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News and Articles for Phoenix Central School District.

State DOT recognizes PCSD transportation department

Phoenix Central School District Superintendent administrators congratulate the transportation department for earning a perfect Department of Transportation inspection rating. Pictured, from left, are Superintendent Christopher Byrne; mechanics Tim Earle, Wes Woolridge, Craig Choquette and Dave Andrews; Supervisor of Transportation Deb Gerace; and PCSD Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Educational Services Karl Seckner

The Phoenix Central School District’s Transportation Department earned state recognition recently for its maintenance and safety of its fleet of vehicles.

As part of the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) biannual bus inspection program, the district’s vehicles were examined by state inspectors who looked for potential violations. The inspections included a review of paperwork, mechanical areas and safety measures. All the criteria was met and the district earned a perfect score from the inspectors.

“This is a fantastic accomplishment and a great team effort,” said Karl Seckner, PCSD’s assistant superintendent of finance and educational services. “It speaks volumes to the work of our transportation department. We appreciate the Board of Education and district residents for supporting our bus replacement schedule.”

According to head mechanic Tim Earle, the district’s roughly 40 buses and vans are constantly being worked on to ensure safety. From safety measures and paperwork, to maintaining electrical and mechanical aspects, the staff are dedicated to their jobs.

“Everyone has their part,” said PCSD Supervisor of Transportation Deb Gerace. “Our mechanics, office staff, dispatchers, drivers and everyone in between. We have a great team and are proud of the DOT recognition.”

EJD announces gold, silver star honorees

Emerson J. Dillon Middle School students who earned an average of 85 or higher for marking period 4 received silver or gold academic honors.


A silver star is earned for a quarterly report card average of 85.0 to 89.99, while a gold star is earned if students achieve a quarterly report card average of 90 or higher. For their efforts, silver star and gold star recipients received a certificate of achievement and were awarded a special activity for their strong finish to the 2016-2017 school year.


Fifth-grade students with gold star honors are: Peyton Aller, Lyla Barrow, Emma Bova, Avery Bowman, Savannah Brown, Myah Burnham, Noah Bushnoe, Shane Byrne, Dakoda Capozzi, Madalyn Carter, Owen Champion, Zoey Coleman, Charles Crandall, Amelie Creighton,Gabriella Dates, Caitlin Dean, Sophie Delahunt, Anthony DeMarchi, Rylee Denslow, Marra DiGiovanni, Erika Dygert, Gianna Ende, Savannah Felix, Leland Frantz, Matthew Froio, Nathan Gaylord, Harleigh Greenleaf, Joshua Gullen Jr., Cody Hager, Parker Hall, Haley Hammond, Sabrina Haynes, Donald Hook, Lincoln Kersey, Cameron Kreis, Ava Kuropatwinski, Kaylen Lamphere, Beth  anders, Emily LaPine, Brycen LaRobardiere, Lillian MacDonald, Lia McBurnie, Chase McElyea, Cayden McKay,  Jordyn Meyers, Claire Minney, Austin Moore, Alyssa Murphy, Caedance Myer, Degan Parker, Macray Pelton, Alexis Phoenix, Margo Pritting, Charles Quaco, Nathaniel Quaco, Mason Renfrew, Ethan Reynolds, Nicholas Root, Ryanna Rose, Sara Ruetsch, Arlin Russo,  Hayleigh Ryan, Lucas Stellingwerf, Alaina Sutter, Landen Thatcher, Chloe Thomas, Lukas Wooding, Miranda Young, and Luke Zellar.


Silver star honorees in fifth-grade are: Carielys Calderon, Alana Clough, Ty Corey, Landon Crandall, Tyler D'Arcy, Juliahana Dennis, Jaylynn Dwyer, Hunter              Eldred,  Mackenzie Fatcheric, Abrielle Fayette, Brayden Felix, Mason Gollaher, Caleb Jolly, Julia Kazmark, Koby  Kitts,  Jason LaRonde, Zachary  Lindsley,  Sadiemae Maher, Mariyah  Metot, Hannah Morrison, Alissa Newman, Ellie Peterson, Hunter Potts, Madison Quaco, Logan Smallman, Mariah Sutliffe and Nathan Worden.


