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

Fourth Grade Artists in the Making at MAM

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.

 MAM students from Kristen Jeffries’ fourth grade class spend their lunch period at art club working on projects of their choice.

MAM students Liam Campanino, Alexander Harris and Isaiah Bergman exercise their artistic talents at art club.
A piece painted by fourth grade Isaac Chesbro at Michael A Maroun Elementary.

MAM students go for the gold

Students at Michael A. Maroun Elementary School in Phoenix have an added incentive to put forth their best effort in physical education class, as they compete for the Golden Sneaker Award.

According to physical education teacher Alice Benjamin, the awards recognition is part of the Pinnie of Pride program, which is designed to get students’ hearts pumping and their competitive spirits flowing during the beginning of class. Students jog around the gymnasium and one person is selected to wear the Pinnie of Pride during the exercise. Every lap the designated student completes is recorded in the gradebook, and for every 15 laps recorded, the class earns a sneaker.

“At the end of the marking period, the class with the most sneakers wins the Golden Sneaker Award,” Benjamin said.

The Golden Sneaker Award for the first quarter was presented to Tyra Cumber’s class, Melissa Bailer’s students, and Cheri Iannotti’s class.

“This program has really taken off, and the kids help support the runner wearing the pinnie by running with them, telling them to keep going and giving them compliments,” Benjamin said. “Mr. Prenoveau and I are very proud of the efforts of our students.”

Michael A. Maroun Elementary School students (from left) Cassandra Blake, Drew Britton, Avery Bowman, Caedance Myer, Allen Michael Borasky and Olivia Brown show off the Golden Sneaker Awards their classes earned in physical education.

Phoenix student-athlete earns $500 scholarship

John C. Birdlebough High School senior Dustin Blumer was recognized during a recent awards ceremony for excelling in the classroom and on the gridiron during the fall sports season.

The Phoenix Central School District student-athlete was among nearly 80 individuals from throughout Central New York who were honored by the local chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame. The awards dinner was held at the Turning Stone Casino and Resort on Jan. 25, and welcomed nearly 600 people to celebrate academic and athletic excellence.

“Since its inception, this chapter -- thanks to the tireless efforts of board members, sponsors, and volunteers -- has been very successful,” said a chapter spokesperson. “The annual scholar-athlete awards dinner is an impressive affair … and honors over 77 college and high school football players along with coaches, officials and significant area proponents of the game.”

In addition to receiving a recognition certificate, Phoenix’s Blumer was also presented with a $500 scholarship for excelling in academics and being a role model to his peers.

Phoenix Central School District Athletic Director Jim Drancsak, head football coach Chad Rowe, student-athlete Dustin Blumer, and assistant football coach Andy Moran gather for a photo during the National Football Foundation’s annual awards dinner Jan. 25  at the Turning Stone Casino and Resort. Blumer received a $500 scholarship for his leadership abilities in the classroom and on the gridiron.

MAM students exercise with snowshoes

Students at Michael A. Maroun Elementary School recently received a lesson in how to stay active outdoors during the cold winter months.

As part of a physical education unit, students in Melissa Bailer’s third-grade class learned how to utilize snowshoes, a specific kind of footwear designed for walking over snow without sinking.

After taking their time putting the snowshoes on, students tried out the new equipment. After a few slips and falls, each student found their balance and together the class walked a lap around the school.

The snowshoes were generously provided to school by the MAM Parent-Faculty Organization after organizing several fundraising initiatives. 

Students at Michael A. Maroun Elementary School recently
learned  how to use snowshoes as part of a physical education
unit. Pictured, students from Melissa Bailer’s third-grade class
had a blast learning a new activity


MAM Staff Show Off School Spirit!

 MAM staff show off their school spirit for School Spirit Day!

Jazz Band and Percussion Ensemble perform Winter Concert at JCB

From the roaring twenties and swing bands to the modern sound of Justin Timberlake, the JCB Varsity Jazz Band took audience members on a musical journey that spanned decades during their recent Winter Concert.

