Tag Archives: Webster Schroeder High School

The Class of 2021 celebrated brilliantly

18 May

Pandemic shmandemic. The Webster Schroeder PTSA, Webster Thomas PTSA, and WTA are bound and determined to make this year’s senior class feel extra special. Saturday night they found a brilliant way to do that.

It was called the Senior Luminary Walk, held at the Webster Recreation Center. Seniors and their family members were invited to stroll along the one-mile long Chiyoda Trail behind the Rec Center, which volunteers had lined with white luminary bags, each one inscribed with a senior’s name and school. There were about 700 bags in total, one for each Schroeder, Thomas and GOAL senior, placed about six feet apart so they stretched the entire length of the trail.

The event began at 7:30 p.m., well before sunset, and the scene was prety impressive then. But after dark, the illuminated bags and twinky light strings lining the trail were especially spectacular.

For the entire 90-minute event, hundreds upon hundreds of students, parents, siblings, and grandparents streamed in, filling the Rec Center’s parking lot, even overflowing into the Xerox lot across the street. They strolled along the paved trail, pausing for photos when they came to their name. At the end, each senior was handed a lawn sign to display at their home — prompting even more proud-parent photos.

Almost 20 Schroeder and Thomas teachers were posted along the trail to act as guides and cheer for the seniors as they walked past.

I heard some very touching comments from parents and students alike as they walked along the trail. Moments like these have been few and far between in the last few years, so even something as simple as a paper bag with a little electric candle inside clearly meant a lot. There were lots of photos, lots of hugs, and lots of smiles.

It was a simple, yet meaningful way to celebrate each student in the class of 2021.

A thousand thanks to Schroeder PTSA chair Stacie Peters, Thomas PTSA chairs Denise Warren and Bridget Ziskind and their army of hard-working volunteers who filled all the bags and set them up in just a matter of three or four hours Saturday afternoon. Rest assured, your efforts were greatly appreciated by all.

Here’s a slideshow of some photos from the evening:

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Help this school year end on a high note: Adopt a Senior!

23 Apr

This awful pandemic has affected all of our students — young and old, elementary, middle and high school. But arguably those who have been most affected are our current seniors, the class of 2021. They’ve lost out on so many of their rites of passage, starting last year with their junior prom.

To help soften the blow and to show how proud we are of these young people, the Webster Central PTSA has organized an Adopt-a-Senior program. The idea is to “adopt” a senior from Webster Thomas or Schroeder high school, and surprise him or her with a care package or some other memorable gift. There really are no guidelines, no minimum or maximums and no mandatory purchase items. It’s all about having fun and bringing a smile to a senior’s face.

Since the program was launched last week, most seniors have been adopted. But as of yesterday there were still 77 at Schroeder, eight at Thomas, and four GOAL students still needing adoption.

Signing up is easy. Just click this link, which will bring you to a form where you can choose your student. Once you’ve signed up, the organizers will send a waiver form, followed by an email with information regarding your adopted senior(s). You can contact the parents if you’d like additional information about the student.

Then, just put together your surprise and deliver it to the senior.

If you have any questions about the program email websteradoptasenior21@gmail.com.

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Seniors welcomed back to school in a “bright” way

22 Feb

Our Webster Schroeder and Webster Thomas high school seniors got a nice surprise this morning when they entered their buildings and saw each one of their names posted on the wall, near banners celebrating their bright futures.

The banners were created by Webster Thomas art teacher Todd Stahl, and hung by parent volunteers near the entrances of both schools. The students’ names were written individually on small squares of paper, along with the school’s logo, and plastered together into huge displays welcoming the seniors back to school after the February break.

Thanks to Stacie Peters for all these photos!

“We wanted to surprise the kids when they (got) back to school on Monday,” wrote Schroeder PTSA chair Stacie Peters. “We are hopeful this will be super exciting for all of them to see once they return, pretty cool to see all the names together!”

She added, “We are super thankful to Mr. Benz, Mr. Widor, and Mrs. Saiff for all their help and support in all that we are doing for the Class of 2021. We cannot thank Todd Stahl enough for his time in creating such a fun and unique banner for each school.”

Special thanks also to Webster Thomas teaching assistant Tara Nielander, who wrote all of the Thomas senior names.

The recognition is part of an ongoing program designed by the Schroeder and Thomas PTSAs. Once a month through June, the PTSAs are surprising each senior with a fun gift or special event, planned for on or around the 21st of each month (in honor of 2021). Every 2021 graduate at Webster Thomas and Schroeder high schools, whether remote, hybrid, GOAL or other, is included. The program began in January, when each senior was presented with a small baggie of Hershey’s kisses, complete with an inspsirational message. You can read more about that special delivery in my blog here.

A day of celebration for our seniors

12 Jun


June is packed with a lot of fun days as we celebrate the last days of school, and especially those students who are moving up to new schools. Tops on that list of fun days for me is the day our high school seniors — in their gowns — parade through the halls of their former elementary schools.

That couldn’t happen this year, but the district was able to come up with something pretty darn close.

