More than two dozen John C. Birdlebough High School students joined elite company on Dec. 17, as their service, scholarship, leadership and character were recognized with induction into the National Honor Society.
“An honor such as this is a wonderful way for the school and community to recognize and celebrate the choices and sometimes the sacrifices you have made,” said National Honor Society Adviser Angela Neiss. “I’m looking forward to working with each and every one of you throughout the next school year.”
The 25 inductees joined 33 current National Honor Society members, who celebrate scholarly achievement and service to the community through several initiatives during the school year. According to Neiss, members help organize blood drives, serve Thanksgiving dinner to the less fortunate, participate in an Earth Day community cleanup and volunteer for a variety of activities.
John C. Birdlebough High School Principal Greg Molloy, Superintendent Judy Belfield and National Honor Society Adviser Angela Neiss congratulate one of the 25 new NHS members during the induction ceremony Dec. 17.
It is this kind of service that keynote speaker Joanna Young, JCB’s instrumental teacher, cited as a critical component of National Honor Society membership. “Students have concerned themselves with the welfare and well-being of their fellow classmates and society as a whole,” Young said. “Their actions as leaders will be models for others to follow, both in school and around the community. The leaders of this generation of students will have to be more resourceful than ever to shape their own lives and the lives of others around them. “
Principal Greg Molloy told the inductees that their actions have not only dictated their membership in the honor society, but will also serve as a foundation for who they will become as adults. “As I reviewed the recommendations written on your behalf, it was evident that you are all victors; not to be confused with victims,” Molloy said. “As victors, you are described as responding to life’s circumstances with care and selflessness, versus the victims, who react with vengeance and selfishness.”
Molloy said the victors’ perspective was full of “ands” compared to the victims’, which is filled with “buts.” He encouraged the inductees to continue being victors and leaders in the community and to avoid taking shortcuts.
With encouraging words from the speakers, the inductees took the National Honor Society pledge and Superintendent Judy Belfield presented each with a pin signifying their membership.
New members include Kellen Arnold, MacKenzie Berube, Alexis Bowering, Marisa Dona, Mike Doran, Chris Fisk, Nicole Fitzgerald, Matti Gleason, Sarah Hoag, Jordan Jock, Jessica Jones, Meghan Lees, Chris Nicolella, Meghan Rowe, Michael Sadoski, Jonathan Schmidt, Austin Scruton, Andrew Smith, Morgan Stobart, Zack VanGorder, Abby Venskus, Derick White, Caroline Woodside, Ryan Wranesh and Jolene Zaia.
The winter season has arrived and with it brings cold temperatures, unseasonable conditions, and for over 500 senior citizens in the county it could also mean not getting a healthy home-delivered meal through Oswego County Opportunities’ Meals-On-Wheels program.
Students and staff at Michael A. Maroun Elementary School knew there was something they could do to help the senior citizens in Oswego County this winter and they organized a building-wide ‘Blizzard Bag’ project. Donations poured in for shelf-stable items such as oatmeal, cereal bars, instant soup packets, packaged crackers and cookies, juice boxes, hot cocoa mix, tea bags, and hard candies. In addition to ‘people’ food, the school also collected pet food donations for the senior citizens’ furry friends.
Over 150 ‘Blizzard Bags’ were created by the MAM students and each grade level played a special part in the project - decorating paper bags, creating personalized greeting cards, crafting pet bags, and filling each bag with the collected items. Impressed by each person’s support for the project and the building-wide collaboration, MAM Principal Mary Stanton said on ‘Blizzard Bag’ packing day, “I’m so proud of how well our school worked together and how much we think about others in our community.”
Oswego County Opportunities Senior Nutrition Services delivers approximately 500 meals each day, Monday through Friday, to seniors in Oswego County and also feeds approximately 150 seniors at their various Dining and Activities Centers in the county. Inclement weather sometimes makes it difficult for drivers to deliver meals, the ‘Blizzard Bags’ provide seniors with a nutritious and easy-to-prepare meal option should their driver be unable to deliver a meal.
