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Finger Lakes

Webster Schools Compete to Raise Money for WWFD

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Rochester: Webster Schools Compete to Raise Money for WWFD
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It started as some friendly competition between faculty and students with one big payoff.

Said Webster Schroeder High School Principal Joe Pustulka, "We just felt it was one way for all us of to come together and pay tribute to those people and bring the community together through a positive experience."

If the students of Webster Schroeder and Webster Thomas High Schools raised $5,000 to benefit the West Webster Fire Department, their assistant principals would match it with something quite drastic.

Following the tragic Christmas Eve shooting that took the lives of two West Webster firefighters and seriously injured two others, the students started the idea of paying it forward.

"People give back, go shovel their neighbor's driveway or get the paper for somebody, doing nice acts of kindness just to help someone in the community," said Senior Dan Iulianello.

The idea of helping someone just because you can, like many of the first responders the students have come to know.

"I always saw Chip everyday driving down the street," said Iulianello, "Tomasz lives right near me. It's tough to see when I go down there now it's just different."

The culmination of these fundraising efforts was Saturday night's basketball game between faculty members from each school. West Webster firefighters watching from the stands say the department is slowly recovering.

"Trying to get adjusted to what we normally do, we won't be forgetting this any time soon, but we're moving forward," said Al Sienkiewicz of the West Webster Fire Department.

Well the students were up to the challenge, they met their $5,000 goal a week ahead of schedule. As promised, three faculty members kept to their end of the deal, showing the students personal bravery in the wake of heroic bravery.

Webster Thomas Assistant Principal Sue Clark said, "It feels awesome, I was scared all day, I feel liberated!"

A librarian and two assistant principals showed students the true meaning of paying it forward.

"One of our English teachers gave my husband a kidney a few years ago and I've been trying to pay it back forever," said Clark, "She told me at that point that I would know one day when the time was right."

Clark says people were overcome with how brave she was for shaving her head. That's when Clark turned toward the first responders sitting in the stands.

"This is nothing. This is hair growing back. This is no big deal. This is them walking into a fire and not knowing what's going on. That's the real deal. This is just fun to make kids remember," said Clark. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP