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News and Articles for Phoenix Central School District.

MAM students compete in building book battle

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.

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.

Musumeci earns national scholarship

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.

Catherine MusumeciThe 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.

Phoenix Students Advocate for Youth Programming in Albany

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.

Five Phoenix students visit Albany to advocate for youth programming.

JCB students shine at Scholastic Art Show

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.

student emily forget kneels with her photograph which won an award

JCB student Emily Forget proudly kneels alongside her winning entry “Sunset over Troubled Water,” which is
at the Whitney Applied Technology Center at Onondaga Community College, Syracuse, as part of the
annual Scholastic Art Show.



Rotary Club Donates Dictionaries to Phoenix Third-Graders

A decade-long partnership between the Fulton Sunrise Rotary Club and the Phoenix Central School District continued this year with the annual dictionary giveaway.

Rotarians visited with third-graders to discuss the service organization and teach students how to get the most out of the dictionaries they received.

Ellen Nowyj, Fulton Sunrise Rotary Club president, thumbed through the reference material as she identified resources such as maps, the periodic table and punctuation guides. She noted it was rewarding to be able to provide dictionaries to all 141 third-grade students.

“This is likely their first reference book that they own,” Nowyj said. “They can take it home and learn so many things.”

Phoenix students’ artwork in the spotlight

Michael A. Maroun Elementary Liam Considine, Caitlyn D’Arcy, Andrea Davis, Abigail Oeinck and Emma Dates proudly display their work that was recently on exhibit during the annual New York State Art Teachers’ Association conference in Binghamton.

Art students from Michael A. Maroun Elementary School recently had their work featured in a statewide exhibit in Binghamton.

The exhibit was on display during the annual New York State Art Teachers’ Association conference and showcased student artwork across a variety of mediums. The Phoenix Central School District was well represented, as 14 students were selected to have their work featured.

“I am very proud of the student work that was shown, and I received lots of good comments on their pieces,” said art teacher Kim Kittleson.

The students whose work was on exhibit included Olivia Eastman, Liam Considine, Keegan Webster, Abigail Oeinck, Andrea Davis, Kaylynn Butler, Caitlyn D’Arcy, Ava Perfetto, Mason Morris, Cheyenne Perryman, Jackson Collier, Sadie Grethel, Jack Kocher and Emma Dates.

Polar Express rolls into Phoenix middle school

The Polar Express made its way into the Phoenix Central School District in the days before Christmas, leaving gifts and holiday cheer in its wake at Emerson J. Dillon Middle School.

EJD student Trey Barker gets a hand labeling and wrapping the gifts he picked out for his family members as part of Polar Express. Phoenix community members, teachers and administrators helped wrap gifts for the students’ families.For more than 15 years, teachers and community members have donated gifts ranging from jewelry to board games, and students then “shop” for their families. After perusing the hundreds of items, students bring the gifts to the library, where teachers and community volunteers help them wrap and label the presents.

According to EJD school psychologist Jill Lunn, who helps organize the event, Polar Express gets bigger every year. The far-reaching event impacts hundreds of students and families, with the givers often receiving the gift of giving and the holiday spirit.

Phoenix marching band defends state title

Senior members of the Phoenix Central School District’s marching band gather for a group photo to show off the hardware they earned as Small Schools 2 Class champions.

Coming off a championship season in 2016, the Phoenix Central School District’s marching band had high expectations going into this year, and their final performance at the Carrier Dome did not disappoint.

The Firebird contingent, under the director of Nick Gerling and assistant director Michelle Rudy, cruised to a state title in the Small Schools 2 Class to cap off a stellar fall season. The winning show, “Life on the Inside,” was a transformative piece that combined props and music to propel the Firebirds to the top of their division with a score of 86.4.

“It means that all of the time and effort going into what they’re doing has paid off,” Gerling said. “It’s time well spent.”

While the Phoenix marching band enjoyed its late-season success, Gerling noted that the season had some challenges along the way.

“They started off slow and steady and we really picked up speed during our third competition at West Genesee,” he said. “After that, they were improving five to six points every week. The students stayed driven and confident, but knew never to get comfortable and always stayed humble.  While the staff worked to inspire the students during practices, the students ended up inspiring us throughout the entire season too. Together we were a great team.”

Gerling said watching the students experience so much success is a testament to their commitment.

“They’re an asset to the music program. They’re dedicated, responsible, hardworking leaders of the district,” Gerling said.

Career Day introduces Phoenix students to different job sectors

Emerson J. Dillon Middle School classrooms transformed into a job fair during a career exploration event Nov. 16.

Phoenix students in fifth through eighth grades had the opportunity to attend three separate career day sessions where they met with employees and experts from a variety of fields. Representatives from healthcare, law enforcement, arts, business, architecture, technology, engineering, automotive and other job sectors were available to provide first-hand insight and advice to the students as they prepare for the future.

Clarence Bullis tries to lift the SWAT vest of Oswego County Sheriff’s Deputy Joseph Taylor. The deputy talked to students during career day about the different gear worn by law enforcement in different situations.“We have more than 40 people representing as many career fields as we can,” said EJD counselor Andrew Quirk. “For our fifth- and sixth-graders, this serves as the foundation of their exploratory search, and our seventh and eighth-graders can build on their already established skills and interests.”

The event enabled students to ask questions about specific jobs and learn more about the education and skills required of certain positions. The format of the event also allowed students to gain a thorough understanding of their desired career paths, whether it be a blue-collar or white-collar position.

“We think outside of the box and really try to bring in as many CiTi BOCES programs and local connections as we can,” Quirk said. “It’s great having current and former students come in and talk about their own experiences.”

EJD student musicians shine at state festival

From left are Emerson J. Dillon Middle School students Virginia Bednarski (trumpet), Chloe Calkins (euphonium), Lily Roberts (French horn), Alex Olschewski (percussion), Aidan Trumble (trumpet), and Sarah Andrews (tenor saxophone). The six musicians recently demonstrated their talents during the annual Junior High Area All-State Music Festival.

Six Phoenix Central School District student musicians recently demonstrated their talents during the annual Junior High Area All-State Music Festival.

Held in Cortland, students from 46 school districts statewide participated in either treble choir, mixed chorus, orchestra or concert band. The 93-member concert band was comprised, in part, of Emerson J. Dillon Middle School students Virginia Bednarski, Chloe Calkins, Lily Roberts, Alex Olschewski, Aidan Trumble and Sarah Andrews. They performed “Symphonic Overture” by Charles Carter; “Into The Raging River” by Steven Reineke; “Songs from the Heartland” by Russel Mikkelson, Lisa Galvin and Zachary Roberts; and “Musical Haiku #14 Never Forgotten” by Stephen Melillo.

“Phoenix is very proud to be the third largest district represented in this year’s band,” said EJD band teacher David Frateschi. “The Phoenix Central School Music Department is also very proud to be included in the National Association for Music Education’s top 100 schools in America for Music Education for the 2016-17 school year. Special thanks go out to the Phoenix administration team and the board of education for their continued support of our students here in Phoenix.”