ll always have the stories told
Of memories and blue and gold
Of Thomas high, and times of old
When Titans ruled the world

Jason sent his finished songs to Superintendent Gumina, who “seemed chagrined to inform me that Webster Thomas High School, at least, already has a school song….. But he also said “love the music!!” and said that he would “share with the principal and the choral director as well as with the student council advisors.”

Well, that was a while ago, and Jason hasn’t heard anything back, so the songs are probably dead in the water.

But I’m curious what you all think about them. If you’re a Schroeder or Thomas graduate — or if you have children who attend there — do you know what the school’s alma mater is? Or even if there is one? I’d love to hear from you if you can track one down!

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Webster Hots joins Spry MS to recognize students

31 Dec

Bill and Kelly Mutschler, owners of Webster Hots in the Village of Webster, have teamed up with Spry Middle School to recognize star students.

Once a month, Spry administrators will choose a CARE Student of the Month, randomly choosing from a collection of CARE cards. The cards are submitted by staff members, who use them to nominate students for the award, based on students’ exhibiting CARE behaviors (cooperation, accountability, respect and excellence).

One winner each month will be awarded a $20 gift card from Webster Hots. Here’s a video explaining the whole program:

The first honoree will be announced on Webster Hots’ Facebook page on Monday, Dec. 31. Winning students will also be posted in a special spot reserved on Webster Hots’ wall for CARE Program honorees.

Webster Hots is located at 55 East Main Street in Webster.

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Two holiday events to start the season

1 Dec

At St. Martin last night, this young lady had to make sure her letter to Santa was placed in his mailbox before visiting with him. 

Happy December!

There are so many holiday events on the calendar over the next few weeks. This weekend is a particularly busy one, with the White Christmas in the Village celebration today leading the list.

I can’t make it to every one, but I did catch a few community parties last night at St. Martin Lutheran Church and Plank Rd. North Elementary School.

St. Martin’s annual Christmas party is terrific. And it’s always the first place every Christmas season that I get to see Santa. The church’s community room is nicely decorated, the volunteers are dressed like elves, there’s free pizza and cookies, and the Girl Scouts run games for the children.

I was really impressed how volunteers were taking beautiful photos of children with Santa, then immediately running them off on a color printer for parents to take home with them. What a treasure.

Here’s a little video of photos from the evening:

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Plank North’s Share the Season is always fun as well. There’s caroling around the piano, Christmas cookies to be frosted and sprinkled, and lots of holiday crafts — ornaments and wreaths — which kids and adults make to be donated to different community agencies.

Here are some photos from last night:

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I’ll be walking around with my camera all afternoon today, and definitely during the parade of lights tonight. Hope to see you all!

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Webster community mailbag

30 Nov

Here’s a quick note from the Webster Fire Department: When you’re in town this Saturday, Dec. 1 for the White Christmas in the Village celebration, remember to bring a jacknew, unwrapped toy for the JACK Foundation Toy Drive.

All donations can be dropped off at the fire house, 35 South Avenue, and all the toys will be distributed to local charities.

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The Webster Lions Club will host their annual FREE Pancake Breakfast with Santa this Sunday, December 2.

Breakfast will be served at Webster East Golf Club, 440 Salt Rd., from 8 a.m. to noon. It includes pancakes, sausage, scrambled eggs, English muffins, hot and cold beverages, raffles, prizes, gift certificates and (of course) a visit from Santa.

There’s no charge, but donations will be gratefully accepted to benefit Santa’s Workshop, One Soldier at a Time and other Lions Club charities.

For more information, visit the Lions Club website here.

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Here’s a nice story from our schools.

Five Webster Thomas High School art students have brightened Rochester General Hospital’s Lipson Cancer Institute by creating landscape murals for the center’s infusion room.

A new Center for Critical Care is being built at Rochester General Hospital and as part of the project, the windows of the infusion room at Lipson have been boarded up — and will be for two to three years — leaving the room devoid of outside light.

