Tag Archives: Webster Thomas High School

Secondary students got a dose of Locker Love Wednesday

13 Apr

Our Webster secondary students got a dose of positivity Wednesday morning, when they arrived at school to discover sticky notes attached to their lockers. Each of the multi-colored notes carried a self-affirming message encouraging individuality, internal strength, perseverance, resilience and more.

It was all part of the “Locker Love” program, a Webster Central PTSA secondary engagement event, in partnership with the Webster Health and Education Network (WHEN).

Thanks to the efforts of dozens of volunteers who fanned out to each of the secondary buildings on Tuesday night, almost 7,000 inspirational notes were posted, one on every single locker at Schroeder High School (including GOAL), Thomas High School (and OWL), Willink Middle School (and OWL), and Spry Middle School. The volunteers also hung a number of motivational signs throughout the buildings.

The whole idea behind the project, said WHEN chairman Janine Sanger, was to inject a little positivity into the students’ lives, and “to remind kids that they’re the good in the world.”

Webster Schroeder Building Chair Stacie Peters noted that programs like these are a great way for students and their families to realize that PTSA is still relevant in the secondary buildings, even without the birthday parties and book fairs common at the elementary level.

“The secondary chairs love doing these special events for the students to make them feel special,” Stacie said. “(They) all love partnering together because what PTSA is in the middle and high schools is so different from elementary.”

Stacie and the other secondary PTSA chairs — Kim Kozlowski (Thomas/OWL), Kara Quigley and Amanda Clayton (Spry) amd Erin DeSarra and Allison Schoeffler (Willink/OWL) — organize several creative events like this every year, which are always enthusiastically supported by the secondary school administrators.

“We need to support students no matter how old they are,” Stacie said.

This is the third time the secondary school PTSAs have spread Locker Love. The first program was run in 2019, then again in 2020 before the pandemic hit.

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(posted 4/13/2023)

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)

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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(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)

Thomas grads invited to register for alumni car show

6 May

The fifth annual Webster Thomas “Coffee and Cars” Alumni Car Show is Thursday June 2 from 9 to 11 a.m. at the high school, 800 Five Mile Line Road.

The occasion is a homecoming of sorts for former Webster Thomas students who took auto tech classes while in school. It traditionally attracts everything from muscle cars and hot rods, to antique cars and fire engines, to cars which might look “normal” but have a little something special under the hood.

Titan graduates who’d like to have their ride included in this year’s Coffee and Cars need to register in advance. Email your vehicle’s year, make and model, along with your year of graduation to sean_campbell@webstercsd.org.

Then start getting those motors polished up!

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

You can also get email notifications every time I post a new blog by using the “Follow Me” link on the right side of this page.

(posted 5/5/2022)

Webster community mailbag

5 Mar

This is a rather botanical-themed mailbag today, featuring sunflowers, trees and a carnivorous plant that wants to take over the world.

First, something bright and happy. The North Bee wants to flood the community with sunflowers, or sunyashniki, the national flower of Ukraine.

Amy Stringer from The North Bee writes,

For the month of March, 100% of proceeds from the sale of a Beeswax Sunflower Ornament will be donated to ROC Maidan so they can get the funds appropriated to where they are needed to help refugees and soldiers, offer humanitarian aid and help rebuild and recover from this devastation unfolding before our eyes (in Ukraine).

Amy is offering three different designs, the Full Sunflower, Monet Sunflowers, or the Dinner Plate Sunflower. “Whichever you choose,” she added, “I cannot wait to see them displayed everywhere! Come on friends, I’m ready to pour sunflowers all day!”

Click here for more information about this special event and ROC Maidan. The North Bee is located at 27 North Ave. in the Village of Webster.

Here’s a quick look at some of the fun the Webster Public Library has in store this month:

  • Bad Art Night, Friday March 25 from 6 to 7 p.m., for tweens and teens grades 4-12. The library will provide the supplies, you bring the creativity to make some crazy art. Click here to register.
  • Space, eclipses and all things in the sky, Tuesday March 29, 7 to 8 p.m. for all ages. Local space enthusiast Gaylon Arnold will talk about upcoming eclipses that will be viewable in our area, and other space events that might interest you during 2022 and beyond. Click here to register.
  • Family Friday Movie Night, April 1 at 6 p.m. Enjoy some snacks and get comfortable at the library while watching the movie Encanto! Bring pillows and blankets from home so you can get cozy to watch on our big projector screen. Click here to register.

