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News and Articles for Phoenix Central School District.


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.


Hurd scholarships provides $50,000 to Phoenix graduates

The 2017 John C. Birdlebough High School commencement ceremony marked a milestone for all graduates and it served as an especially memorable experience for Ryan Luke and Breanna Backus.

Seated among their classmates during the ceremony, their names were announced as the recipients of the Robert & Roberta Hurd Scholarship. Luke received a $40,000 award, while Backus earned a $10,000 secondary scholarship.

The awards were part of a nearly $1 million bequest gift from the Hurds, alumni of Phoenix schools who wanted to give back to the community after they passed away.

“The Hurds were amazing people,” said Wyatt Parker, a JCB graduate who was the recipient of the inaugural scholarship in 2015. “They lived in a community that they loved, and that loved them back. (This scholarship) will hopefully inspire future recipients to reach for the dreams they may not have been able to grasp otherwise.”

Award recipients must fall within the top 15 percent scholastic rating of his or her class. The recipient should also demonstrate some level of financial need and show moral values reflected by personal action and respect for family members, fellow students, teachers and the community. Each scholarship will be paid in equal yearly installments over four years if the students remain enrolled in college and in good standing.


Hurd Scholarships Provide Financial Boost for Phoenix Grads

Two Phoenix Central School District graduates began their freshmen semesters this fall with a financial boost from the Robert & Roberta Hurd Scholarship Fund.

Alex Brutcher and Morgan Stobart, members of the John C. Birdlebough Class of 2016, were the recipients of the scholarship. Brutcher received $40,000 to continue his education at Ithaca College, while Stobart was awarded $10,000 for tuition at Clarkson University.

The awards are part of a nearly $1 million bequest gift from the Hurds, alumni of Phoenix schools who wanted to give back to the community long after they passed away. Although Robert and Roberta graduated more than 70 years ago, their love of Phoenix and appreciation of their education journey left a lasting impact, which Brutcher and Stobart can attest to.


Phoenix Student Sadoski receives National Football Foundation Award

Phoenix Central School District student Mike Sadoski recently was the recipient of the National Football Foundation Scholar Athlete Award.

This award was recognized at an annual dinner sponsored by the National Football Foundation. Every athlete inducted received a $500 scholarship and a free tuxedo to wear to the event.

Sadoski was a captain of the 2015 Phoenix Firebirds football team and displayed his leadership qualities both offensively and defensively. He was second on the team in rushing with 643 yards and second in tackles with 73 tackles. He also received second team defensive honors.

Academically, Sadoski has a 94 percent overall grade point average, and he hopes to attend Clarkson University next fall to study mechanical engineering.

Previous years’ Phoenix National Football Foundation inductees include: Dustin Blumer (2015), Dylan Doupe (2014), Cruce Jones (2013) and Ben Ewald (2012). 

 
 Phoenix student Mike Sadoski receives a National Football Foundation Scholar
 Athlete Award. From left to right: Phoenix Athletic Director Steve Musso, Head
Coach Chad Rowe, Mike Sadoski and Assistant Head Coach Mike Libertone.

Generosity of former students provides large scholarship in Phoenix

Phoenix Central School graduates will soon have a new opportunity to help pay for college thanks to a large scholarship fund 21 years in the making.

After the March 2014 passing of Roberta Hurd, a graduate of the Class of 1939, the Robert & Roberta Hurd Scholarship Fund was established with a bequest gift to the Central New York Community Foundation (CNYCF) – totaling upward of $1 million.

When Robert, a graduate of the 1938 class, passed away three months prior to the couple’s 50th wedding anniversary in 1992, Roberta reached out to establish a scholarship fund in her husband’s memory. According to CNYCF, Roberta transferred a $500,000 life insurance policy in her name to the foundation and established a charitable remainder trust, which will help the fund grow larger at a later date.

The fund will award a $40,000 scholarship to a graduating senior. The award will be paid at $10,000 per year over four years if the student remains enrolled in college and in good standing. This is the largest private scholarship ever awarded through the Phoenix Central School District.

The Community Foundation recently informed district officials of the gift, and officials were both surprised and thrilled when informed of the new opportunity for their students.

“This generous gift is incredibly meaningful for our students who face financial barriers to college, and validating to us as a community because it came from former students,” said Judy Belfield, Superintendent of Phoenix Central School District. “Though Robert and Roberta graduated more than 70 years ago, their love of Phoenix and appreciation of their education journey left an impression that motivated them to give back in a big way.”

Roberta requested that the scholarship be awarded to a student who falls within the top 15 percent scholastic rating of his or her class, meaning that approximately 22 students will be eligible for each year’s single award. Roberta also established that the recipient should demonstrate some level of financial need and show moral values reflected by personal action and respect for family members, fellow students, teachers and the community.