This morning, our Webster Thomas and Schroeder seniors were invited to drive through their high schools’ bus loops, where they were cheered and congratulated by their teachers. They they spread out throughout the district to their elementary schools, where they were cheered again by their former elementary school teachers. Most of the cars were decorated to the max with streamers and balloons, and signs indicating the student’s future college or life plans.

The event is always a very touching moment for these teachers, many of whom haven’t seen these kids since they were in 5th grade.


Plank North teachers lined the bus loop to celebrate their former students.


Across the “street,” Plank South teachers welcomed their former students at the same time.

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Webster Schroeder kicks off spring musical season

12 Jan

Rehearsals are well underChicago Graphic3 (1)way for the first Webster high school musical of the season, Chicago, presented by Webster Schroeder Musicals in four shows Feb. 6 through 10.

Set in Chicago during the Roaring ’20s, the story follows dancer Roxie Hart, who murders her lover and convinces her husband to take the rap. When he finds out he’s been duped, he turns on Roxie, who is convicted and sentenced to death row. There, she joins forces with another “Merry Murderess” in search of headlines and — ultimately — acquittal.

The high school version of the very popular movie and stage play has been adjusted slightly to be more appropriate. But have no fear; the performance will still be plenty powerful, complete with most of the songs, dances and stunning set pieces that you’ve come to know.

And c’mon, it’s a Webster Schroeder musical. These kids are blow-your-mind amazing.

Chicago will take the stage Thursday Feb. 6 at 7:30 p.m., Friday Feb. 7 at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday Feb. 8 at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10-$15 and available online at ShowTix4U.com, and at all area Wegmans.


(L-R) Ava Massaro and Maggie Nagar (photo courtesy S. Nagar)

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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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Blood drive honors Colin Montesano

27 Nov

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


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

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

Here are the drive details:

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

Aside from this being a great thing to do in Colin’s memory, this is also a critical time of year for blood donations. Donations decline significantly from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day as people get busy with holiday activities, so the Red Cross really needs your help.

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

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

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

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

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Go on The Journey with the Webster Marching Band this Saturday

2 Oct


band 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

band 5

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Webster Schroeder HS kicks off fall musical season

25 Sep

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

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

Here’s the description from the ticket website:

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

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

Webster Schroeder High School is located at 875 Ridge Rd.

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Luncheon concludes first collaborative community reading project

31 May


Webster community members and their student reading partners.  

I had the privilege to attend a very nice event on Thursday afternoon, the culminating luncheon of the first-ever community reading project.

Organized by Webster Schroeder English teacher Eileen Connolly, the project paired 25 adults from the greater Webster community with 25 students in Connolly’s 10th grade Here and Now English class. Every participant read the same novel — My Dog Skip by Willie Morris — over a period of four weeks in May. Reading assignments were assigned each week. Participants answered questions related to each assignment, recording their answers in a spiral notebook. The book and notebook were then delivered back and forth between adults and students every week so each could see what the other had written.

At yesterday’s luncheon, the adults and students met each other for the first time. My student partner was Kaylee Ziemniack, and I was pleased to be able to spend a few minutes getting to knew her at the luncheon.

Because it was just the first time for the program, there were a few glitches. But in general, it was a terrific experience and clearly adults and students alike got a lot out of it.

I asked Connolly to provide her thoughts on how things went and if she plans to run the program again next year. Allow me to quote her email directly:

Especially because it was our first time through, I was exceptionally pleased with how the program went. While we had a couple of bumps with delivery, every student and every adult read and responded to all parts of the novel. The opportunity to meet the people they’d been corresponding with was a little scary, but students enjoyed meeting and talking to their partners. Once we finished our luncheon, some of the participants also tried their hand at some blackout poetry using text from the novel.

The program gave students a low stress opportunity to do some reading and having adult feedback kept them interested. Students were always excited to open their envelopes and see what their partners had written. Many adults shared their own memories of childhood and provided some context for kids whose experiences are sometimes, but not always, very different from their own. Even the chance to see that people (other than teachers) actually write in cursive was an eye-opener for some students. Student readers had a chance to view how skilled and mature readers and writers interacted with the text. That provided excellent models for all of our students. …

We hope to expand the program to some English 10 classes at Thomas High School as well. I am thrilled that almost every adult said they would not only participate again but promised to get a friend or two involved.

I am so grateful for the many people who supported the program including our Principal Mr. Benz, Secondary Director of ELA, Larry Wahl, District Courier Jimmy Lehman, and my colleague Linda Law. … (Also) the staff of the offices at all the school pick up and drop off points. They didn’t have any advance notice and were very supportive too! At Schroeder, the front office staff, Kelly Dinsmore and Emily Zicari, were wonderful too!

Most of all, I want to extend my genuine gratitude to each and every community member who accepted our challenge to participate. The program taught my students that there are community members who care enough to take an interest in their work and lives. They gave of their most precious gift: time. There is no way to measure the value (short and long term) of that gift.

I would also like to add a thank you to the staff at the Webster Public Library. I arranged to have my packet dropped off there several times, and they were very accommodating.

I’m already looking forward to next year, and encourage others to come on board when Connolly ramps up the program again.


At the luncheon: Me and my reading partner Kaylee Ziemniak; Noah Vercruysse and his partner   Meredith Feary. Claire Belmont is photo-bombing. 

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