116 Volney St.
Phoenix, NY 13135
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News and Articles for Phoenix Central School District.

Program introduces inclusive sports to Phoenix students

Students at John C. Birdlebough High School recently received a lesson in inclusion and adaptability during physical education classes facilitated by Move Along Inc.

The organization aims to provide adapted recreational opportunities for people who live with disabilities in Central New York, and students in the Phoenix Central School District experienced this first hand. During a weeklong program, representatives from Move Along Inc. provided adaptive equipment for students to use in physical education classes. They learned to play wheelchair basketball, sled hockey and hand cycle.

“We wanted to expose our students to the inclusive opportunities in the community,” said JCB teacher Angie Neiss. “They’re learning about empathy and compassion. It’s a great program and learning experience.”

Students lauded the program and said they were grateful to learn about the many inclusive athletic opportunities available in the local community.

EJD Middle School announces Gold and Silver Star students for second quarter

Emerson J. Dillon Middle School is proud to announce its Gold and Silver Star students for the second quarter of the 2016 – 2017 school year. Students earning Gold Star distinction have maintained a quarterly grade point average of 90 or higher with no incompletes or failing grades. Students earning Silver Star distinction have maintained a quarterly grade point average of 85 to 89.99 with no incompletes or failing grades. 

Grade five Gold Star honorees are: Peyton Aller, Lyla  Barrow, Avery Bowman, Myah Burnham, Noah Bushnoe, Owen Champion, Reghan Conley, Landon Crandall, Amelie Creighton, Gabriella Dates, Caitlin Dean, Sophie Delahunt, Anthony DeMarchi, Rylee Denslow, Marra DiGiovanni, Erika Dygert, Gianna Ende, Mackenzie Fatcheric, Abrielle Fayette, Savannah Felix, Leland Frantz, Nathan Gaylord, Harleigh Greenleaf, Cody Hager, Parker Hall, Haley Hammond, Donald Hook, Cameron Kreis, Kaylen Lamphere, Beth Landers, Emily LaPine, Brycen LaRobardiere, Lillian MacDonald, Lia McBurnie, Chase McElyea, Cayden McKay,  Mariyah Metot, Jordyn Meyers, Claire Minney,  Austin Moore, Alyssa Murphy, Caedance Myer, Degan Parker, Macray Pelton, Ellie Peterson, Alexis Phoenix, Margo Pritting, Charles Quaco, Nathaniel Quaco, Mason Renfrew, Ethan Reynolds, Nicholas Root, Sara Ruetsch, Arlin, Russo, Lucas Stellingwerf, Alaina Sutter, Landen Thatcher, Chloe Thomas, Lukas Wooding, and Nathan Worden.

Grade five Silver Star honorees are: Savannah Brown, Shane Byrne, Carielys Calderon, Dakoda Capozzi, Madalyn Carter, Ty Corey, Charles Crandall, Emma Dailey, Tyler D'Arcy, Juliahana Dennis, Hunter Eldred, Matthew Froio, Joshua Gullen Jr., Sabrina Haynes, Caleb Jolly, Julia Kazmark, Jason LaRonde, Gabrielle Lenway, Sadiemae Maher, Hannah Morrison, Alissa Newman, Gaige Pitre, Hunter Potts, Madison Quaco, Jayden Rawson, Ryanna Rose, Logan Smallman, Mariah Sutliffe, and Miranda Young.

Grade six Gold Star honorees are: Chase Bacon, Isaiah Bergman, Allenmichael Borasky, Elisabeth Caltabiano, Courtney Carter, Emily Dunn-Hulett, Hayley Dygert, Michael Farrar, Madison Fatcheric, Evan Fox, Lindsey Goudy, Mia Graham, Mallory Hess, Blake Hoyt, Evan Isabell, Olivia Isabella, Alan Jacques, Conor Jones, Chase Kenner-Carbonaro, Alyssa Lantry, Merlin Lough, Morgan Lynch, Brooke McCann, Peyton Nichols, Tateum Patnode, Cody Perry, Logan Petrie, Lillianne Quinn, Hannah Reilley, Sheriden Southworth, Celia Tangorra, Ryan Thompson, and Alexander Whaley.