This month’s make-and-take crafts are a leprechaun trap for the wee ones, origami star garland for teens and a decorated plant stake for adults. All crafts are available on a first-come-first-served basis while supplies last.

The Webster Public Library is located at 980 Ridge Rd., at the back of Webster Plaza.

Your next two Webster-based opportunities to donate blood and help save lives happen in just a few weeks.

There are all sorts of incentives this month to get you to make a donation.

Donate at any blood drive in Webster this March for a chance to win a $50 Wegmans gift card. PLUS, give blood or platelets in March and get a $10 e-gift card from Fanatics! PLUS, get a chance to score a trip to the 2022 MLB All-Star Game in Los Angeles.

This notice from the folks at the Friends of Webster Trails, who have embarked on a program to save the trees of Webster.

The forests of Webster are under attack. Insects and disease are going after the ash, hemlock, oak, and beech. As they die, they will be replaced by invasive and most times non-native trees unless we do something.  

The Friends of Webster Trails has established a group to come up a plan and set it in motion.  ReTree – Replanting Our Native Forest aims to do just that. Tree surveys have been completed of many of our trail areas telling us what trees are present and their number.  You may have already noticed efforts to clear invasive plants along the Blue Trail in the Whiting Road Nature Preserve. In fall, potted trees of appropriate species will be purchased and planted in this area.  In spring, we will be building a tree nursery to grow native trees from seeds for future planting.  

Stay tuned for more information about this initiative.

Tickets are on sale now for Webster Thomas High School’s spring musical, Little Shop of Horrors.

Little Shop of Horrors is a sci-fi horror musical with a 1960s pop/rock score by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman. It tells the story of meek floral assistant Seymour Krelborn, who stumbles across a new breed of plant he names “Audrey II.” The egotistical, sweet talking R&B-singing carnivore promises unending fame and fortune to the down-and-out Krelborn as long as he keeps feeding it, BLOOD. Over time, though, Seymour discovers Audrey II’s out of this world origins and intent towards global domination.

Shows will be held Thursday, Friday and Saturday April 7, 8 and 9 at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday at 2 p.m. Reserve tickets are $12, or $10 for groups of ten or more. Click here to get yours.

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

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Once a Titan, always a Titan

9 Oct

Most of you probably know that I retired at the end of last school year, after 20 years as a library teaching assistant.

I should qualify that statement a bit. I officially retired in June, but I’ve already been subbing in various buildings for 14 days. For those who are counting, that’s more than half of the school year so far. Many of the students (and staff members) in my old schools are beginning to look at me with puzzled expressions and asking, “I thought you retired?”

For most of those 14 days, I’ve been helping out in the elementary schools — especially Schlegel Rd. and Plank Rd. North — where I spent the last five years of my district career. But yesterday I filled in as a library teaching assistant at Webster Thomas High School. And I have to say, it felt like coming home.

I spent the first 15 years of my career as a T.A. in the Thomas library, and during my time there I made a lot of good friends. So one of the first things I did yesterday morning when I got to school was take a walk through the halls to see how many teachers’ names, posted over the doors, I still recognized. I was pleased to see that most of my former colleagues are still there, even after all this time. If I saw one of them at his or her desk, I popped my head in to say hi, and was invariably greeted by a big smile and a hearty “welcome back”!

It was a great day to be subbing at Thomas: Pep Rally Day, the rollicking culmination of Homecoming Week. This was always one of my favorite days of the year, when all the students would dress up in their class colors, decorate the halls, and come together at the end of the day for a boisterous, rowdy pep rally.

In previous years the rally took place in the gym, and the noise was deafening. This year for the first time, no doubt in deference to COVID-19, it was held outdoors in the stadium (fortunately the weather was gorgeous). The pep band performed, and mini-contests like Can-Jam and “who can scream the loudest” were played for class points. The noise was still deafening.

It was just like I remembered it. So much fun.

A lot has changed at Thomas in the last five years, most notably the library itself, which got a complete overhaul two years ago. But seeing the students again, walking down those halls again, it felt like I had never left.

It was truly a homecoming.

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Webster Thomas art student lends his expertise to City of Rochester mural project

30 Sep

A young Webster artist has helped transform a plain building in Rochester’s southwest neighborhood into a magnificent work of art.

For several days recently, Webster Thomas senior Martin Carey spent many volunteer hours helping Brazilian artist Eder Muñiz create a breathtaking mural on the Montgomery Neighborhood Center on Cady St., in Rochester’s Southwest neighborhood.

