With a year left until graduation, several John C. Birdlebough High School juniors already received a financial boost for their post-secondary education.
Eighteen scholarships, totaling more than $500,000, were presented during a recent ceremony in the high school auditorium. The financial awards were offered by universities and colleges such as Wells, LeMoyne, Elmira, Rochester and more, and recognized those who excelled in the classroom and as citizens.
“Congratulations to all of our award-winners,” Principal Thomas Bailer said. “Be proud of who you are as a person, be proud as a Firebird, and proud as a member of this community. Continue to work hard and strive for your best and you also will continue to create a bright future.”
The following juniors earned scholarships: Gianna DeRoberts (St. Lawrence University Book Award); Nicole Henry (Clarkson University Leadership Award); Erika Brown (RIT Innovation & Creativity Scholarship Award); Emilie Hilliard (University of Rochester’s Bausch & Lomb Award); Marcus Berube (University of Rochester’s Xerox Innovation & Information Technology Award); Gabriella Allen (Wells College – 21st Century Leadership Award); Megan Hess and Olivia Thrall (Keuka College George H. Ball Community Achievement Award); Declan Hawthorne and Makayla Newvine (Elmira College Key Awards); Joshua Van Gorder and Edward Zellar (Student Sage Awards); Olivia Ripley (Rensselaer Medal Award); Kristine Rowe (Clarkson University Achievement Award); Wendy Li (University of Rochester’s Frederick Douglas & Susan B. Anthony Award); Alayna Merrill (University of Rochester’s George Eastman Young Leaders Award & Scholarship); Ashley Margrey (RIT Computing Medal & Scholarship Awards); and Mariah Sheirer (LeMoyne College Heights Award).
John C. Birdlebough High School junior scholarship winners gather for a group photo after a recent awards assembly.
The Phoenix Central School District’s Music Department celebrated its seniors during a recent farewell concert in the high school auditorium.
Embracing the theme of the evening, “On the Shoulders of those who came Before Us,” the students posthumously honored Gregory Woodruff for his contributions to the PCSD music program. Conductor Liza Grethel noted that Woodruff had a remarkable impact on Phoenix student musicians from 1980-2000.
“He touched hundreds of lives as he inspired his students with his passion for music,” Grethel said. “We honor his memory and take comfort in knowing that he will always be a part of JCB and his influence will have no end.”
With Woodruff in mind, the students performed several songs throughout the evening, interspersed with awards and recognition. The following seniors were recognized for their efforts throughout their years in the PCSD music program: Dixon Ameeele, Donovan Basile, Hali Denniston, Victoria Dievendorf, Garrett Frink, Alyssa Goudy, Trinity Green, Zoe Heckert, Nina Lewis, Christine McCarthy. Shania Meaker, Sean Sievers and Julianne Yates.
Phoenix fifth-graders recently built hovercrafts as part of a lesson in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The full-day immersive program, led by Matt Chase of The Hovercraft Project, provided students with an opportunity to work together, solve problems and build a hovercraft that carried riders from one end of the gym to the other. Sixteen teams began the day with materials to measure, cut, assemble and power the low-friction “vehicle.”
Each student had their own role to fulfill, ranging from analyzing data to serving as test pilots. They worked as a team to troubleshoot issues and apply classroom knowledge using limited resources.
Once the teams made their crafts, they lined up at one end of the gym, powered on the vehicles and with one push they were propelled across the floor.
“This is awesome!” fifth-grader Cole Bailer said as he rode his hovercraft across the gym.
“Our philosophy is learn to love to learn,” Chase said. “They are having fun and learning a ton at the same time. The math, engineering and learning pieces are right at their level. It encompasses all the learning standards.”
The Hovercraft Project was brought to the Phoenix Central School District through the Arts in Education program at the Center for Instruction, Technology & Innovation.
Physics research, earth science hypotheses and chemistry experiments were in focus during the annual Science Fair at Michael A. Maroun Elementary School.
The event was the culmination of weeks of research and hard work as students showcased their work to parents, friends, community members and a panel of judges. Participants discussed their topic and noted each step they took to prove or disprove their hypotheses.
As the judges made their way to each project, they noted how impressed they were with the students’ thoroughness and commitment beyond the regular school day.
