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Phoenix, NY 13135
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News and Articles for Phoenix Central School District.

Senator Ritchie visits JCB to discuss leadership

The Student Leadership group at John C. Birdlebough High School in the Phoenix Central School District recently hosted a luncheon for Senator Patty Ritchie as a way to honor the senator for her exemplary leadership qualities.

Upon her arrival at the school, Ritchie was greeted by Superintendent Judy Belfield, Assistant Principal Patrick Fitch and several students within the Student Leadership group.

According to Belfield, the district was “thrilled” to have Ritchie stop by and discuss with students the importance of leadership.

“We were thrilled that Senator Ritchie could take time out of her very busy schedule to visit JCB,” Belfield said. “Our Student Leadership group had an opportunity to learn about leadership and service to the community firsthand from one of our New York State Senators.”

Ritchie met with the entire Student Leadership group and together they discussed the virtues and characteristics quality leaders possess. The class then presented Ritchie with a certificate thanking her for the leadership and dedication to the community.

District Administrators also took the senator’s visit as an opportunity to thank her for a recent $5,000 donation to help upgrade district security measures. Belfield said the senator’s donation was greatly appreciated.

“Over the last five years our district has lost over $11 million in NYS aid due in to the Gap Elimination Adjustment. Our budgets have been extremely tight,” Belfield said. “We had been investigating using the Raptor System, which does a quick background check on visitors entering our buildings during the day. With the added funds, we were able to purchase the software and components of the Raptor System.”

Belfield said the security system will be implemented as soon as office staff is trained.

According to social studies teacher Carol Blackburn, the senator’s donation showcases the leadership qualities the Student Leadership group was honoring.

“It just so happens that the donation she made to the district definitely showed the leadership qualities the students were honoring,” Blackburn said. “It is a great opportunity for the students to see our elected officials and an equally great opportunity for the senator to see all of the great things our students are up to.”

Senator Patty Ritchie recently visited JCB High School, and
administration and staff members took the opportunity to
thank the senator for her recent $5,000 donation to boost
district security. Pictured from left, social studies teacher
Carol Blackburn, JCB Assistant Principal Patrick Fitch,
Senator Ritchie and School Resources Officer Ellie Brown.

Michael A Maroun Students Send Holiday Cheer to Seniors

Michael A Maroun Elementary students present handmade cards to the police department who will hand them out to seniors in the community. 

Phoenix Students Come Together for Local Food Drive

John C Birdlebough high school students pack boxes of food for the annual food drive at the fire department. Donations were collected from each school in the district to help those in need during the holiday season.

JCB students showcase musical talent at winter concert

Students at John C. Birdlebough High School put on quite a show at a recent winter concert that featured both band and vocal ensembles.

The joint concert, which was well attended by family members and friends of the performers, featured the school’s percussion ensemble, symphonic band, concert chorus and wind ensemble, as well as chamber sings and combined choirs. Each ensemble brought a different set of skills to the concert, showcasing the variety of music programs the school has to offer.

The wind ensemble performed a breathtaking rendition of music from “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and “The Polar Express.” Directed by David Frateschi, the ensemble received thunderous applause at the end of their session.

The combined bands and choirs concluded the evening by performing “A Christmas Festival,” and received a standing ovation from the packed crowd.

Members of the concert chorus at John C. Birdlebough High School
perform before a packed crowd at a recent Winter Concert.
The JCB wind ensemble received high praise after performing music
from “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and “The Polar Express.”


Fifth and sixth-grade winter concert provides evening of enjoyment in Phoenix

Student musicians from Emerson J. Dillon Middle School recently took the stage for a winter concert that kept the audience entertained from start to finish.


Fifth and sixth-grade band and chorus members performed a handful of holiday music ranging from classics such as “Carol of the Bells” to lesser-known songs like “Jolly Alto Saxophones.” Under the direction of Liza Grethel, the fifth-grade band set the tone for the evening as they performed several warm-up exercises and a “Jingle Bells” number that drew loud applause from the audience.

With the holiday theme set, the fifth and sixth-grade chorus kept the mood going with “What Child is This,” “The Winter’s a Drag Rag” and “Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah.” Capping off the evening of music was the sixth-grade band’s winter and holiday-inspired lineup, which brought the standing-room-only crowd to its feet.