Gold star recipients in sixth-grade are: Isaiah Bergman, Allenmichael Borasky, Elisabeth Caltabiano, Courtney Carter, Reghan Conley, Hayley Dygert, Michael Farrar, Evan Fox, Lindsey Goudy, Mia Graham, Blake Hoyt, Mattie Hunt, Alan Jacques, Conor Jones, Morgan Lynch, Brooke McCann, Peyton Nichols, Tateum Patnode, Cody Perry, Logan Petrie, Lillianne Quinn, Sheriden Southworth, Celia Tangorra and Alexander Whaley.


Silver star awardees in sixth-grade are: Joseph Abt, Chase Bacon, GraysonBrady, Solomon Campbell, Isaac Chesbro, Meghan Clothier, Blake Duncan, Madison Fatcheric, Robert Finch Jr., Shawn Froio, Zoe Gordon, Chloe Harvey, Mallory Hess, Brandon Ingoldby, Olivia Isabella, Evan Isabell, Alyssa Lantry, John McDonald, Jenna Moore, Hannah Reilley, Hope Smith, Ryan Thompson and Austin Wilder.


Seventh-grade gold star awardees are: Sarah Andrews, Sarah Ashby, Stephen Beal, Virginia Bednarski, Mathew Bernard, Alissa Bova, Adrianna Breckheimer, Conner Calkins, Brendan Champion, Chloe Coughlin, Mary Crandall, Isaiah Gordon, James Hagg II, Bethany Hook, Alexandra Hopps, Alaina Hubbell, Lee Ketaily, Grace Landis, Nevaeh Lando, Maggie LaPine, Larissa MacDonald, Hannah McArthur, McKenna Neiss, Jacob Neupert, Katelyn Pyzdrowski, Kelsey Redhead, Ariana Richway, Kylie Russo, Ella Tangorra and Chastity Thomas.


Seventh-grade silver star honorees are: Ian Burgett, Jared Charleston, Kaitlyn Chesbro, Johnathan Dion, Dominic Germain, Mariah Gilligan, Jonah Hawthorne, Jalyn Henry, Jeffrey Horner, Tye Hughes, Daren Jackson, Jayde Jacobson, Grace McDonald, Max Morgan, Weston Murphy, Gabriella Payne, Carter Pinkley, Jacob Smallman, Taylor Smith, Daniel Stellingwerf, Sean Stevens and Gaven Sutter.


Gold star recipients in eighth-grade are: Isabella               Allen, Shay Altman, Nicholas  Bartlett, Ashleigh Besaw, Haley Bowersox, Natalie Brown, Sara Brunell, Chloe Calkins, Kaelyn Cartwright, Hannah Charleston, Emma Clark, Tabitha Clark, Sophia      Crandall, Brielle DeRoberts,  Alexis Dryer, Alivia Eusepi, Hailey Fredericks, Francesca Goodell, Noah Gordon, Cierra Harvey, Mattison Hess, Katherine Holbrook, Amanda Justian, Nathan Kosakowski, Alivia Lamphere, Miranda LaRobardiere, Jock Li, Jillian Loy, Owen Lytle, Zack Mills, Alex Olschewske, Imari Piscitelli, Andrew Quinn, Tyler Redhead, Holt Reed, Connor Roberts, Lily Roberts, William Semanchuk-Enser,  Aiden Southworth, Nathaniel  Sutter, Liam Sweeney, Benjamin Thibault, Corinne Thibault, Zoie Tracy, Melody Trask, Sophia Trinca, Aidan Trumble, Thomas Uhl, Michael VanAuken Jr. and Ashlyn Wallace.


Silver star honorees in eighth-grade are: Alexander Coons, Hailie Dailey, Alicia Durst, Ethan Fox, Zachary Green, Diane King, Lillyan Kingsbury, Elizabeth Lamach, Patricia Lamach, Danielle Loy, Megan Lytle, Robert Moore, Victoria O'Connor, Keaton Renfrew, Mackenzie Shank, Garrett Strang, Mason Watkins.

Canal Days provides Phoenix students with a glimpse into the past

A Phoenix student takes a look at film through vintage view master binoculars during Canal Days along the Oswego River.

Fourth-graders in the Phoenix Central School District recently enjoyed a tradition spanning three decades as they participated in Canal Days along the Oswego River.

