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.
John C. Birdlebough High School seniors were recently named Battle of the Classes champions for embodying school spirit.
The annual event is the culmination of a yearlong effort of the freshmen, sophomore, junior and senior classes to become more involved in school activities and to give back to the community. Each class received points throughout the year for student involvement in volunteer activities and school functions. Those points were combined with points earned in the Battle of the Classes physical competition, which were calculated to determine the overall winner.
Both the winter guard and drumline offered stellar performances before teachers from each grade level competed in games, earning points for their classes. Students remained in their respective separated class sections in the JCB gymnasium as they cheered on class representatives who participated in challenges such as a scooter race, a partner relay and tug-of-war.
Headed into the final battle, the freshmen class trailed the seniors by only eight points. Several students showed their Firebird pride as they cheered teammates and teachers to victory, but it was the senior class that edged out its competition with a total 49 points and received the coveted Battle of the Classes trophy.
JCB Seniors, pictured below, celebrate their Battle of the Classes win as they raise up the coveted championship trophy.
The dynasty continues for the Phoenix Central School District’s cheerleading team, which took home its 13th consecutive Section III Class B title during a recent competition.
Surrounded by parents, school officials and friends, the Firebirds scored a 97.3 during its championship-winning routine held at Oriskany High School. While the final routine proved to be a success, the journey to the title was marked by hard work, dedication and overcoming adversity, according to cheerleading coach Jackie Guglielmo.
“This championship is a reflection of all the behind-the-scenes work the team has done all season long,” Guglielmo said. “They are very talented, they work hard, and they deserved this. It’s a huge accomplishment.”
For senior captains Haley Davie and Abigail Ewald, the banner season was worth the countless hours of practice. “We put a lot of work into it and we really pushed for it all season long,” Davie said. "We nailed our final routine, which was a relief because we had such a bad warmup right before that. But, we got together, talked it out, and everything just clicked.”