Phoenix Seventh and Eighth Grade Winter Band/Chorus Concert

 Phoenix eighth grade band puts on a wonderful winter concert directed by James DeMauro.
Phoenix seventh grade band plays “Santa’s Rockin’ Holiday Mix” at winter concert performance. 
Phoenix seventh and eighth grade chorus member Ethan Remington sings his solo to “This Little Light of Mine” at the holiday concert, directed by Shirley Kelly. 

Third-graders perform holiday concert at MAM

In front of hundreds of family members and friends, third grade students at Michael A. Maroun Elementary School recently performed a holiday concert.

Under the direction of music teachers Carol Van Gorder and Jody Lentz, students sang a handful of holiday-themed songs in front of a packed crowd. According to Lentz, a lot of preparation had to go into hosting the concert.

MAM students recently performed a holiday concert and received a
standing ovation.

“We chose the program months in advance and started teaching the songs at the end of September,” Lentz said. “We collaborated to create choreography, speaking parts and the concert program.”

In order to put on the concert, each third grade student had to learn all of the music during their weekly scheduled music time and had to have dress rehearsals with the entire class on stage three times prior to the concert.

Lentz said she was extremely happy with the turnout for the concert, even with heavy snows falling outside.

“The Phoenix community doesn’t let the weather get in the way of enjoying a concert performed by their children,” Lentz said. “We are always so appreciative of their support for our music programs. We are also grateful for the generosity in our community.”


Phoenix Graduate Plays Drums with Keith Urban

One of our talented graduates Kayleigh Moyer played drums LIVE on CMT’s Artist of the Year awards show Dec. 2 with Keith Urban! Click here to see the video!

EJD students host Thanksgiving feast

Students in Carol Touron’s class at Emerson J. Dillon Middle School recently learned first-hand just how sweet hard work can really be.

In an effort to showcase thankfulness, appreciation, and of course food, students helped prepare, cook and serve a Thanksgiving feast for family members and friends.

To prepare for the feast, students mixed the ingredients necessary to make pumpkin pies, sliced apples for apple pies and skinned and mashed several pounds of potatoes.  The hard work the students put into cooking paid off one day later, as each student was afforded the opportunity to invite one guest to attend the feast.

Parents, students and teachers gathered around the dinner table prior to the meal to share one thing they were thankful for, giving true meaning to the celebration. 

Chris Byrne, the executive director of Instruction, Personnel
and Educational Services for the Phoenix Central School District,
enjoys a Thanksgiving feast with EJD student Dominic Germain
and his father Rene Germain.

John C Birdlebough Sends 11 Students to Area All State

Phoenix John C Birdlebough High School was proud to have 11 students selected to participate in the NYS School Music Association’s annual Area All State Music Festival, hosted at Oswego High School this year.

Students were selected to either the band, the chorus or the orchestra based on their previous year’s solo festival scores and teacher recommendations.  

According to www.nyssma.org:

“A successful All-State experience depends on a number of factors: talented and well prepared soloists; careful attention and utilization of the NYSSMA Manual; tireless efforts of the All-State Chairs and Assistant Chairs; an exceptionally experienced, dedicated and responsible team of NYSSMA Chaperones; the finest conductors available; music that is of the highest quality; and almost 900 All-State Musicians who are thoroughly prepared to have an experience of a lifetime!”

Phoenix members of the Area All-State Orchestra were: Joshua Margrey on timpani, Derick White on French horn and Ryan Luke on mallets. Phoenix members of the Area All-State Band were: Brain Breen on flute, Mattingly Gleason on Oboe, Rachel Isbel on clarinet, Jacob Nicolini on trumpet, Daniel Knowlton on trumpet, Benjamin Bulgrien on tuba and James Howe on tuba. Zachary VanGorder participated in the Area All-State Chorus as a tenor vocalist.



John C Birdlebough High School sends 11 students to the Area All State Music Festival.  Bottom Row: Derick White, Rachel Isbell, Ryan Luke and Daniel Knowlton. Middle Row: Brian Breen, Joshua Margrey, Zachary VanGorder and Benjamin Bulgrien. Top Row: Mattingly Gleason, James Howe and Jacob Nicloini.