The 31st annual Canal Days brought students back in time to the 1800s and early 1900s, where they learned about local history, the canal system, recreational activities and tools that were used in that era. Various stations were set up where the fourth-graders could try their hand at candle making, participate in games, churn their own ice cream, use a washboard and more.

The event coincided with the students’ recent studies of the New York state canal system, which included research, reports and a videoconference with facts and information about how the canals were built.

Scholarships presented to Phoenix seniors

As John C. Birdlebough High School seniors prepare for the next chapter of their lives, many received a financial boost during the annual scholarship and awards night.

The Phoenix chapter of Dollars for Scholars presented more than $46,000 in scholarships to members of the graduating class. Additionally, several privately funded awards were given to graduates who met specific criteria, ranging from high academic achievement to strong leadership and citizenship.

Kea Corey accepts the Anna Renfrew Service Award from Dollars for Scholars President Wendy Dunnigan.

“We would like to thank our volunteers for all their generous contributions,” said Dollars for Scholars President Wendy Dunnigan.

JCB guidance counselor Paul Hurlbutt, who served as emcee for the evening, echoed those sentiments and lauded the students for their achievements. He noted that the accomplishments were a reflection on the recipient, his or her family, the school district and the community.

“It’s a pleasure to work with these young men and women,” Hurlbutt said. “I applaud them and all of you who continually support them as they grow and leave a lasting impact on everyone they meet.”

Phoenix juniors earn scholarships

John C. Birdlebough High School juniors are all smiles after earning scholarships during a recent ceremony.

While juniors begin to plan college visits and narrow down their future plans, some have already earned scholarships for their academic pursuits.

Nearly a dozen New York state colleges and universities recently doled out almost $600,000 in merit awards and partial tuition scholarships to Phoenix Central School District juniors who exhibited academic excellence.

The recipients were: Morgan Gravlin (St. Lawrence University Book Award); Dixon Ameele (Clarkson University Leadership Award); Alyssa Goudy (LeMoyne College Heights Award); Natalie Hart (University of Rochester’s Bausch & Lomb Award); Zoe Heckert (Wells College 21st Century Leadership Award); Alexis Hoag and Breanna Mitchell (Student Sage Awards); Haley Stellingwerf (Clarkson University Achievement Award); Catherine Musumeci (Rensselear Medal Award); Megan Maestri (University of Rochester’s Frederick Douglas & Susan B. Anthony Award); Julianne Yates (University of Rochester’s Xerox Innovation & Information Technology Award); Kaitlin White (University of Rochester’s George Eastman Young Leaders Award & Scholarship); Alisa Trudell (RIT Computing Medal and Scholarship Award); Emily McDonald (RIT Innovation and Creativity Scholarship Award); and Alexis Smith and Sean Sievers (Elmira College Key Awards).

Dillon Middle School Announces PE Students of the Year Winners

Emerson J. Dillon Middle School students of the month gather for a group photo during a year-end ceremony.

The Emerson J. Dillon Middle School physical education staff honored outstanding students during a year-end celebration.

The event was the culmination of a monthly awards program that recognized students for their efforts and behavior. To cap off the year, two students from each grade level were selected as “PE Students of the Year.”

“This is about acknowledging and showing our appreciation to the students who are overall great kids; showing respect and responsibility throughout the school day,” said PE teacher Paul Lyman. “This award exemplifies students who are polite, kind, selfless, honest, trustworthy and serve as a positive role model to their peers.”

The 2017 PE Student of the Year recipients were Brycen LaRobardiere and Lia McBurnie (fifth grade); Damien Fratello and Elisabeth Caltabiano (sixth grade); Jacob Neupert and Madison Grover (seventh grade); and Tyler Redhead and Mackenzie Shank (eighth grade).

EJD student musicians perform spring concert

Emerson J. Dillon Middle School student musicians recently showcased their progress and talents during their final concert of the school year. 

The seventh and eighth grade chorus and band students performed a full lineup of songs featuring several soloists as well as group numbers. Under the direction of Shirley Kelly, the full chorus sang “Africa” and “Blackbird” before combining for a moving performance of “Put a Little Love in Your Heart.” Featured singers and soloists for the evening were Isabella Allen, Garrett Strang, Larissa MacDonald, Jayde Jacobson, Olivia Snyder, Gabriella Payne, Keaton Renfrew, Ashleigh Besaw, Aiden Trumble and Angel Barrows.

