Tag Archives: WTA

Senior Luminary Walk honored the class of 2022

16 May

Last May, when we were still hip-deep in the pandemic, the Webster Thomas PTSA, Webster Schroeder PTSA and Webster Teachers’ Association (WTA) came up with a creative, socially-distanced way to celebrate out graduating seniors: the Senior Luminary Walk.

In a year when special events had to be canceled one after the other, the PTSAs and WTA wanted to do SOMETHING to make sure our seniors felt special and celebrated for their achievements. The Luminary Walk was perfect; a stroll along the one-mile long Chiyoda Trail behind the Webster Recreation Center, which volunteers had lined with white luminary bags, each one inscribed with a senior’s name and school. 

Organizers expected it to be a one-time event, replaced this year with more traditional end-of-year activities and celebrations. But the families who came last year had other ideas. Shortly after the event had concluded, families started asking the PTSA if there were plans to do it in 2022 for the next graduating class.

So the Senior Luminary Walk returned this year, even bigger and better than before.

Like in 2021, students and family members were greeted by the Webster Schroeder and Thomas mascots as they began their walk along the Chiyoda Trail, which almost completely encircles the Recreation Center property on Chiyoda Drive. Volunteers had placed luminary bags along the entire length of the trail, 580 in all (330 for Webster Thomas seniors, and 350 for Schroeder, including GOAL students). Twinkling lights strung along the bushes here and there made the scene even more spectacular as the sun set.

Enthusiastic teachers were stationed all along the path, cheering and congratulating the students as they passed. One family after another would pause periodically for photos, and sometimes the parents’ proud smiles were even bigger than the students’.

As the students returned to the Rec Center at the end of the walk, each was handed a lawn sign to display at their home — prompting even more proud-parent photos.

Many thanks to the volunteers who worked for hours Sunday afternoon placing the bags along the path and stringing the twinkly lights, who manned the tables, or who were just there to cheer on the students.

I think it was a pretty special night for the volunteers as well. Cathy Falbo, and 8th grade teacher at Spry Middle School, helped to hand out lawn signs with her son. She said,

I think it’s a nice opportunity for families to celebrate their seniors, a nice way for the community to come together. I feel like these special moments are important to celebrate and recognize and I think it’s important to bring the community together.

I’ve seen these kids grow, known them since kindergarten. It’s really special to see them come by. I’ve had some of them as students. For me, this is a really special opportunity to recognize them, congratulate them and greet them again after many years.  

What was especially neat about the evening is how it was really and truly a One Webster event. Webster Thomas and Schroeder PTSAs worked hand-in-hand since last fall to plan it. Both mascots were there, and Webster Schroeder Principal Paul Benz, Webster Thomas Principal Glenn Widor and GOAL Director Rebecca Saiff were on hand, passing out the lawn signs.

“That’s the nice thing about Schroeder and Thomas doing it together,” Webster Schroeder PTSA vice-chair Stacie Peters said. “A lot of families really truly enjoy that because a lot of people are friends, whether they are a Warrior or a Titan.”

Judging from the number of cars filling the Rec Center parking lot and overflowing onto the shoulders and parking lot across the street, this year’s Luminary Walk was as well received as last year’s. Families started arriving well before the scheduled 7:30 start and for almost two hours, the trail and Rec Center property were swarmed by thousands of happy students, parents, grandparents and friends.

I suspect that the Senior Luminary Walk will be back again next year.

Click here for a gallery of photos from the evening.

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(posted 5/16/2022)

Dessert trucks 

One Webster community comes together to help others

17 Oct

The Webster Central PTSA and the Webster Teachers Association (WTA) will be joining forces this year for the 2021 Concert Apparel and Winter Coat Drive.

Organizers are asking for donations of gently used concert attire (white dress tops, black dress bottoms and black ties) and gently used winter coats of any size, which will then be offered to other families who could really use them. This is a great chance to clean out your closets, get rid of that old concert stuff you bought for the kids two years ago, and make room for some new winter gear.

The PTSA has placed large bags in the main office of every school in the district, where families can drop their donations. WTA president Chris Wojtas has gotten the teachers on board as well, asking them to donate winter coats. This is the fourth year the PTSA has held this drive, and with the additional help from the teachers, they expect it to be the best one yet.

Donated items will be available free to anyone who needs them, on the “shopping day,” Saturday Oct. 23. PTSA will have tables set up at the Webster Recreation Center, 1350 Chiyoda Drive, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Look for the tables outside (weather permitting) or just inside the lobby doors.

You do NOT have to donate an item to take an item (did I mention they’re FREE?) Any leftover items will be taken to the clothes closet at Schlegel Elementary School and/or to HOPE House in Webster.

Families have until Friday Oct. 22 to donate their items, or you can even bring them to the “shopping” day.

In years past, this event was greatly appreciated by many, who were grateful to go home with some free concert clothes or winter jackets. This year especially, with so many families facing financial harships due to COVID, this is a heartwarming way for the greater One Webster community to come together in support.

FOOTNOTE: The “shopping” day is the same day that Webster Parks and Rec is accepting jack-o-lanterns for their Pumpkins on Parade luminary event that evening. So make a pumpkin, drop it off, and do some shopping, all at the same time!

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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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Spreading kindness, one locker at a time

14 May

photo

This is another great story from the schools.

Last Friday morning, every single student in all four Webster secondary schools arrived to find inspirational notes taped to their lockers. The previous evening, teams of parent volunteers had fanned out at each school — Schroeder and Thomas high schools and Willink and Spry middle schools — and taped thousands of positive, uplifting messages to students’ lockers.

The project was coordinated and implemented by the Webster Central PTSA, in conjunction with the Webster Teachers Association.

PTSA representative Stacie Peters wrote,

My co-president, Allison Fedyk Featherly and I along with WTA President Chris Wojtas and WTA/PTSA liaison Linda Law thought as the year is winding down it can be a stressful for our older students with exams, papers, homework, etc. We wanted to send some encouraging vibes to them during this time.

We are excited to surprise the students as they come in Friday morning. We did this last year as well and the smiles it brings to students/staff was awesome!

What a wonderful, simple way to bring a little sunshine into our schools during a dreary spring.

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Webster teachers take the plunge

11 Feb

We got some of the greatest teachers in the world here in Webster.

Sunday at noon, I joined about a dozen of my Webster school district teaching colleagues to participate in the 2019 Polar Plunge at Ontario Beach Park to benefit Special Olympics.

If you consider how bad the weather could have been (think back to our recent cold snap and high winds), it actually was a pretty nice day to go take a dip in a frozen lake. I mean, we had bright sunshine, the temperature was in the mid-20s, and there was barely any wind to speak of.

But let me be clear. It was cold. Teeth-chattering cold. Especially when all you’re wearing is a t-shirt and shorts. And that was before you actually went into the lake. The nice Rochester City Parks folks were kind enough to carve a swimming area out of the ice for all the plungers, but it was still like wading through a Slushie.

This was my first Polar Plunge, as it was for most of my colleagues. I believe I speak for many of us when I say I probably would not have done it alone. But having a supportive group of friends shivering right along with me made the whole experience a lot more bearable — and dare I say it? — enjoyable.

But here’s the best part: thanks to the generosity of our friends and Webster colleagues, our WTA team raised $5,000 for Special Olympics, placing us on the top-10 honor roll for team donations. 

These are your kids’ teachers, folks. We are lucky to live and work in the Webster Central School District.

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