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.
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 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.
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
A robotics opportunity is available for Phoenix Central School District students in grades seven through 12. The team, Firebird Sprockets, will meet twice per week from September through February. Students will build robots and compete against other teams as part of the First Tech Challenge.
For more information, or to register, email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Fourth-graders in the Phoenix Central School District recently enjoyed a tradition spanning three decades as they participated in Canal Days along the Oswego River.
The 31st annual Canal Days brought students back in time to the 1800s and early 1900s, where they learned about local history, the canal system, recreational activities and tools that were used in that era. Various stations were set up where the fourth-graders could try their hand at candle making, participate in games, churn their own ice cream, use a washboard and more.
The event coincided with the students’ recent studies of the New York state canal system, which included research, reports and a videoconference with facts and information about how the canals were built.
While juniors begin to plan college visits and narrow down their future plans, some have already earned scholarships for their academic pursuits.
Nearly a dozen New York state colleges and universities recently doled out almost $600,000 in merit awards and partial tuition scholarships to Phoenix Central School District juniors who exhibited academic excellence.
The recipients were: Morgan Gravlin (St. Lawrence University Book Award); Dixon Ameele (Clarkson University Leadership Award); Alyssa Goudy (LeMoyne College Heights Award); Natalie Hart (University of Rochester’s Bausch & Lomb Award); Zoe Heckert (Wells College 21st Century Leadership Award); Alexis Hoag and Breanna Mitchell (Student Sage Awards); Haley Stellingwerf (Clarkson University Achievement Award); Catherine Musumeci (Rensselear Medal Award); Megan Maestri (University of Rochester’s Frederick Douglas & Susan B. Anthony Award); Julianne Yates (University of Rochester’s Xerox Innovation & Information Technology Award); Kaitlin White (University of Rochester’s George Eastman Young Leaders Award & Scholarship); Alisa Trudell (RIT Computing Medal and Scholarship Award); Emily McDonald (RIT Innovation and Creativity Scholarship Award); and Alexis Smith and Sean Sievers (Elmira College Key Awards).
A focus on financial literacy and savings paid dividends for Michael A. Maroun Elementary School students this year.
Since the fall, students have been involved in the Cub Saver program through Edge Federal Credit Union, where they make deposits into their accounts and learn about finances as part of the school-based program. A recent celebration honored the students who contributed deposits throughout the year, with the seven “super savers” – those who made the most consistent deposits – earning time in the cash cube.
The cash cube provided the seven students with an opportunity to enter the cube and grab up to $1,000 in 30 seconds. All the money each participant was able to grab ($802 combined) was deposited into their accounts.
“It’s not how much they save each week, it’s just about establishing that pattern of behavior,” said Edge Federal Credit Union CEO Theresa Camerino. “This is a great way to introduce students to financial literacy and teach them the importance of saving money.”
Alexa Uttamsingh and Brian Breen are humbled to represent the John C. Birdlebough High School Class of 2017 as valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively.
While natural academic, musical and social talents helped carry the pair to the top of their class, both Uttamsingh and Breen said it really was all about hard work and dedication.
“I’ve never really liked the word ‘prodigy,’” Breen said. “Words like that skip the whole portion of work that you do.”
Effort, added study sessions and a continued drive pushed Uttamsingh and Breen to success. Uttamsingh has followed in the footsteps of her sister, Olivia, who was JCB’s Class of 2015 valedictorian. Much like her sister, Alexa found a balance of her school work and extra work required to be named #1 in her class. The Class of 2017 valedictorian will attend the University of Rochester where she will study international relations before going to law school.
She reflected back on her time in the Phoenix Central School District and noted she was captivated by any class taught by social studies teacher Joan Martin. She also thanked JCB secretary Michelle Rudy for always being there for her inside and outside of school.
Uttamsingh encouraged JCB underclassmen not to get worked up or stressed about being valedictorian or salutatorian. She remained focused, studied hard, took small breaks to go to the gym, visited friends, was a lifeguard in summer months, participated in several extracurricular activities and managed to receive a weighted grade point average of 104.36.
Breen said his weighted grade point average of 104.04 was earned by studying when he had any free time. He is most proud that he received a 100 on his trigonometry Regents exam and his attendance to Conference All-State during his junior and senior year, where he played percussion both times. He has participated in marching band, jazz band, winter drumline, Tri-M Music Honor Society and Drama Club, among other extracurricular activities.
He offered the following advice to underclassmen: “Finish all of your work, even if it’s a lot.” Through hard work, he said, students may also find academic areas they unexpectedly excel in, as was the case when he attended Lisa Spereno’s English classes and discovered he enjoyed reading and writing.
Breen will attend Ithaca College for music performance and music education. He plans on being a music teacher. He thanked his mother for her unwavering support and said without her assistance and guidance he wouldn’t be where he is today.
The life skills class at Emerson J. Dillon Middle School learned about animals and the role of zookeepers as part of the “Who’s Who in the Zoo” virtual connection. Students asked questions about the different animals and discussed the habitats and eating habits of several species.
Through the videoconference, students learned about positive reinforcement training and how zookeepers use that technique with giraffes to move them from one area to another. The students were excited to simulate the training in the classroom, as one student portrayed the zookeeper and another acted as a giraffe.
The videoconference was a distance learning offering was provided by the Center for Instruction, Technology & Innovation. The service strives to bridge the gap in educational opportunities and enhance learning experiences for students, teachers and community members by providing overall program coordination services, technical support, identification of district needs and connectivity access to school districts and educational institutions.