OCB Volunteer Coordinator Christine Parks joined the students on the day that they filled the bags and was overjoyed at the support from the students and staff at MAM to help the senior citizens in their own community and indicated that they bags will be distributed to seniors in early January.
Leanne Gladle, Ethan Bruno and the entire third grade at Michael A. Maroun Elementary School packed ‘Blizzard Bags’ full of shelf-stable food items for seniors in the local community. Students and staff donated non-perishable food items for a building-wide project to benefit seniors that receive meal deliveries through Oswego County Opportunities’ Meals on Wheels program. The bags are for seniors to keep on hand during the winter months in case daily deliveries are unable to take place because of inclement weather and driving conditions.
Gabriella Dates, a second grade student at Michael A. Maroun Elementary School decorates a snowman for one of the 150 non-perishable food item ‘Blizzard Bags’ to benefit the Meals on Wheels program through Oswego County Opportunities.
Logan Galle and Breannah Demo show off the cards they created, which will be distributed to local senior citizens during the winter season. The pair and their classmates at Michael A. Maroun Elementary School created the cards as part of a building-wide ‘Blizzard Bag’ project to benefit seniors who receive Meals on Wheels deliveries in Oswego County.
Students at Michael A. Maroun Elementary School enjoy a holiday sing-along on Dec. 20. Following along with song lyrics projected onto a screen, they belted out holiday classics such as "All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth," "Jingle Bells" and "Deck the Halls."
With a desire to give back to the community, Phoenix Central School District staff and faculty joined forces with United Way of Oswego County again this year and contributed to the organization’s annual campaign.
According to Mary Stanton, principal at Michael A. Maroun Elementary School, this year’s giving effort was one of the most successful to date. Employees of the school district donated $1,807 in 2013 compared with the $1,360 collected in 2012 -- a trend that Stanton hopes will continue.
Michael A. Maroun Principal Mary Stanton (left) hands a $1,807 donation to United Way of Oswego County’s Resource Development Director Lois Luber. The money collected will be used to help fund some of the 34 United Way programs available across the county.
“We have a very high staff participation rate,” Stanton said. “Donations can be made through cash, checks or payroll deductions. It doesn’t matter how much you give. It’s the fact that you’re part of that overall total. Every little bit counts.”
The money collected as part of the campaign goes toward a variety of local service agencies. Nonprofit organizations, the Human Concerns Center, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, ARISE, Literacy Volunteers of Oswego County, Catholic Charities and American Red Cross disaster relief efforts are all aided by the funding. Twenty agencies and 34 programs in Oswego County benefit from campaign donations.
“It’s an easy way to give back to the community,” said United Way’s Resource Development Director Lois Luber. “We depend on any campaign efforts. Small donations add up. Mary Stanton knows there is a need and she sees it. These contributions go a long way to ensure so many youth development programs can (continue to) operate.”
Courtnery Guzelak (left) askes PE Teacher Angie Neiss how to divvy up the brownie mix while volunteering for the Lion's Club.
The week before Christmas, students at JCB High School volunteered to pack boxes of food at the Fire Station on Elm Street.
Students at Maroun, EJD and JCB held a food drive in the month of December to benefit the Phoenix Lion’s Club. Each year around Christmas, the Phoenix Lion’s gives away packed boxes of nonperishable food to those that qualify for the program.
The Maintenance Department for the Phoenix Central School District transports the collection to the Phoenix Fire Station.
Students with permission slips left from study hall and Angie Neiss’s class to help out. Food items were sorted first by category; pasta, soup, canned meats, vegetables, fruits and breakfast items.
Then the girls formed an assembly line, placing an item from each category into a cardboard box until the tables of food were cleared.
JCB students packed a total of 142 boxes for people in the community. The Lions Club was able to pack the remaining 80 plus boxes with the help of more donations.
