Tag Archives: Webster Thomas High School

A colorful way to celebrate our seniors

27 Mar

Our Webster Thomas and Webster Schroeder seniors this week were given a colorful surprise this week. Each one received a bag of Skittles with a note attached reading, “Hey Senior! There is a rainbow of possibilities in your future! Shine on!”

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). The idea, wrote Webster Thomas PTSA representative Denise Warren, is “to show students that they are cared about so very much!”

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.

Judging from these photos from Ms. Castro’s and Mr. Hardy’s classes at Thomas, the effort was very well received.

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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.

Pandemic or not, the show must go on

28 Jan

When you’re in theater and a global pandemic keeps you from packing an auditorium with people who want to see your show, what’s a director to do? Create a show which people don’t actually have to be able to SEE.

That’s exactly what the students at Webster Thomas have done with their production of The Webster Thomas Radio Hour.

As the name implies, the show — which actually runs about two hours — is modeled after a 1940s-era radio show, complete with serials, commercials and a musical guest.

The main program is a collection five short plays, all written and performed by students. They begin with a crime drama (The Case of the Missing Mallets), followed by some science fiction (The Adventures of the Time-Traveling Athenians and The Return of Professor Z to the Planet of the Beyond), a murder mystery (Terror Train) and a ghost story (Francis Fisher — Ghost Hunter). Tucked in between the features are several very creative commercials and short subjects. And, in keeping with the old-time radio variety show format, all of the sound effects and musical cues are performed live.

Even though the the play couldn’t be presented in front of a packed auditorium, director Mark Stoetzel has tried to give his young actors as much of a normal school play experience as possible. It is being presented on the Thomas stage, for example. But all of the actors will wear masks and maintain social distancing as they act out their lines, something that isn’t possible with a traditional production.

Stoetzel wrote,

Our students, especially the seniors, really do miss the regular performances with all that entails (tech week, set building days on weekends, creative concession tables, cast parties, much longer rehearsals, etc.). These things were stressful, but in a good way. Naturally, we cannot do most of these things, but we can recreate some of the trappings.

We’ll put a display in the trophy case outside the auditorium like always, with cast head-shots and bios. We’ve put the show’s poster on the kids’ lockers (thanks to Denise Warren, Tanya Yost, and Brian Phares for that – everyone is pitching in!). And we’ve scheduled the recording sessions at night like a regular show, and have allowed each student to invite their immediate families (spread out throughout the whole auditorium). There won’t be a cast party, but they’ll still keep certain traditions alive, like paper-plate awards.

The ensemble held their final rehearsal on Wednesday afternoon. I was pleased to be invited, mostly because I was a little unsure about how this radio-play-on-a-stage would work.

Basically, the Thomas stage became the “recording studio.” Actors’ chairs, microphones and script stands were scattered around the stage, with a table in back filled with sound effects materials for two Foley artists. Signs announcing each feature were stacked in front of the stage for the benefit of the studio audience. And of course, one dedicated cue-card holder stood at the ready to let audience members know when to laugh, applaud, boo or gasp!

Jenna Dow and Brynn Smith perform as Alex Ramirez instructs the audience.

I enjoyed the production tremendously. Each of the features was very well written and very funny. The actors actually acted out their roles as they read their lines, and they were all quite good. There were some humorous references to Rochester and the commercials poked fun at several of the students’ beloved teachers. And the poor musical guest … well, you just have to see the show yourself to see what happens to her.

And you will be able to see the show. After presenting the play to very small, invitation-only audiences Thursday and Friday, it will be posted on YouTube and other media platforms. I’ll let you know the details as soon as I know them, but in the meantime, you can stay up to date by following the cast on Twitter at @wthsfallplay.

It’s a very family-friendly production, by the way, so everyone will enjoy it.

Director Mark Stoetzel, right, gives some final instructions to his cast before a performance.

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Holiday music coming to you, courtesy Webster Library and WTHS

3 Dec

We can’t go to the schools to enjoy holiday concerts this year, but no worries. Next week, the Webster Thomas High School Select Choir is bringing the concert to us!

On Thursday Dec. 10, the Webster Thomas Select Choir will present a holiday concert via Facebook Live from 3:30 to 4 p.m. The event is hosted by the Webster Public Library and can be found via their Facebook page.

These kids’ beautiful voices will just blow you away. It’s a perfect way to kick-start your holiday season.

You do not have to have a Facebook account to see this concert, so put it on your calendar now and log in next Thursday. Questions? Email the Webster Public Library at webster.reference@libraryweb.org.

And while you’re on the library’s Facebook page, poke around a bit for information about some other fun activities the library has coming up.

Like their Gingerbread House Contest, for example. Starting Dec. 7, you can vote for your favorite, and help crown the Best Gingerbread House in Webster.

And the Virtual I Spy Game, which is designed for kids of all ages. On Monday Dec. 14 from 4 to 4:30 p.m., a series of I Spy challenges will have your kids racing throughout the house to find an object that matches the game’s description. Participants will also enjoy some I Spy puzzles. Click here to register for this online event.

Finally, just for fun, check out this video of library staff members showing their silly side:

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Webster community mailbag

20 Jul

 

garlic festival

You’ve probably already seen this news, but in case you haven’t: the 2020 Rochester Garlic Festival, scheduled for Sept. 12-13, has been canceled.