Grade six Silver Stars honorees are: Garrett Audas, Grayson Brady, Haden Baugh, Aiyannah Bukowski, Peyton Callahan, Solomon Campbell, Liam Campanino, Isaac Chesbro, Christopher Clarke II, Blake Duncan, Mark Eusepi Jr., Kenidee Grover, Chloe Harvey, Mattie Hunt, Brandon Ingoldby, Dylan Jones, John McDonald, Jenna Moore, and Nicholas Shank.
Grade seven Gold Stars honorees are: Sarah Andrews, Stephen Beal, Virginia Bednarski, Alissa Bova, Adrianna Breckheimer, Chloe Coughlin, Mariah Gilligan, Isaiah Gordon, James Hagg II, Bethany Hook, Alexandra Hopps, Alaina Hubbell, Tye Hughes, Autumn Kelly, Karson Kimball, Grace Landis, Nevaeh Lando, Maggie LaPine, Larissa MacDonald, Hannah McArthur, McKenna Neiss, Jacob Neupert, Kelsey Redhead, Kylie Russo, Sean Stevens, and Chastity Thomas. 

Grade seven Silver Star honorees are: Sarah Ashby, Mathew Bernard, Ian Burgett, Conner Calkins, Brendan Champion, Jared Charleston, Thomas Checksfield, Kaitlyn Chesbro, Mary Crandall, Johnathan Dion, Charity Frantz, Dominic Germain, Brian Gibbs, Joseph Green, Madisen Guerrero, Maurice Handy, Jonah Hawthorne, Zackary Hunter, Daren Jackson, Lee Ketaily, Dominick Mason, Nicholas McCann, 
Madeline Mills, Erick Moreira, Max Morgan, Brady Munger, Carter Norton, Gabriella Payne, Carter Pinkley, Ariana Richway, Jacob Smallman, Taylor Smith, Olivia Snyder, Daniel Stellingwerf, Gaven Sutter, 
Ella Tangorra, and John Wallace.

Grade eight Gold Star honorees are: Isabella Allen, Shay Altman, Ashleigh Besaw, Haley Bowersox, Natalie Brown, Sara Brunell, Chloe Calkins, Kaelyn Cartwright, Hannah Charleston, Tabitha  Clark, Emma Clark, Sophia Crandall, Brielle DeRoberts, Alicia Durst, Francesca Goodell, Noah Gordon, Zachary Green, Cierra Harvey, Mattison Hess, Nathan Kosakowski, Alivia Lamphere, Miranda LaRobardiere, Jock Li, Megan Lytle, Owen Lytle, Zack     Mills, Andrew Quinn, Tyler Redhead, Connor Roberts, Lily Roberts, Mackenzie Shank, Aiden Southworth, Nathaniel Sutter, Nicholas Sutter, Liam Sweeney, Zoie Tracy, Melody Trask, Sophia Trinca, Aidan Trumble, Thomas Uhl, Michael VanAuken Jr., and Mason Watkins.

Grade eight Silver Star honorees are: Sarai Brown, Kelsie Burgess, Jonathan Campbell, Alexander Coons, Hailie Dailey, Haylie Dodge, Alexis Dryer, Alivia Eusepi, Emma Fatcheric, Ethan Fox, Hailey Fredericks, Katherine Holbrook, Braden Jolly, Amanda Justian, Molly Kelly, Lillyan Kingsbury, Patricia Lamach, Tori-Lenn Loosen, Danielle Loy, Jillian Loy, Robert Minard,  Rocco Mistico, Kylie Mulcahey, Alex Olschewske, Imari Piscitelli, Holt Reed, Keaton Renfrew,  Roemello Rondinello, William Semanchuk-Enser, Garrett Strang, Caitlyn Sutkus, Benjamin Thibault, Corinne Thibault, Ashlyn Wallace, Molly Werth, and Jada Wyatt.

PCSD students perform in honor bands

Some of Phoenix Central School District’s most musically-talented students recently performed in the New York State Band Director’s Association’s annual Symposium of middle school and high school honor bands.

