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.
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.
Budding entrepreneurs from John C. Birdlebough High School recently showcased their business savvy during the Central New York DECA competition at LeMoyne College.
The competition featured high school students from across the region as they demonstrated knowledge and delivered presentations focusing on marketing, finance, hospitality and management. For the 26 JCB participants, the event proved to be a valuable learning experience and provided a chance for the students to interact with their peers from other schools.
The Phoenix contingent took home several top honors, including first place finishes by Josh Margrey and Noah Neverette (travel and tourism category) and Bailey Otter (business finance); a second-place finish by Garrett Watkins (principles of business management); and third-place finishes by Cade Reed (public speaking) and Jordon Cole (retail merchandising).
The Phoenix Central School District has some blooming artistic talent in their fourth-graders.
Students from four different classes voluntarily spend their lunch period in Kathleen Lambert’s art room working on a variety of different independent projects.
Lambert said students either eat their lunch as they work or eat their lunch as fast as they can so that they have more time to work.
“It’s a lot of fun!” says fourth grade Ragan Baker.
Students became artists at Emerson J. Dillon Middle School recently when renowned Indian folk artist Rani Jha stopped by for a demonstration.
Jha, who was visiting America for the first time, discussed the history of Mithila painting. She told students that the artwork was once created by women on the walls of their houses. Today it is an art form that has been reimagined as a way to raise awareness about contemporary social issues, she said.
Natalie King watches as Mithila artist Rani Jha shows students tricks of the trade during a recent visit to Emerson J. Dillon Middle School art classes.
For the sixth-graders in Beth Pritchard’s art class at EJD, the visiting artist provided much more than an educational discussion about Mithila painting, as students created their own Mithila work under Jha’s tutelage.
“Children learn fast, they’re like a blank sheet of paper,” Jha said, noting that the student artwork was excellent.
Jha’s visit was part of an Oswego County BOCES Arts in Education initiative, which is a service that coordinates a wide variety of artists, authors, and character education speakers who can introduce students to new cultures, creativity, and ideas to help them broaden their perspective on the world.
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.