Following the chorus performance, the band took the stage for a medley of songs under the direction of Dave Frateschi. Songs included “Midnight Escape,” “Cake by the Ocean,” and “Fate of the Gods,” among others. Soloists were Chloe Calkins, Lily Roberts and Aidan Trumble.

Phoenix Cub Savers Earn Recognition

Participants in the Cub Saver program at Michael A. Maroun Elementary worked to “save their money for a rainy day” through the Edge Federal Credit Union’s initiative.

A focus on financial literacy and savings paid dividends for Michael A. Maroun Elementary School students this year.

Since the fall, students have been involved in the Cub Saver program through Edge Federal Credit Union, where they make deposits into their accounts and learn about finances as part of the school-based program. A recent celebration honored the students who contributed deposits throughout the year, with the seven “super savers” – those who made the most consistent deposits – earning time in the cash cube.

The cash cube provided the seven students with an opportunity to enter the cube and grab up to $1,000 in 30 seconds. All the money each participant was able to grab ($802 combined) was deposited into their accounts.

“It’s not how much they save each week, it’s just about establishing that pattern of behavior,” said Edge Federal Credit Union CEO Theresa Camerino. “This is a great way to introduce students to financial literacy and teach them the importance of saving money.”

JCB students receive top 2 honors

Alexa Uttamsingh and Brian Breen are humbled to represent the John C. Birdlebough High School Class of 2017 as valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively.

While natural academic, musical and social talents helped carry the pair to the top of their class, both Uttamsingh and Breen said it really was all about hard work and dedication.

“I’ve never really liked the word ‘prodigy,’” Breen said. “Words like that skip the whole portion of work that you do.”

Effort, added study sessions and a continued drive pushed Uttamsingh and Breen to success. Uttamsingh has followed in the footsteps of her sister, Olivia, who was JCB’s Class of 2015 valedictorian. Much like her sister, Alexa found a balance of her school work and extra work required to be named #1 in her class. The Class of 2017 valedictorian will attend the University of Rochester where she will study international relations before going to law school.

She reflected back on her time in the Phoenix Central School District and noted she was captivated by any class taught by social studies teacher Joan Martin. She also thanked JCB secretary Michelle Rudy for always being there for her inside and outside of school.

Uttamsingh encouraged JCB underclassmen not to get worked up or stressed about being valedictorian or salutatorian. She remained focused, studied hard, took small breaks to go to the gym, visited friends, was a lifeguard in summer months, participated in several extracurricular activities and managed to receive a weighted grade point average of 104.36.

Breen said his weighted grade point average of 104.04 was earned by studying when he had any free time. He is most proud that he received a 100 on his trigonometry Regents exam and his attendance to Conference All-State during his junior and senior year, where he played percussion both times. He has participated in marching band, jazz band, winter drumline, Tri-M Music Honor Society and Drama Club, among other extracurricular activities.

He offered the following advice to underclassmen: “Finish all of your work, even if it’s a lot.” Through hard work, he said, students may also find academic areas they unexpectedly excel in, as was the case when he attended Lisa Spereno’s English classes and discovered he enjoyed reading and writing.

Breen will attend Ithaca College for music performance and music education. He plans on being a music teacher. He thanked his mother for her unwavering support and said without her assistance and guidance he wouldn’t be where he is today.





Dillon Students Elected into National Junior Honor Society

Several Emerson J. Dillon (EJD) middle-schoolers were elected into National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) during a recent ceremony held at the school.


EJD NJHS Advisor Jennifer Mainville welcomed parents and families in celebrating the accomplishments of the inductees, and indicated that the NJHS students had planned the entire evening. The students proceeded with running the ceremony for the remainder of the night.

“National Junior Honor Society is about leading and taking charge,” said Mainville. “And that’s what the students are doing tonight.”


Following the traditional candle lighting ceremony, the following students were pinned as new NJHS members: Sarah Andrews, Sara Brunell, Isaiah Gordon, James Hagg II, Larissa MacDonald, Jacob Neupert, Mackenzie Shank, Nathaniel Sutter and Michael VanAuken.


EJD NJHS President Lily Roberts led the new and old members in reading the Member’s Pledge saying, “I will be loyal to my school; and will maintain and encourage high standards of scholarship, leadership, service, citizenship and character.”

EJD National Junior Honor Society proudly welcomes nine new members.