“These students worked their way through the scientific method and came up with some interesting conclusions,” said one of the judges. “It’s obvious that all the participants put a lot of time and effort into these projects. We’re very impressed!”
The judges presented several awards to students in each grade level. Award recipients included kindergartners Wyatt Ray (first place) and Jaxon Redhead (second place); first-graders Miles Grosvent (first place) and Chloe Bowman (second place); second-graders Timothy Britt (first place) and Aaron Moore (second place); third-graders Nando Leonello (first place) and Gavin Painter (second place); and fourth-graders Rose Mullin (first place) and Aurora Rose (second place). In the team competition, Theodore Lough and Marilyn Lough came in first place while Amaya Crutchley and Giuliana Jones finished in second place.
Phoenix students recently received a multifaceted lesson as artist and storyteller Christopher Agostino brought his StoryFaces performance to Emerson J. Dillon Middle School.
With a full color palette in front of him, Agostino told several stories with Chinese and Japanese cultural roots. As he told each story, he used paint to transform students’ faces into the various scenes and characters. His stories ranged from comics to the supernatural, with some tales even based on Greek mythology.
“Some of these are 2000-year-old stories,” Agostino said. “But it’s these 2000-year-old stories that are still relevant in today’s world. These are stories of heroism. Be the hero in your own life.”
In addition to the tales of heroism, Agostino provided students with a comprehensive lesson, said art teacher Beth Pritchard.
“His sixth-grade performance was great and connected perfectly to the mask-making unit that we teach in our art curriculum! He talked about the importance of colors and icons as a way to represent symbols and meaning in art,” Pritchard said. “His stories ranged from a variety of different cultures from around the world and really made that historical connection that we talk about in class while researching for our own mask-making projects. This was a great way to incorporate everything into one presentation.”
Music was in the air at Emerson J. Dillon Middle School recently as performer Biboti Ouikahilo presented an African drumming workshop.
The multitalented artist showed off his skills and taught seventh- and eighth-graders his trade. Wearing clothes representative of his native culture in the Ivory Coast, Ouikahilo introduced students to African drumming and dance. Armed with dozens of drums made of animal skins, Ouikahilo provided students with a hands-on music lesson, as he played a set and the students followed suit, staying true to the beat and rhythm.
In addition to the drumming demonstration, Ouikahilo showed off his dancing skills. Groups of students and teachers joined in the routine as well.
The arts-in-education offering was held in conjunction with Wacheva Cultural Arts, which creates unique learning opportunities for students.
“Our purpose as a multicultural arts organization is to create programs involving different cultures where the community is able to experience an expansive understanding of many cultures and ethnic artistic traditions,” according to Wacheva Cultural Arts. “Witnessing teachers sharing their knowledge with students is like watering the garden for its survival. It’s a way to immortalize these cultures because humanity can cease to exist, but the traditions remain alive through the voice of others.”
Ten teams studied 10 books at Michael A. Maroun Elementary in hopes of being named the school’s Battle of the Books champion.
Ultimately, “The Lighting Lazers” members, coached by Rebecca Coffin, were victorious after they answered 14 of the 16 questions correctly and earned 112 points. Each team was awarded eight points when they provided the correct title and author. Five points were awarded for having the title only.
The winning fourth-graders: Michael Farnham, John Sculco and Michael Goudy, cheered in excitement with each correct response. All questions centered on intricate details of the required book list, including the book that had tops of pine trees that had been snapped, a character that was given a secret formula, a character that used the force and a rat came first.
For Farnham, the choice to join MAM’s 2018 Battle of the Books was easy.
“I just love books,” he said.
While “The Lightning Lazers” have advanced to the March 15 Oswego County Battle of the Books at John C. Birdlebough High School, “The 3 Tigers” team members stole the show with their amazing show of sportsmanship as they visited each team at the conclusion of the battle to shake hands and offer congratulatory wishes.
Each of the 30 participants received medals, purchased by the school’s parent-faculty organization. “The Lightning Lazers” also received a Battle of the Books pins, first-place trophies and PFO-paid T-shirts to wear to the county battle.
MAM Library Media Specialist Steven Terchowitz, who emceed the MAM building battle, offered gratitude on behalf of team members for all of the Battle of the Books coaches who helped keep each team on track.