Band directors from throughout the state submitted recommendations for the prestigious honor based on the previous year’s New York State School Music Association scores for students and overall achievement.

Dr. Shelley Jagow directed the Middle School Honor Band, for grades seven and eight, which was comprised of 112 students coming from 42 school districts. Their program included “Into the Clouds” by Richard Saucedo, “El Camino Real” by Alfred Reed and arranged by Robert Longfield, “Rippling Watercolors” by Brian Balmages and “CafĂ© 512” by Ryan George.

Accepted from Phoenix as first alternates for the NYSBDA Middle School Honor Band this year were Lily Roberts (French Horn) and Hannah Charleston (Euphonium). Phoenix Central School District was the only school district from Oswego County to have students selected to the Middle School Honor Band this year.

Dr. Evan Feldman directed the High School Honor Band. Comprised of 123 students in grades nine through 12 from 54 school districts, the program included “Kirpatrick Fanfare” by Andrew Boysen Jr., “Irish Tune from County Derry” by Percy Aldridge Grainger, “Blue Shades” by Frank Tichelli, “Melodius Thunk” by David Biedenbender and “Downey Overture” by Oscar Navarro. Phoenix Central, Fulton City, Hannibal Central, and Central Square Central school districts all had students selected to perform in this year’s High School Honor Band.

The PCSD Music Department is also proud to be included in the NAfME top 100 schools in America for Music Education for the 2016 school year. This is the fifth straight year for this designation. The department extended a special thank you to the PCSD administration team and the Board of Education for their continued support of all Phoenix students.


Representing Phoenix Central School District in the NYSBDA Middle School Honor Band, from left, are Thomas Uhl (Trumpet), Aiden Trumble (Trumpet), Virginia Bednarski (Trumpet) and Chloe Calkins (Euphonium).

From left, Daniel Knowlton (Trumpet) and Brian Breen (Flute) are all smiles after they were selected to perform in the NYSBDA High School Honor Band.

Students selected for Poco Allegro Youth Wind Ensemble

EJD students Nicholas Bartlett, Natalie Brown, Lily Roberts, Sophia Trinca, Aidan Trumble, and Alex Olschewske have been selected to participate in the Poco Allegro Youth Wind Ensemble through Syracuse University.

EJD students Grace Landis, Virginia Bednarski, Ariana Richway, Sarah Andrews, and Cameron Huntley round out the list of students earning the honor of joining this year’s Poco Allegro Youth Wind Ensemble.

Several talented musicians from the Emerson J. Dillon Middle School were selected to participate in the Poco Allegro Youth Wind Ensemble through Syracuse University. Students have been rehearsing since January, and have worked very hard to prepare a demanding concert within just five rehearsals. The first of two Poco Allegro Youth Wind Ensemble concerts was held recently on the Syracuse University campus. The concert program included Victory and Celebration by Alan Lee Silva, Plaza de Toros by Mark Williams, Fantasia on the ‘Dargason’ by Gustav Holst as arranged by Michael Story, and the music from Les Miserables as arranged by Michael Sweeny.

Participating middle school students include Grace Landis on flute, Ariana Richway on flute, Natalie Brown on clarinet, Sarah Andrews on tenor saxophone, Nicholas Bartlett on baritone saxophone, Virginia Bednarski on trumpet, Katelyn Pyzdrowski on trumpet, Aidan Trumble on trumpet, Lily Roberts on French horn, Cameron Huntley on euphonium, Alex Olschewske on percussion, and Sophia Trinca on percussion.

Poco Allegro is a community-based ensemble for students in seventh and eighth grade in the Central New York area. Over one-hundred dedicated and talented students were accepted into the group, based on teacher recommendations and continue to represent the high quality of music programs across Central New York. The group rehearse alongside the Allegro Youth Wind Ensemble, which consists of students in grades nine through twelve. Both ensembles are co-directed by Elizabeth Buell of the Westhill School District, Terrance Caviness of the Fulton City School District, and Professor Justin Mertz, Director of Bands at Syracuse University. The second and final concert in the Allegro and Poco Allegro series will be held at 2:00 pm on Sunday, March 26 in the Setnor Auditorium at Syracuse University.

