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 chapter of Dollars for Scholars recently awarded more than $30,000 in scholarships to members of the John C. Birdlebough High School Class of 2018.
Chapter President Wendy Dunnigan welcomed students, friends, family and community members to the annual awards night in the high school auditorium. She congratulated the recipients and thanked everyone who contributed to the scholarships.
“For 33 years, we’ve been recognizing outstanding Phoenix students for their academic achievement and community service,” Dunnigan said. “I would like to congratulate all of you, you are all well-deserving of these scholarships.”
Emcee Katherine Bechard also lauded the 31 recipients for their contributions to the greater Phoenix community. She noted the scholarship winners were “committed, thoughtful and persevering,” and encouraged them to continue exhibiting those traits in the future.
“Don’t limit your challenges, but challenge your limits,” she said.
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.
With a focus on making positive choices, students in the Phoenix Central School District recently wrapped up Red Ribbon Week with a guest speaker whose inspirational message left a powerful impact.
Jeff Yalden, a nationally renowned speaker, met with students at the middle school and high school to share his uplifting message and encourage positive life choices. He told his story as someone who battles mental illness and has overcome many obstacles on his road to self-discovery. That road, Yalden said, was paved with self-esteem, ownership and perseverance.
“I am a man with a mental illness, but I’m not a victim,” Yalden said. “Don’t ever play that card. Every single day you’re responsible for your attitude and your choices.”
Yalden shared personal stories of his family and his experiences as a father, a coach and motivational speaker. He focused on his journey to achieve happiness.
“Life is not about perfection; it’s about progress,” Yalden said. “Happiness comes from you. Stop waiting to be validated by your parents, teachers or coaches. Whatever you do in life, it starts with you.”
Principal Thomas Bailer noted that Yalden’s no-nonsense, “tell it like it is” presentation seemed to resonate with the John C. Birdlebough High School students. He encouraged the students to absorb Yalden’s message.
“There’s always an opportunity to make a positive change,” Bailer said.
Phoenix Central School District teachers opened their classroom doors and welcomed families and students during recent open houses.
Emerson J. Dillon Middle School kicked off the open house events Sept. 13 as teachers and faculty members met with families and answered questions. Students showcased their work and gave their parents a tour of the building as well.
Following a successful open house at EJD, pre-K through fourth-grade students had a chance to show off their class projects at Michael A. Maroun Elementary on Sept. 20.
Hundreds of students and their parents and siblings gathered at the elementary school for the event. The hallways featured artwork, poetry, mathematics problems and other student projects. As students eagerly displayed their work, teachers noted they were looking forward to seeing the students’ progress throughout the year.
At the high school, open house was held Oct. 5, and students took their parents from classroom to classroom following their daily bell schedule. Guidance counselors, building administrators and teachers were on hand to answer questions and provide information regarding the extracurricular activities available to students.
After nearly 15 years as a social studies teacher for the Phoenix Central School District, longtime teacher Helen Abbott is getting acclimated to a different role this year.
Abbott began a position as the academic dean at John C. Birdlebough High School for the 2017-2018 year. Her familiarity with the students and faculty, combined with her passion for the greater Phoenix area, has made the transition a seamless one, Abbott said.
“I like working with the students and staff,” she said. “Phoenix is an amazing community, and I love being part of this community.”
Abbott noted that there have been changes to the Response to Intervention and Information and Communication Technologies initiatives provided at the high school. These changes, she said, will require additional support from a variety of personnel, but that is a challenge she is ready to tackle.
“I am looking forward to working with and supporting students and teachers in these areas,” Abbott said.
As a member of the Phoenix Central School District community, you can make a difference in the lives of local high school students. Phoenix Dollars for Scholars is proud of its tradition of providing financial assistance to our high school seniors. With almost all of our dollars raised going directly to scholarship funds, your contribution is vital to the ongoing success of Phoenix DFS.
In 2017, the Phoenix Dollars for Scholars awarded scholarships to more than 40 students totaling almost $50,000. This was possible thanks to generous contributions from community members like you. DFS Scholarship recipients are ambitious young adults who have demonstrated an ability to strike a balance between academic achievement, extra-curricular activities, family and social obligations, and community service involvement, among many other personal attributes. With the Class of 2017 launched, DFS is eager to focus on the upcoming graduating class.
The fundraising campaign for the Class of 2018 scholarships is now underway. Your tax-deductible contributions will allow us to recognize local students for their past achievements and support them in their future educational endeavors. Phoenix Dollars for Scholars is in their 31st year of this volunteer-driven organization dedicated to supporting deserving Phoenix students in their collegiate pursuits
As John C. Birdlebough High School seniors prepare for the next chapter of their lives, many received a financial boost during the annual scholarship and awards night.
The Phoenix chapter of Dollars for Scholars presented more than $46,000 in scholarships to members of the graduating class. Additionally, several privately funded awards were given to graduates who met specific criteria, ranging from high academic achievement to strong leadership and citizenship.
“We would like to thank our volunteers for all their generous contributions,” said Dollars for Scholars President Wendy Dunnigan.
JCB guidance counselor Paul Hurlbutt, who served as emcee for the evening, echoed those sentiments and lauded the students for their achievements. He noted that the accomplishments were a reflection on the recipient, his or her family, the school district and the community.
“It’s a pleasure to work with these young men and women,” Hurlbutt said. “I applaud them and all of you who continually support them as they grow and leave a lasting impact on everyone they meet.”
Juniors and seniors in the Phoenix Central School District received a sobering lesson during a recent mock DWI presentation.
Every-other year, in the weeks leading up to prom and before summer break, the district teams with the Oswego County STOP DWI program to teach high school students about the dangers of drunken and distracted driving. This year, students learned about the legal and personal ramifications of impaired driving.
“Twenty-eight people a day die from impaired drivers,” said Bob Lighthall, the Oswego County STOP DWI coordinator. “If you go out and decide to drink, make sure you have a plan. We don’t want to have any empty chairs on graduation day.”
In addition to staging a fatal DWI crash, local first-responders were on scene to provide a realistic portrayal of the death notification, the court process, and the lasting impact on all family members and friends.
“The decisions you make have lifelong consequences,” said Oswego County District Attorney and coroner Greg Oakes. “Impaired driving related deaths are foreseeable and avoidable. Have a plan to get home safely.”
Following the presentation, students had an opportunity to ask questions and were provided with additional resources related to impaired and distracted driving.
Climate change was in focus during the annual Earth Science Honors Research Symposium held May 4 at John C. Birdlebough High School.
Susan Sharp’s sophomore honors students presented in-depth research projects to an audience of family and friends. The presentations detailed a variety of issues related to global warming and explored ways to reduce our carbon footprint.
“Carbon dioxide and other gases that warm the air are increasing faster today than any other period,” students explained.
Each student discussed the impact of climate change and concluded their research with an oral presentation. Sophomores Grace Arnold, Hailey Goudy, Tina Li, Sarah Thorn, Theresa Uhl and Grace Vestigo earned medals for their research, while the Principal’s Choice Award went to Savannah Neupert for her overall presentation titled, “How Does Climate Change Influence Natural Disasters?”
“As I watched each presentation, I was very proud of them,” Sharp said. “They’re working at the college level and they have really accomplished a tremendous amount.”