The news, which comes on the heels of the cancellation of pretty much everything else this summer, certainly comes as no surprise. But after the festival’s strong return in 2019 after taking a year off, I was looking forward to seeing what it had in store for this year.

But we’ll have to wait until next summer.

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gazeboDid you miss out on attending the terrific, family-friendly comedy act that came to the gazebo a few Fridays ago? (Click here to read the blog I wrote about that show.)  Well, your next chance to enjoy some laughs is coming up on July 31.

Rudolph Valentino will return to the gazebo in Veterans Memorial Park on North Ave. on Friday night July 31. He’ll be joined by his co-host and funny friend Kevin Markman.

There’s no admission, and water and snacks can be purchased, if this show will be anything like the last. And you’ll laugh a lot.

Bring your quad chairs and a cooler if you like, and bring a mask in case you have to sit too close to anyone or want to hit up the vendors. But it’s a spacious area, so there shouldn’t be any problem social distancing. The show is slated to start at 7 p.m. But it started late last time so don’t worry if you’re running late.

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Finally, some news from the schools.

Congratulations to my former Webster Thomas teaching colleague Carol Saladzius, who was recently hired as assistant principal at Hilton High School. Carol and I worked together for several years at Thomas — me in the library and she a Spanish teacher — and I am happy for her new adventure.

Congratulations also to the Webster Thomas Best Buddies program, which last week was named the most outstanding high school chapter in New York State for 2020.

Best Buddies is a nationwide program which matches special education students with peer buddies who have similar interests.  The peer buddy makes a commitment to reach out to their buddy once a week outside school via email or telephone, and to get together and do something outside school with their buddy once a month.

The program came to Western New York four years ago and Webster Thomas was one of the first high schools to sign up. To read more about the program here in New York State, click here.

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Have you signed your school-age child up for school yet?

Our students will be going back to school one way or another this September, and the district really needs to know how many students to expect. So if your child isn’t already registered for the 2020-21 school year, please do so ASAP.

The New York State Department of Education requires all school-age students age 5-6 (in the given school year) and older be registered in some sort of education program in the district in which they live. This includes students who will be attending public school, those who will be going to private and parochial schools, those who have moved into a new school district, and those who will be home-schooled. (These can be changed at any time, but prior registration is still required.)

If you have a child who will be 5 years old on or before December 1, that child is eligible for kindergarten enrollment. Families new to Webster CSD with children grades 1-12 may also enroll their children at this time. For more information and to download registration packets, click here.

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A day of celebration for our seniors

12 Jun

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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.

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

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

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Seniors, show your signs!

19 Apr

I  love this story, which I saw this week in the Webster Herald.

The Webster Central PTSA has purchased a lawn sign for every graduating senior in our district, from both Webster Schroeder and Webster Thomas high schools.

This from the PTSA:

The Webster Central PTSA believes this is an opportunity to show our students the power of community in these unprecedented times and unify our youth across the district. We hope the signs will bring smiles to the faces of seniors, their families, and neighbors, as well as encourage our high school seniors to reflect on their accomplishments and journey through Webster Central Schools.

The principals of each high school will be reaching out to to students to arrange for the sign pick-up.

It’s a simple way for our schools, and our community, to show how proud we are of our young people, and to give the Class of 2020 some recognition in these difficult times. Watch for them as they start sprouting up in our neighborhoods.

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Titans Hockey event a huge success

14 Jan

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

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

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

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

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

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Webster athletes well represented in AGR rankings

9 Jan

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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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Webster Thomas to host art student summit

8 Nov

So today’s blog is not about a public event, but I wanted to feature it regardless, because it is an outstanding example of the commitment our Webster CSD teachers have for our students — and it allows me to give a shout-out to a former Webster Thomas colleague.

A few weeks ago Todd Stahl, an art teacher over at Thomas, sent me an email about an exciting program he has set up for his students.

He wrote,

For a long time, a few of my fellow art teacher friends in the area and I have lamented the loss of the art community that was cultivated through the local Scholastic Art Awards show that used to happen at RIT. About 10 years ago, they stopped hosting it, and many of us have lost touch, with our hectic schedules getting in the way of connecting – both us as teachers, but also our students.

So I got thinking about a way to start to bring people back together again – and give something even more beneficial to our students. So… an idea was born.

What Stahl came up with is the first (of many, he hope) Rochester Area Art Student Summit, scheduled for Nov. 15 from 9:15 to 1:45 at Webster Thomas. Students will be able to participate in four different presentatons and workshops run by local artists, who will speak about their artwork, art making process, their career/life journey and lead the students through some sort of sketchbook activity. It will all take place while the rest of the school day continues around them.

Stahl added,

We are hoping that this will be an extremely engaging and inspiring day for all of our students, to help them further see how process is just as important as (more important than?) product, and how our work can grow and mature over our lives and careers. We will also have a table set up with information about mental health support information, run by an alumni with experience in this area.

The event is designed for senior AP art students and art college-bound juniors. More than 200 students from 11 local high schools had already signed up when he wrote two weeks ago.

This sounds like a terrific event and could be a real life-changer for our students.

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