The mural, which measures an impressive 15 by 30 feet, depicts a fanciful scene with a lush garden, several creatures, and a huge woman’s face partially obscured by a gigantic blue swan. It took four days to complete, from Thursday Sept. 23 to Sunday Sept. 26.

Martin decribes the finished project as,

a beautiful mesh between all the parties involved. The urban ecologists who work in the garden in front of it (are represented) in the scenes that take up most of the left side of the mural, and the swan along the woman’s face represents SWAN, which works out of the building.

The woman is a singer from Salvador, Brazil.

The project was organized by the Southwest Area Neighborhood Association (SWAN), which calls the center home. SWAN’s director, Tiffany Owens, knew Martin from his volunteer work with the agency and arranged for him to join the project.

She wrote,

Martin’s father is an amazing partner to S.W.A.N and once he gained knowledge of the mural, he asked if Martin could participate, and we jumped at the opportunity to have him meet and work with the visiting artist.

Martin came every day and worked tirelessly. As young people from the neighborhood stopped by, he demonstrated extreme patience and care in answering their questions and joining in their excitement about the process.

Martin Carey is an amazing individual with a heart of gold.

It was clearly a life-changing experience for Martin. He said,

It was a great opportunity for me to be able to hang out with such an experienced artist and really be able to learn the different techniques he used, what he used, how he used them, and actually see and go through the process with him. It was awesome. And he’s such a great guy too, super nice to me the whole time…. He gave me proper stuff to do. 

Martin is currently studying AP Art with Webster Thomas art teacher Todd Stahl. He plans to continue his art studies after graduation and is looking at several colleges, including Flinders University in Australia. (“They have a good concept art program… (It) looks like a lot of fun and I would love to travel ouside of the states.”)  

And perhaps there are more murals in his future?

I definitely want to go on to do some murals of my own at some point and this has really inspired me to start to chase after that more. Before it was kind of like, “That would be cool but it doesn’t seem possible.” Then after this, I went “Oh, this is something that’s plausible, that could happen some day.” 

Next time you’re in the area, check out the mural. It’s on the west side of the building at 10 Cady St.

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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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A shout-out for some great teachers (part 2)

21 Jun

I’m pleased this morning to present Part 2 of my teacher shout-out series, highlighting some great teachers and the amazing job they did this year. (Scroll down the page a bit or click here to see Part 1.) I’ll post Part 3 — the final installment — tomorrow, so you still have time to get your submissions to me! Email me at missyblog@gmail.com.

(These passages have been edited only slightly for punctuation and grammar. The sentiments are otherwise unfiltered, and straight from the heart.)

I’m going to start with the only submission I got from a high school…

Providing the right tools for success

I would like to highlight Kristen Hubright, Earth Science teacher at Webster Thomas.

Mrs. Hubright spent an immense amount of time preparing take-home interactive lesson plans and recording video lessons that really helped my son, who is in her Integrated Co-Teach class, become more independent in his learning process. In fact, her science units were designed so well that he was able to work on them without any intervention on my part.

As a science educator myself, having varied resources to offer is an important key to turning out well prepared students. Being able to pause when needed to catch up with note taking, and being able to go back to help understanding are fantastic tools to offer to students across all levels, but especially to provide an equitable space for special ed learners.

— Jenny Hryhorenko

(photo courtesy LinkedIn)

Teaching is her passion

My name is Melissa Orr and my daughters (Arya & Teagan) go to State Rd Elementary. I want to Nominate Mrs. Smith (kindergarten teacher).

This is my second year with Mrs. Smith. My oldest daughter also had her and that was the year that I really got to know her and her love and passion for ALL of her students.

When my oldest started kindergarten, she was very shy and just wanted to be in her own bubble. Mrs. Smith quickly got down to her level and showed her how much fun it was to make friends and explore a whole new world. Now this year my youngest daughter has her and I was over the moon excited when she called me to tell me that she had her in her class! This year brought so many obstacles and challenges and I just wanted one thing familiar for her.

I don’t even know where to begin with her. Mrs. Smith has such an outgoing, fun, loving personality and she clicks and bonds with every single student that walks through her door. The way that the students look at her and she looks right back at them is enough to melt your heart. She connects with each student in her own way and makes her students feel like they are the most special in her class.