MAM Battle of the Books 2018 champions, from left, are: Michael Goudy,
John Sculco and Michael Farnham, are joined by coach Rebecca Coffin,
following their first-place finish.
With a wealth of leadership experience, community service and academic excellence, John C. Birdlebough High School senior Catherine Musumeci recently climbed her way to the top of the applicant pool and earned a Coca-Cola scholarship.
The Phoenix student is no stranger to accolades, as she has earned numerous awards throughout her academic career, including the title of valedictorian of the Class of 2018. However, the Coca-Cola scholarship came as a surprise, she said, because there were so many students across the nation who applied. Of the 90,000 applicants, Musumeci was one of the 150 students selected for the prestigious scholarship.
“The application process was pretty extensive,” Musumeci said. “The initial application was basic, but the semifinalist application was more in-depth and asked for a statement of impact, two letters of recommendation and things along those lines. Then there was the regional application, which was an interview in New York City.”
For Musumeci, the extensive application process paid off in the form of a $20,000 scholarship, which she will use to pursue a biomedical engineering degree in college next year. Although she is still narrowing down her college choices – Rochester Institute of Technology, Boston University or Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute – she has already mapped out her career path.
“I’m really interested in artificial organ research,” she said. “My sister is a Type 1 diabetic, so the artificial pancreas and the bionic pancreas project that are going on are really interesting to me. I would love to be a part of those projects.”
With an eye toward the future, Musumeci is looking forward to the remainder of her high school career and continued service to the Phoenix community. She is class president, a member of the National Honor Society, serves on the Principal’s Cabinet, and participates in tennis and track.
“The leadership skills I have developed coming from a small school and a small community have been very individualized,” she said. “That will benefit me going into a big university or the world in general. Phoenix has given me so many opportunities to be successful.”
Musumeci will be honored along with the other scholarship winners in Atlanta from April 19-22, where the recipients will also participate in the Leadership Development Institute.
Five Youth Advisory Council (YAC) students from the Phoenix Central School District visited Albany on February 5 and 6 to represent Oswego County and meet with New York State senators and assemblymen at a Youth Leadership Forum sponsored by the Association of New York State Youth Bureaus.
The Youth Leadership Forum is a two-day event at the Capital, where students from all over New York State meet with Youth Bureaus and elected officials to talk about youth development and advocate for programming.
The students were able to ask questions and present the needs of their community to people like NYS Senator Patty Ritchie, NYS Assemblyman William A. Barclay and Lieutenant Governor of New York Kathy Hochul. They also participate in workshops and have the opportunity to listen to a variety of keynote speakers.
“It is a great opportunity to learn how government works and be a voice to our legislators,” said Oswego County Youth Bureau Executive Director Brian Chetney. “The students are expected to go back to their community and continue the work.”
The Phoenix Central School District students who participated in this experience were Tina Li, Olivia Lamphere, Savannah Neupert, Noah Gordon and Darren Fischel.
John C. Birdlebough High School students had a stellar showing at the recent Scholastic Art Show.
Eight students now have their artwork displayed through March 2 at the Whitney Applied Technology Center at Onondaga Community College, Syracuse, to show Central New York residents how hard they worked on their pieces. The competition’s highest honor of a gold key was awarded to JCB junior Emily Forget for her photograph titled “Sunset over Troubled Waters.” She and her Phoenix Central School District peers were among the young artists in grades 7-12 whose 1,300 pieces of art were honored.
A silvery key award was presented to Nicole Henry for her photograph of “Strategy.” Honorable mention awards were presented to Chloe Calkins for her “Repousse” painting, Kearra Backus for her “Melting Pot” designs, Emilie Hilliard for her “Light Through the Forest” work, Gabrielle Crandell for her “Under a Spotted Sun” watercolor, Marian Sheirer for her “A Midnights Bloom” work and Vanessa Rivera for her “Flower” entry.
JCB art and photography teacher Chris Barrett commended the students for their efforts, and encouraged PCSD supporters and other CNY residents to attend the free exhibit.
JCB student Emily Forget proudly kneels alongside her winning entry “Sunset over Troubled Water,” which is
displayed at the Whitney Applied Technology Center at Onondaga Community College, Syracuse, as part of the
annual Scholastic Art Show.