Under the direction of Mr. David Frateschi, the band began the concert with a song Frateschi described as a jazz standard, “Black Orpheus.” The song featured solo performances by Dixon Ameele on the saxophone and Jacob Nicolini on the trumpet. The musical styling of classic jazz, left audience members tapping their toes along with the band as they performed “Star Eyes” and the upbeat tempo, reminiscent of the swing era with the song “Leap Frog,” before the jazz portion of the concert ended with the John Wasson arrangement of the hit song “Suit and Tie” by Justin Timberlake. Other soloists during the evening included Rachel Isbell, Dan Knowlton and Kaylee Waldby.

Following a brief set up for the percussion ensemble, the concert continued with a non-traditional performance of “Pipes Down.” The song was performed using only pvc piping for instruments. An audience favorite, the song defied the logic that pieces of construction material could deliver such beautiful sounds. Moving on to the traditional percussion instruments, the group performed “Slavonic Dance No. 5 in A Major” and an upbeat Latin song, “El Caribe.” The percussion ensemble is under the direction of Mrs. Joanna Young.

John C. Birdlebough High School Varsity Jazz Band performed during a Winter Concert at the school. Kaylee Waldby was the featured soloist on the swing classic “Leap Frog.”


This talented and imaginative group performed beautiful music using lengths of pvc piping during the JCB Percussion Ensemble Winter Concert!

Random acts of kindness felt throughout EJD

Random acts of kindness have been popping up throughout Emerson J. Dillon Middle School, as students in Sandy Silky’s class have spearheaded the effort.

Silky’s students have arbitrarily selected homerooms to drop off special gifts for the past several months. In October, they surprised Matt Westerlund's homeroom with Halloween treats and Carol Touron's students with Halloween cards and candy. They continued their giving spirit in December, when they gave handmade Christmas ornaments and candy canes to their peers in Ted Forde's class. 

Additionally, with help from Mrs. Silky, Laurie Doss and Andrea Fisher, the students helped other committees in the building. They made fliers and posters for Santa Hat Day and created signs for another Hat Day to benefit the French Club. Students were also busy creating donation boxes to collect food items – one benefiting community members and another benefiting the Oswego County Animal Welfare League.

“The kids have learned the power of giving, and have enjoyed spreading kindness throughout EJD,” said Doss, a teacher assistant at EJD. "(In the words of Bob Kerrey): ‘Unexpected kindness is the most powerful, least costly and most underrated agent of human change.’"


Emerson J. Dillon Middle School students (from left) Ashlyn Wallace, Brian Gibbons, Abby Meaker and Shyanne Featherly are all smiles as they show off the donation boxes they created as part of a Random Acts of Kindness initiative.

EJD students earn Citizenship Awards

At Emerson J. Dillon Middle School, more than three dozen students were recently honored for being exemplary citizens.

Throughout the school year, Citizenship Awards are given to students who exhibit positive behavioral traits and are recognized and nominated by staff members for the accolade. According to teacher Raina Hinman, award recipients serve as role models for their peers. “These students are respectful, responsible, dependable and friendly,” Hinman said. “They are fine representatives of our school and our community.”

In addition to being recognized during morning announcements, the students also received a certificate of distinction and were commended by school administrators.

Award recipients included Brayden Biondolillo, James Hagg, Logann Galle, Kylie Russo, Alexandra Hopps, Payton Scruton, Gracie Britton, Amaya Malambri, Kelise Newby, Alayna Merrill, Maggie-Lee Basile, Jason Alberici, Michael Dion, Abigail Clark, Eric Betts, Lawrence Karl, Megan Hess, Mark Zogg, Nicollette D'Arrigo, Darren Fischel, Alexandra Galle, Keera Hazen, Dylan Schaffner, Savanna Neupert, Teresa Uhl, Jeffrey Horner, Isaiah Santola, Nevaeh Lando, Tabitha Clark, Mattison Hess, Francesca Goodell, Miranda LaRobardiere, Jock Li, Haley Bowersox, Shay Altman, Natalie Brown, Brielle DeRoberts, Sophie Crandall, Aidan Trumble and Liam Sweeney.