The Phoenix Central School Music Department has been included in the 2016 National Association for Music Education top 100 schools in America for Music Education. “This marks the fifth consecutive year for this designation," music teacher David Frateschi said. “Special thanks go out to the Phoenix administration team and the Board of Education for their continued support of our students here in Phoenix.”

EJD students display artistic abilities at local exhibit

Several Emerson J. Dillon Middle School students were recently selected to represent EJD at a special exhibit celebrating students’ artistic achievements.

Throughout the month of March, visitors to Beaver Lake Nature Center in Baldwinsville may view “Student Art: Naturally” entries about landscapes, plant and animal studies, waterscapes and other artwork in the form of paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures and collage. The styles range from highly realistic to incredibly imaginative.

An opening reception was held March 1 to honor the young artists. Each student received a certificate and ribbon in recognition of their participation in the show.  Refreshments were also served.

“Student Art - Naturally” is organized annually by the Central Region of the New York State Art Teachers Association in co-operation with Beaver Lake Nature Center. The following EJD students participated in the show: Michael VanAuken, Sophie Crandall, Sara Brunell, Sophia Trinca, Nathan Kosakowski, Mackenzie VanAuken, Brielle Roberts, Ethan Fox, Zoie Tracy, Mattison Hess, Chloe Coughlin, Sydney Bingham, Tabitha Clark, Megan Lytle, Erick Moreira, Kylie Russo, Jock Li, Nate Sutter, Jayde Jacobson, Alivia Lamphere and Sarai Brown.

Art teachers Beth Pritchard and Ashley Modafferi supported the students at the art show reception. Modafferi, NYSATA Chairperson for the Beaver Lake Intermediate Art Show, encouraged Phoenix Central School District students, staff members and community supporters to explore the EJD talent on display at the nature center. The artwork will be shown until March 28 in honor of March as Youth Art Month.


EJD student Tabitha Clark proudly displays the honors she received for her colorful dock at sunset
artwork, to her left, which is hung in the “Student Art: Naturally” art exhibit at Beaver Lake Nature Center,
sponsored by the Central Region of the New York State Art Teachers Association.


Inflatable planetarium comes to MAM Elementary

Michael A. Maroun Elementary School students recently learned all about astronomy in their classrooms and outer space.

After they stepped inside of the inflatable planetarium set up inside the school, both students and their teachers alike joined the Earth’s journey as it orbited around the sun and listened to an Onondaga-Cortland-Madison Board of Cooperative Educational Services planetarium specialist explain day/night and constellations.

The 40-minute sessions inside the inflatable planetarium helped students better understand the Earth’s rotation and axis, as a short video clip showed the comparison of a pencil in the center of an apple to the imaginary line for which the Earth spins. The students learned that as Earth rotates, daytime arrives for the part of the Earth which faces the sun and nighttime is when the Earth faces away from the sun.

The planetarium specialist used a projector to point out various constellations, which some teachers said they referred to in their classroom as a game of connect-the-dots.

The fun experience served as a supplement to the classroom astronomy lessons. A part of the Listening and Learning units, students developed strong vocabulary skills and basic knowledge about planets, rotations and other astronomy facts.

MAM students learn about the Earth’s rotation and axis while inside an inflatable
planetarium from OCM BOCES.

'Les Miserables' on stage March 9-11

When the Phoenix Central School District presents “Les Miserables” School Edition this March, the stage will truly transform into a one-of-a-kind venue.

This year’s production will incorporate a unique twist: a turntable-style stage that rotates with each scene. Director Brian Logee said he has wanted to build a rotating platform for years, and this was the “perfect opportunity.” He said the cast, the play itself, and the support of the booster club made this year the ideal time for the dream to become a reality.

“Les Mis on Broadway had a rotating stage,” Logee said. “That’s the artistry of it. The stage changes the whole way the scenes are portrayed. There are no breaks in the music, so with the rotating stage, the action never stops.”

The stage, although it came together in Logee’s mind years ago, began taking shape physically in late January. Booster club members Rick and Angela VanGorder, Glen and Nicole Merrill, Gary Blumer, Cliff Frink, and Keith Renfrew joined Logee for a marathon building session.