“The Phoenix Central School District is a leader among local districts in student engagement with community volunteerism.” said Belfield. “We have students who log more than 500 donated hours during their high school careers. This award will allow us to honor some of those selfless students.”

Roberta and Robert led fairly modest lives. Robert worked as a tool and die maker and Roberta worked her entire life as an accountant first for American Woolen Mills in Fulton and then General Electric. They remembered fondly their days in the Phoenix schools where they met. Both believed strongly in the importance of a good education and were thankful for their Phoenix school experiences.


Phoenix High School juniors earn accolades

Phoenix High School juniors recently earned scholarships recognizing them for their leadership, innovation, community involvement, problem-solving abilities and academic achievement. In front, from left, are Taylor Chesboro, Emma Brunell, Emilie Schneider, Finella Campanino, Olivia Uttamsingh, Ashley Centner, Hannah Lees, Delaine May and Abigail Ewald. In back, from left, are Jacqueline Greer, Andrew Smith, Shaun Turner, Wyatt Parker, Benjamin Bulgrien and Justin Ross.

Graduating seniors at John C. Birdlebough High School were not the only students to earn academic recognition and scholarships during year-end ceremonies, as 15 junior classmen received major financial awards as well.

“These are pretty prestigious awards,” said JCB Principal Greg Molloy during an assembly June 13. “This is an awful lot of money – some (scholarships) are worth $40,000. You’ve worked hard and deserve these awards.”

Molloy praised the students for their efforts and presented the following financial awards: St. Lawrence University Book Award – Taylor Chesboro; Clarkson University Leadership Award – Benjamin Bulgrien; LeMoyne College Heights Award – Jacqueline Greer; University of Rochester Xerox Innovation and Information Technology Award – Ashley Centner; Wells College 21st Century Leadership Award – Emma Brunell; RIT Computing Medal and Scholarship Award: Finella Campanino and Justin Ross; Student Sage Award – Abigail Ewald and Delaine May; University of Rochester Frederick Douglas and Susan B. Anthony Award – Emilie Schneider;  University of Rochester  Bausch and Lomb Award – Olivia Uttamsingh; University of Rochester  George Eastman Young Leaders Award and Scholarship – Shaun Turner; Clarkson University Achievement Award – Andrew Smith; Elmira College Key Award – Hannah Lees; Rensselaer Medal Award – Wyatt Parker.


Twenty-five JCB students inducted into National Honor Society

More than two dozen John C. Birdlebough High School students joined elite company on Dec. 17, as their service, scholarship, leadership and character were recognized with induction into the National Honor Society.

“An honor such as this is a wonderful way for the school and community to recognize and celebrate the choices and sometimes the sacrifices you have made,” said National Honor Society Adviser Angela Neiss.  “I’m looking forward to working with each and every one of you throughout the next school year.”

The 25 inductees joined 33 current National Honor Society members, who celebrate scholarly achievement and service to the community through several initiatives during the school year. According to Neiss, members help organize blood drives, serve Thanksgiving dinner to the less fortunate, participate in an Earth Day community cleanup and volunteer for a variety of activities.



John C. Birdlebough High School Principal Greg Molloy, Superintendent Judy Belfield and National Honor Society Adviser Angela Neiss congratulate one of the 25 new NHS members during the induction ceremony Dec. 17.

It is this kind of service that keynote speaker Joanna Young, JCB’s instrumental teacher, cited as a critical component of National Honor Society membership. “Students have concerned themselves with the welfare and well-being of their fellow classmates and society as a whole,” Young said. “Their actions as leaders will be models for others to follow, both in school and around the community. The leaders of this generation of students will have to be more resourceful than ever to shape their own lives and the lives of others around them. “

Principal Greg Molloy told the inductees that their actions have not only dictated their membership in the honor society, but will also serve as a foundation for who they will become as adults. “As I reviewed the recommendations written on your behalf, it was evident that you are all victors; not to be confused with victims,” Molloy said. “As victors, you are described as responding to life’s circumstances with care and selflessness, versus the victims, who react with vengeance and selfishness.”

Molloy said the victors’ perspective was full of “ands” compared to the victims’, which is filled with “buts.” He encouraged the inductees to continue being victors and leaders in the community and to avoid taking shortcuts.

With encouraging words from the speakers, the inductees took the National Honor Society pledge and Superintendent Judy Belfield presented each with a pin signifying their membership.

New members include Kellen Arnold, MacKenzie Berube, Alexis Bowering, Marisa Dona, Mike Doran, Chris Fisk, Nicole Fitzgerald, Matti Gleason, Sarah Hoag, Jordan Jock, Jessica Jones, Meghan Lees, Chris Nicolella, Meghan Rowe, Michael Sadoski, Jonathan Schmidt, Austin Scruton, Andrew Smith, Morgan Stobart, Zack VanGorder, Abby Venskus, Derick White, Caroline Woodside, Ryan Wranesh and Jolene Zaia.