To this day my daughters come home from school to show me what they made Mrs. Smith! They talk about her all the time. Sometimes I think they think she is their playmate and not their teacher!!! Her way of teaching these little minds and getting down to their levels is absolutely magical. She takes pride in everything she does. She never gives up, never gets frustrated and most of all is always looking for the fun in everything she does and teaches. To hear my kids come home from school to say to us, look what Mrs. Smith taught me, or showed me, made me and my husband the proudest parents we could ever be.

Without Mrs. Smith none of this could be possible. Watching our daughters grow has been one of the best blessings we could ever ask for. This is why in the Orr household, we love and cherish Mrs. Smith!

— Melissa Orr

Jamie Palmer and friend

A great education is a team effort

We have a whole team to nominate and they are all a very important piece to our puzzle!

My daughter remained remote through out this school year and her whole team was absolutely amazing at working to keep the kids engaged and learning! Her team has worked so well with her that she has grown so much academically this year!

We wouldn’t be where we are without her teachers Erika Bellenger, Deena Fairchild, Marissa Echevarria, Jennifer Scalzo, Rachel Dolan, Lisa Freida, Megan Vos, Ms. Palmer and Mrs. Rosenberry. My child really grew to love reading this year and she absolutely beamed when it was time for Ms. Palmer’s March Madness and then the read-alongs. She was even excited when Mrs. Rosenberry would make an appearance on the screen as well!

We are so blessed to have such amazing teachers, therapists and librarians in our district!

— Kelly Clancy

Prepping young minds for kindergarten

I want to give a shout out to Joanna Sero, the UPK teacher at Klem North. She has worked so hard to make this year as normal as possible, and her efforts have definitely been appreciated. She provided regular communication about what’s happening in class, and posted pictures on Seesaw daily, showing us all the awesome things our son was doing with his new friends. She is so loving and supportive, and we really saw growth in our son this year. He is definitely ready for kindergarten, and she has spoiled us for all upcoming teachers.  

— Sandi Brindisi Johnville

Like an extension of the family

Amanda Plato

I wanted to give a huge thank you to Ms. Brayley and Miss Plato at Plank North for making this year so exceptional for our girls.

Miss Plato was the third teacher to step into this second grade classroom. She is and has been so extremely patient, loving, and kind. As a parent who truly values a child’s emotional well being (especially with the year we’ve had), she has brought so much joy into our daughter’s life. Thank you, Miss Plato!

Ms. Brayley provided a classroom environment that felt like a family. Ms. Brayley provided structure, routine, and a sense of normalcy. We are so thankful Ms. Brayley is available to listen (often times during recess) and have conversations with our daughter about life and activities outside of school. Thank you, Ms. Brayley!

We feel so fortunate to have had to amazing teachers for our daughters this year!


Substitutes are great teachers, too

Julia had Jaime McKnight as her long-term sub for the first part of the year (at Klem North) while her current teacher, Kelly Wojciechowski was out on maternity leave. Both teachers have been absolutely wonderful both in the classroom and communicating with parents on the outside.

— Linda Meyers

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Kindness, delivered

18 Jun

Two examples this morning about how Webster kindness spreads throughout our community — and our world.

Yesterday, Schlegel Rd. Elementary School students received a special delivery from the Webster Thomas CARE Club: 228 brightly decorated, laminated bookmarks. Schlegel librarian Jamie Palmer will distribute the bookmarks to students at the beginning of next school year.

Some of the 228 bookmarks created by the Webster Thomas CARE Club

The hand-colored bookmarks were delivered to Schlegel by CARE Club representatives Ayah Silmi and Delaney McDonald, accompanied by club advisors Craig Johnville and Denise Warren. Delaney, a junior, is the club’s co-president and Ayah, a sophomore, is club secretary.

The Webster Thomas CARE Club is a group of about 15 Thomas students dedicated to spreading kindness and making our community better through community service projects. They do two or three projects a year, especially focusing on helping out those schools whose students feed into Thomas.

Other recent club projects have included assembling paint kits and Virtual Bingo supplies for Klem North Elementary, and making cards of encouragement for students at Willink Middle School. Check out the club’s Twitter page to learn more about the great things the Webster Thomas CARE Club is accomplishing.

Thanks to a donation from Dancing With Denise students and families, several mini-wheelchairs are on their way to Algeria (yes, that’s Africa), courtesy Webster-based Bella’s Bumbas.

The students presented the donation — more than $1,000 — to Bella’s Bumbas owners Rebecca Orr and Marty Parzynski at the school’s annual recital held on June 5. The donation covered the cost of building several of the pint-sized Bumbas wheelchairs to benefit children with mobility issues.

And now that kindness is touching young lives in Algeria.

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

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