“There are 200 ball bearings on this, operated by a rope drive,” Logee said. “It took some trial and error to make it operational, but it works!”

With the mechanical portion addressed, Logee said the cast and crew are focusing on delivering a jaw-dropping musical performance. Although he described the music in “Les Mis” as “extremely difficult,” Logee believes the strength of this year’s cast, especially the seniors, will take the show to a new level.

The lead actors in this year’s play include Danielle Merrill, Hannah Grabowski, Ned Greenough, Evan Logee, Joe Brennan, Chloe Koegel, Garrett Frink, Miranda Bowersox and Brian Breen.

“Our cast is going to make this show incredible,” he said. “I want the audience to walk away afterward saying, ‘I can’t believe this is a high school production.’ That’s the greatest compliment an audience can give. We set the bar high here, but the kids always rise to -- or exceed the bar.”

“Les Miserables” School Edition will be performed at 4 p.m. March 9, 7:30 p.m. March 10, and at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. March 11 at John C. Birdlebough High School. Admission is $10 for adults and $7 for students and senior citizens.

MAM students learn about police K-9s

First-graders at Michael A. Maroun Elementary School embraced the giving spirit this holiday season and raised money for area law enforcement efforts.

The students collected more than $400 for the New York State Troopers Foundation, which will be used to purchase safety equipment for a police K-9. To show their gratitude for the students’ contributions, two NYS Troopers and their four-legged companions recently met with the first-graders inside the intermediate cafeteria.

Troopers Kevin Conners and Kylie Black talked about their dogs, the training they experienced and the qualities that make for a good police dog. Black’s K-9, a German shepherd named Rudd, demonstrated his powerful nose as he successfully sniffed out a fake explosive device. Students clapped and cheered as Rudd and Schini, a Bloodhound, showed off their skills.

After learning the value of employing police K-9s, the students were happy that their contributions will help bolster the force. The money the first-graders raised will go toward equipment for the newest K-9 recruit, who will be based out of the Fulton barracks.

Musicians Excel at All-County

Nearly 20 Phoenix Central School District middle school students showcased their musical talents during the recent All-County Band Festival held in Hannibal.

The annual event was spearheaded by the Oswego County Music Educators Association and featured 74 student musicians representing all nine school districts throughout the county. Under the direction of Jonathan Hunkins, the junior high band performed “Encanto,” “Air for Winds” and “The Forge of Vulcan.”

The Emerson J. Dillon instrumental music program had the largest number of junior high students represented from one school district at this year’s festival, which is a testament to the hard work of the students and the district’s rich music program, said EJD band teacher Dave Frateschi.

“The Phoenix Central School Music Department is also very proud to be included in the National Association for Music Education top 100 schools in America for Music Education for the 2016 school year,” Frateschi said, noting that this marks the fifth consecutive year for this designation. “Special thanks go out to the Phoenix administration team and the Board of Education for their continued support of our students here in Phoenix.” 

EJD Artists Earn Honors

Art students in the Phoenix Central School District recently earned recognition for their work as part of the Scholastic Art Awards program.

The annual effort honors Central New York students in grades seven through 12 for their artistic accomplishments. This year nearly 5,100 pieces of art were submitted from school districts throughout the region, and a panel of judges recently selected the winners, including several Phoenix students. Fourteen Emerson J. Dillon Middle School artists earned honors and their work will be among the 1,300 pieces on display through March 3 at the Whitney Applied Technology Center at Onondaga Community College. 

The winners from EJD were eighth-graders Noah Gordon, Cierra Harvey, Liam Sweeney, and Haley Bowersox (Gold Keys); Michael VanAuken, Sara Brunell, Shay Altman, Alivia Lamphere, Sophia Trinca and Emma Clark (Silver Keys); and Andrew Quinn, Melody Trask, Nathan Kosakowski, Emma Clark, Alivia Lamphere, Shay Altman and Nate Sutter, who was recognized for two submissions (honorable mention).

EJD art teachers Beth Pritchard and Ashley Modafferi congratulated the students on the recognition and noted that the exhibit is open to the public for community members and parents who would like to see the work on display.