The Lipson Cancer Center reached out to Webster Thomas art teacher Todd Stahl inquiring about painting a mural that could cover the windows. Students Quinn Bartusek, Delaney David, Sarah Postigo, Olivia Meynadasy, and Alexandra Steve answered the call. All are members of the school’s art club, who worked throughout last school year to create a five-panel nature themed mural. The finished mural was delivered in October, and on November 21, a few of the artists and their teacher visited the infusion room to see the mural and meet some of the patients.

Art Students

Webster Thomas art students with a patient at the Lipson Cancer Institute. (provided)

Finally, since December is just around the corner, here’s a look at some of the programs the Webster Public Library has in store for in next several weeks:

  • LuLaRoe Pop-Up Boutique, Saturday Dec. 8, from noon to 2 p.m. This is a good chance to get a head start on your holiday shopping, and proceeds will benefit the library.
  • Webermusic Interactive Family Concert, Saturday Dec. 15 from 2 to 3 p.m, featuring  husband and wife duo Gerard and Jeanne Weber. The holiday show will includes a mix of holiday (religious and secular) as well as popular tunes from multiple eras. Kids and adults will be invited to play along with shakers and bells.
  • Make Your Own Snow Globes, Wednesday Dec. 16, 3:30 to 5 p.m. A great after-Christmas activity for the whole family. All ages are welcome, and registration is required.
  • And save the date for the library’s Night at Hogwarts, Saturday Jan. 19 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. The night of magical fun will include crafts, activities, music, refreshments, live animals, fortune telling, potions, Quidditch, and more! Tickets are $2 for youth (2-17), $4 for adults. They’re available at the library beginning January 10.

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Notes from the schools

13 Nov

I’d like to pass along three reminders from the schools today, starting with the Webster Thomas High School fall play.

the-admirable-crichton-eshhk4cp.luzThis year’s production is The Admirable Crichton by Sir J.M. Barrie.

When an aristocratic family and their servants are trapped on a deserted island with no hope of rescue, they try to rebuild their rigid Edwardian society. Will the same people be servants? Will the same person be master? The play, from the writer of Peter Pan, is a whimsically funny, and sometimes tragic. exploration of the role of social classes.

The Admirable Crichton will be performed this Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m at Webster Thomas High School, 800 Five Mile Line Road. Tickets will be available at the door.

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Know a great teacher? It’s now time to begin your Oak Tree Award submission. The Oak Tree Award recognizes teaching excellence in Webster schools. Two winners (one elementary and one secondary) are recognized annually and each receives a $500 award. Learn  more and get your submission started by clicking here.

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unnamedPTSA calendars are still available, and they’re still just $5 each!

This is a great way to stay in the loop for all of the district’s special events. It’s filled with student artwork and has lots of space for you to add your own events and reminders.

The calendars are available at Hegedorn’s Market, and at school events all through the fall. If you purchase your calendar at your school event, all proceeds benefit your school’s PTSA.

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Autumn Fanfare: a show like no other

8 Oct

IMG_9545Since I began this blog about ten years ago, I’ve written countless times about the Webster Marching Band. I’ve met and worked with several different band directors over the years. I traded emails with the band booster leadership team. I’m friends with people whose kids are — and were — in the band. So I thought I had a pretty good idea of the talent and commitment is takes to be a part of this prestigious group.

But then I attended my very first Autumn Fanfare and I realized that I was sorely mistaken.

It’s really rather embarrassing for me to admit that the 2018 Autumn Fanfare was the first I had ever attended. But whatever the reasons for that, I finally did make it over to Webster Schroeder stadium last Saturday night for the 33rd annual Autumn Fanfare Field Show and Competition. And I was blown away.

Until that night, most of the times I had see our Pride of Webster Marching Band was when they were, well, marching down the middle of Main Street in a parade, or standing in neat rows at Webster Rural Cemetery for the Memorial Day ceremonies. I had never actually seen them doing their thing on the football field.

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.

There were winners and losers that night (it was a competition after all). But since pretty much everybody was in a different division — and Webster was just performing for exhibition — the only real competition was in the Small School 1 division between Medina and East Irondequoit, which Medina won.

But for everyone in the stands, the entire evening was a winner. And I will definitely be back again next year.

Click here to see a whole gallery of photos from the 2018 Autumn Fanfare Field Show and Competition.


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