Emerson J. Dillon Middle School students show off the certificates of recognition they earned for being exemplary citizens. They Citizenship Awards were presented recently during morning announcements.

Phoenix students explore career opportunities

To give students in the Phoenix Central School District a glimpse into what their future may hold, nearly three dozen community members recently came to Emerson J. Dillon Middle School to discuss their careers.

During multiple sessions throughout the morning, students had a chance to attend demonstrations and lectures in classrooms throughout the building. Professionals from law enforcement, government, health, hospitality services and the trades were on hand to give students a first-hand look at specific careers.

“It’s very important to have people from so many different sectors here to give the kids some perspective into possible career paths,” said EJD family and consumer science teacher Kara Barton. “The curriculum includes a huge career piece, and a career day like this helps them understand what the profession is all about.”

For the students who filed into the gymnasium to learn about dog training, they were surprised to find out that the position is much more than petting and yelling commands to a canine. In fact, guest speaker Linda Aloi, of K9 Capers, told the students that the pay scale for a dog trainer is largely dependent on their educational background.

“Definitely stay in school,” Aloi said as she kept a watchful eye on Charby, a 6-month-old black Labrador retriever she was training for assistive purposes. “Get your high school diploma and go on from there. How much money you make really depends on how much education you have behind you. There are lots of other variables, but salaries can be anywhere between $17,000 a year and $52,000 a year.”

Education was a recurring theme during career day, as each profession stressed the importance of staying in school. Careers in the trades such as auto repair are dependent on a solid educational background and plenty of hands-on experience, according to Rich Rainville, a guest speaker representing the Career and Technical Education program at the Center for Instruction, Technology & Innovation.

“If you’re going to be an auto repair technician, you have to be good at math and have a computer background,” Rainville said. “The technical manuals require a higher level of reading, so education is really important.”

Students also learned the importance of education and extensive training in careers such as firefighting, forensic investigation, military pursuits, governmental jobs and artistic endeavors.

JCB alumni give Phoenix juniors, seniors advice about college

Eight John C. Birdlebough High School graduates returned to their alma mater recently to discuss a variety of topics related to higher education.

The alums served as panelists during the annual College Day at the school, where juniors and seniors asked for advice on everything from college life to financial aid. On the stage inside the high school auditorium, seniors Ashley Centner and Olivia Uttamsingh stood at a podium alongside the panelists and asked questions that were compiled by their peers. Students wanted to learn more about the advantages of living off campus, the challenges with declaring or changing a major, the timeline to apply, among other topics.

“The questions come right from the students and the answers are from Phoenix graduates, so those answers and advice carry more weight than if it was coming from a teacher,” said JCB English teacher Michelle Lewis. “This is our final push to get the students to submit their college applications.”

That push, Lewis said, pays off as the juniors and seniors walk away with a better understanding of what it means to be “college ready.” To be ready for that next step, most college-bound seniors should have submitted a handful of applications by this point, according to panelist Meghan Barry, a 2013 graduate.

“You really should be finishing up that process,” Barry said. “It’s not too late, but you need to focus now and get the applications sent out as soon as possible. Apply to a bunch of different schools, that way you’ll have a nice pool to choose from and you won’t have to settle for that one safety school.”

In addition to the questions about financial aid and the application process, students were also curious as to the workload and the availability of professors to help outside of regular class time. Drew Musumeci, a 2005 JCB graduate, noted that the workload depends on a number of factors such as the college, the professor and the major. However, he stressed that there are plenty of resources on campus as long as students are proactive in seeking help.

“The professors are not going to come to you, they’re not going to hold your hand,” Musumeci said. “You have to ask for help. You have to approach them.”

After more than an hour of questions, juniors and seniors also had the opportunity to sit down with the panelists individually. Other members on the panel included Mason Bowering (2014); Ryan Pinzer (2014); Ben Manzer (2012); Gianna Garofalo (2014); Ricky Pizzouli (2012); and Ben Ewald (2012).

John C. Birdlebough High School graduates Gianna Garofalo, Meghan Barry and Ricky Pizzouli answer questions from juniors and seniors about higher education.