116 Volney St.
Phoenix, NY 13135
FAX: (315) 695-1201 (315) 695-1573 E -mail: info@phoenixcsd.org




News and Articles for Phoenix Central School District.

Phoenix Marching Band wins state title

Hard work and commitment paid off for the Phoenix Central School District Marching Band, which took home the state title during Sunday’s competition at the Carrier Dome.

Under the direction of Nick Gerling, assistant director Michelle Rudy and a talented staff, the band competed against eight other teams in the Small Schools 2 Class. Phoenix scored an 86.95, edging out Mineola by a little more than a point to capture the championship.

“It was spectacular,” Rudy said of the performance.

The marching band is comprised of 67 Phoenix Central School District students who practice throughout the summer, perform at the New York State Fair and attend camps to hone their skills leading up to the prestigious state competition held annually at the Dome.

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 students participate in community CROP Walk

Students in the Phoenix Central School District joined forces with members of the community on Oct. 5 to raise funds to help fight hunger as part of the annual CROP Walk.

The event, sponsored by Church World Service, was a united effort among students, staff, local churches and community groups, according to PCSD physical education teacher Angie Neiss. There were 15 high school National Honor Society members and 17 middle school Junior Honor Society members who participated in the 2-mile walk throughout the village of Phoenix. In addition to the honor society representatives who walked, dozens of other students showed their support by making donations.

“The total raised by both organizations was approximately $850,” Neiss said, noting that she was proud of the students’ efforts.

National Honor Society students volunteer their time to various organizations and charities as part of their service to the community.

Michael A. Maroun Elementary Fourth-Graders Nail Take-Home Project

Michael A. Maroun Elementary fourth-graders in Tim McMonagle’s and Cheri Iannotti’s class blew teachers away with their creative take-home projects relating to the Iroquois nation that they learned about in class.

The project was a blended learning approach between English Language Arts and Social Studies and was a completely independent, student-generated assignment done at home.

“They needed to be able to explain to their classmates what it is that they did for their project, how it connects to the Iroquois and what the importance was to the Iroquois,” said Mrs. Iannotti.

Some students innovatively collected leaves, sticks and stones and used recycled materials for their projects. Jonathon Burgess painted a picture of the Iroquois “Tree of Peace.”

“The four roots at the bottom are north, south, east and west welcoming others to the Iroquois land,” said Burgess, “And the eagle at the top is to watch over the Iroquois and warn of danger.”


Pictured left to right, Michael A. Maroun Elementary students Lillian Maty, Sheriden Southwortch, Chase Bacon, Anthony Harrison, Jonathon Burgess and Dylan Jones showcase their fourth grade take-home projects relating to their learning of Iroquois Native American culture for English Language Arts and Social Studies.

EJD holds ‘Spirit Day’ to teach the value in school spirit

Laughter and joy echoed throughout the halls of Emerson J. Dillon Middle School recently, as the building held its annual “Spirit Day” to start up the new school year and reinforce the importance of school spirit.

For Spirit Day, each grade of students was split into teams based on colors, with an objective of showcasing school spirit in a respectful and responsible way. Students wore bracelets, hats, beads and shirts in their color to show support for their team.

Students then congregated in the school’s gymnasium, where a rally was held to give students a chance to square-off for some friendly competition. The rally began with students from each team parading banners around the gym and ended with a dodgeball tournament.

Pictured from left, students Maggie Lee
Basile, Hannah Root and Caroline Harrington
carry a banner as part of the celebration.
Thunderous cheering and bubbling laughter filled the gym during the dodgeball games, especially when EJD staff members began to dodge the colored balls. Each time a teacher was eliminated, the student body would let out a collective cheer of approval.

“My favorite part was definitely the dodgeball tournament,” said student Caitlin George, secretary of the Dillon Way Student Council. “It was fun to play and watching the teachers play was too hysterical. Everyone was able to participate who wanted to, so I think it was a big success.”

During the assembly, students also learned about “Dillon Dot Tickets,” which are given by staff members throughout the school year to students who show respect and responsibility.

Overall, English teacher Nicole George said the day was a huge success.

“Students left excited about dot tickets and being a part of a team, and the wonderful staff at EJD was also excited to start rewarding students for showing the ‘Dillon Way.’ A great start to the year,” George said.

JCB juniors to hold craft show

Phoenix Central School District’s junior class will be holding a craft show from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 11 at John C. Birdlebough High School.

More than 50 vendors will set up shop at the event. Items such as jewelry, scarves, Tupperware, scented candles, recycled glassware, seasonal decorations, purses and a lot more homemade items will be for sale. All proceeds from the craft show will benefit the junior class.

Parents learn about student expectations at JCB open house

A mixture of students, parents, teachers and administrators filled the halls of John C. Birdlebough High School on Sept. 25 for the school’s open house.

Principal Gregory Molloy, who greeted students and parents as they entered the building, said the event allows parents to see what their students will be learning and get a feel for what their children experience every day.

Pictured from left, students Alex Toole, Alexis 

Gabriele, Nicholas Bernard, Kea Corey (kneeling),
Briana Neiss (Kneeling), Olivia Uttamsigh, Ashley
Centner, Alyssa Froio and Mikaila Mills surround
Principal Gregory Molloy during the open house.

“It’s a great opportunity to start building an educational partnership between the school and parents,” he said.