From left are Kimberly Holbrook, Alexandra Wilson, Alyssa Mulderig, Courtney Guzelak, Amanda Ramsey, Brooke Ensby, Bryn Demong and Jessica Jones.
From left are clarinet players Alexis Gamborcoto, Alexis Dryer and Emma Clark just before the school's holiday concert.
Under the direction of Liza Grethel, the Emerson J. Dillon fifth grade band opened the evening on Dec. 11 with folk songs and traditional carols.
The evening continued with performances by the fifth and sixth grade chorus, under the direction of Shirley Kelly, singing “Nutcracker Jingles,” “Secrets of Snow,” and “Sing Noel, Noel!” Student Garrett Strang was given a roar of applause after his solo in the last song.
To round out the night, the sixth grade band performed under Kim Gould. They played to their captive audience, “A Christmas Proclamation,” “Christmas Concerto #3,” “Dark Odyssey,” and “Christmas Stomp.”
The fifth and sixth grade chorus performed Dec. 11 at JCB's holiday concert.
Holiday music filled the air for shoppers on Dec. 18 when EJD students performed at Great Northern Mall. Students in sixth, seventh and eighth grade performed for over an hour, to the delight of onlookers
Pictured are Sixth grade band members Alex Galle, Hailey Goudy and Julianna Lewis outside of Macy’s.
The sixth grade band performed “A Christmas Proclamation,” a number they had been working on since September. The seventh and eighth grade band played the popular “Carol of the Bells,” and “Cyclone,” a song that featured a thunder sheet.
The afternoon of talent was concluded with the eighth grade chorus, singing “Jingle Bells,” with a second verse, “Winter Wonderland,” and a duet of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”
Before they were bused back to school to resume their classes, middle school students had time to eat lunch at the mall.
Singing a duet of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” are EJD eighth grade students Crysania Gilbert and Rebecca Burdick.
Holiday music surrounds all those who listen at JCB on Dec. 18 as the Chamber Singers sang "And Suddenly."
The Polar Express rolled into the Phoenix Central School District on Friday, bringing with it plenty of Christmas cheer.
Students at Emerson J. Dillon Middle School had the opportunity to shop for family members as they perused a wide selection of gifts that were donated by staff and community members. The annual event, which began more than a decade ago by the school nurse and school psychologist, has transformed into a gift-giving extravaganza, according to EJD school psychologist Jill Lunn.
"It started out with just a few kids who came down and teachers had brought a few things in for those couple of kids to wrap and take home to give to family members," Lunn said. "(Since then) they have expanded it and asked for donations from all the staff. Each team nominates children to come down to shop. Every year it gets a little bit bigger and we get more and more and more (donations), which is wonderful."
Emerson J. Dillon school psychologist Jill Lunn helps student Bradyn Lough wrap gifts for his relatives during Polar Express on Friday at Emerson J. Dillon Middle School.
Leah Green (left) and Love Phillips browse a wide selection of gifts to give to family members as part of Polar Express at Emerson J. Dillon Middle School.
Although the donations were a bit scarce at the beginning of December, Lunn said a final push helped send the donations over the top, guaranteeing at least 205 students would be able to bring a gift home for their family members.
“Monday there wasn't nearly as much stuff, so I sent out an email to staff and said that we have more kids than ever ... and they rallied and they brought in so many things,” Lunn said. “We have a lot of community members who donate. What's incredible too is some of our families who could probably use a little help around the holidays also give.”
For student Love Phillips, Polar Express was a chance to provide a good Christmas for her three brothers and parents. That feeling of giving, according to Lunn, was what the initiative was all about.
“We wanted to do something a little different and let the kids know what it feels like to be able to give, and very rarely do we get a student who asks for something for themselves,” Lunn said.
While the shopping part was a major part of the event, faculty and community members were also on hand to wrap each gift.
“Certainly we couldn’t do it without the community volunteers, district administrators (and) the teachers that donate. They give up their planning periods and their lunches to help wrap. It's teamwork. It takes everybody,” Lunn said.