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.
The John C. Birdlebough High School auditorium was filled to capacity on Dec. 10 as the middle school musicians performed holiday songs during the winter concert.
Holiday music fills the air inside the John C. Birdlebough High school auditorium on Dec. 10 as the middle school jazz band performs “O Holy Night” under the direction of James DeMauro.
Under the direction of James DeMauro, the Emerson J. Dillon jazz band opened the evening with “Ye Jazzy Gentlemen” and “O Holy Night,” bringing the crowd to its feet with the festive music.
The evening continued with performances by the seventh and eighth grade chorus, under the direction of Shirley Kelly, singing “Ding-a- Ding-a Ding,” “White Christmas” and “Do You Hear What I Hear.”
To cap off the concert, the middle school band performed “Of Castles and Kings,” “And all the Bells Shall Ring,” “Carol of the Bell,” “Cyclone” and “Jingle Jive.”
The Phoenix Central School District is on the list of Best Communities for Music Education, as determined by the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation. The foundation is a nonprofit organization geared toward advancing active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving and public service programs from the international music products industry.
Scenes from the performance:
Phoenix Community Band
The Phoenix Firebirds varsity wrestling team opened the 2013 season with a 38-28 win at home over Marcellus on Dec. 10.
Phoenix’s Tyler Worden tallied a quick win in the 195-pund weight class, pinning his opponent in 1:34. In the 106-pound weight class, Firebird wrestler Ryan Dolbear pinned his opponent in 2:37.
In addition to the two decisive victories by pin, Phoenix wrestler Tim Gandino won by forfeit and four others outdueled their opponents during the match. Phoenix matmen who also earned wins were Brad Dietz (126 pounds, 12-6 decision); Zach Carlson (132 pounds, 12-1 decision); Adam Pinzer (152 pounds, 9-3 decision); and Kyle Demo (160 pounds, 10-1 decision).
A Firebird wrestler works to pin his opponent during the team's season-opening win against Marcellus on Dec. 10.
The Phoenix community united for the annual village tree lighting ceremony in the Sweet Memorial Building on Dec. 7, as Santa greeted hundreds of boys and girls to hear their Christmas wishes.
Fia Campanino hands out gifts to a boy who waited in line to see Santa on Dec. 7 at the Sweet Memorial Building.
While Kris Kringle earned much of the attention when he arrived via a Phoenix fire engine, several of his elves worked behind the scenes to ensure the event was a success. Dozens of community volunteers, village representatives, school district members and John C. Birdlebough High School students played a part in the annual ceremony. Members of the Student Leadership Program were dressed as elves as they handed out presents to each child who visited Santa. Student volunteers also manned a face painting booth and an arts and crafts table.
In addition to the activities and gifts for children, there were plenty of snacks and warm drinks for community members to enjoy while they waited in line to see Santa.
Although Santa has a full agenda this time of year, members of the Phoenix community were thrilled that he penciled them in to his calendar.
Pictured from left are JCB students Josh Margrey, Conrad Karl and Maria Musumeci.
To kick off the month of December, 37 students from John C. Birdlebough’s Student Council Leadership Team met up with senior citizen from three area nursing homes to take them shopping for the holidays.
Participating nursing homes included Michaud Residential Health Services, Syracuse Home and Loretto. Two to three students were partnered up with fourteen wheelchair-bound seniors and brought them around Great Northern Mall. Each senior citizen had a certain amount of money to spend on gifts for family or for themselves.
After an hour of shopping, the JCB students brought the seniors back to the food court, where they ate lunch with them and spent some more time together before returning back to school.
Excelling on the field of play and in the classroom, Phoenix Central School District athletes earned recognition for their achievements at the end of the fall sports season.
At the conclusion of each season, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association celebrates the accomplishments of student-athletes through the scholar athlete program. Teams that achieve an overall GPA of 90 percent or better are recognized with this honor. Phoenix teams earning recognition were the varsity golf, girls’ tennis, boys’ soccer, girls’ soccer, girls’ cross-country and volleyball teams.
As a result of their academic and athletic success, each qualifying athlete received a pin commemorating their achievement, while the school was given a certificate.