 Molloy said the open house helps to create lines of communication between parents and teachers, which helps bridge the gap between what students learn in the classroom and what they’re able to retain at home.

 “This certainly creates those lines of communication so parents can communicate and know how to get a hold of their teachers,” he said. “Then they kind of know what the protocol and expectations are, so they can reinforce those concepts at home.”

Phoenix elementary students embrace positivity

Students at Michael A. Maroun Elementary School kicked off the school year with an assembly that promoted positive behavioral traits.

The Show of Love, presented by Joe Trionfero, was an infusion of music with kindness as the overarching theme.  Teachers, students and administrators joined forces during the character education program as they listened to songs and learned about respect, responsibility and friendship.

“This sets the stage for the entire year,” said MAM Principal Mary Stanton. “We renamed our hallways this year to reflect these important traits. It reinforces the idea of perseverance, respect, character and so many other important qualities.”


The cafeteria at Michael A. Maroun Elementary
 School was abuzz with music, positivity and laughter
during Joe Trionfero’s recent character education
assembly. Above, students raise their hands to answer
questions about the behavioral expectations within
the school building.

College representatives to visit JCB

Dozens of college representatives will be visiting John C. Birdlebough High School this fall to pitch their institutions to interested senior classmen.

The Guidance Department recently released a schedule of visits, and students will have an array of higher education officials to talk to during the coming months. According to JCB guidance counselors, the visits provide seniors with an opportunity to ask questions about a particular college or university. During the visit, representatives from each school will discuss the academic offerings, extracurricular activities, the admissions process and other important topics that may influence a student’s decision to attend a particular college.

Students are encouraged to view the schedule here and visit the guidance office to obtain a pass for the day of the visit. 

Phoenix Central School District Staff Recognized for Years of Service

Many teachers and staff were recognized for their 15 to 40 years of service with the Phoenix Central School District (PCSD) on Faculty and Staff Opening Day, Sept. 2.

Superintendent Judy Belfield awarded pins of recognition to each of the 53 employees as they approached the front of the auditorium. If all the years of dedication from these staff members were added together, it would equal 995 years.

The following are recognized for their years of service with the PCSD:

15 Years of Service:

Robyn Abbott                                    Teacher Aide, MAM

Jennifer Astafan                                Teaching Assistant, EJD

Alice Benjamin                                  Physical Ed. Teacher, MAM

Amy Bonnier                                      5th Grade Science Teacher, EJD

Heather Cannella                             2nd Grade Teacher, MAM

James Demauro                                Music Teacher, EJD

Ron Falise                                          Teaching Assistant, EJD

Patrick Fitch                                       Assistant Principal, JCB

Tracey Ford                                        French Teacher, EJD

Bob Halstead                                     Head Custodian, EJD

Janelle Matlock                                 5th Grade ELA Teacher, EJD

Lynn McCaffrey                                5th Grade ELA Teacher, EJD

Gail Middleton                                  Teaching Assistant, JCB

Gene Mills                                          Physical Ed. Teacher, JCB

Cathy Nelson                                     Teacher Aide (MAM) / Bus Aide

Sandra North                                     Teaching Assistant, MAM

Jill Pitcher                                            Math Teacher, JCB

Andrew Robertson                           Kindergarten Teacher, MAM

Christi Sharkey                                  Teaching Assistant, EJD

Susan Sharp                                       Science Teacher, JCB

Laura Swan                                         Teacher Aide, MAM

Tom Tommarello                              English Teacher, JCB

Denise Walberger                            Math Teacher, EJD

Keith Walberger                               Physical Ed. Teacher, EJD

Ruth Whorral                                     Custodian, JCB

Ellen Wilson                                      Senior Food Svc. Helper, JCB

20 Years of Service:

Vanda Allen                                        Custodian, EJD

Brenda Alvarado                              Senior Food Svc. Helper, MAM

K.C. Bechard                                      English Teacher, JCB

Bill Carvell                                          Maintenance Worker

Joan Clark                                         Teaching Assistant, MAM

Catherine Dilorenzo                        Special Ed. Teacher, EJD

Lisa Gaudreau                                   Guidance Counselor, JCB

Debbie Gerace                                  Bus Drive, Transportation

Michelle Rudy                                   Clerical, JCB Main Office

Nora Germain                                   Guidance Counselor, MAM

Sarah Lamanna                                 Special Ed. Teacher, JCB

Joan Martin                                        Social Studies Teacher, JCB

Donna McArthur                              Teaching Assistant, EJD

Roseanne Miller                               Bus Driver

Joseph Ventura                                Social Studies Teacher, JCB

Patty Weber                                             Clerical, MAM Main Office

25 Years of Service:

Bonnie Coleman                               Clerical, EJD Guidance

Dave Frateschi                                  Music Teacher, JCB

Emily Giraudin                                   Special Education Teacher, JCB

Kathie Hetko                                      5th Grade Math Teacher, EJD

Sally Karkuff                                       Bus Driver, Transportation

William Karl                                         6th Grade Science Teacher, EJD

Nancy Sorrendino                            Teaching Assistant, MAM 

30 Years of Service:

Melinda Garrett                               2nd Grade Teacher, MAM

Lucille Mercer                                    Kindergarten Teacher, MAM     

Tammy Woodard                             Clerical, JCB Guidance

35 Years of Service:

Ron Spencer                                      Custodian  

40 Years of Service:

Sue Anderson                                   Principal, EJD