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.
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 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.”
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
following are recognized for their years of service with the PCSD:
15 Years of
Abbott Teacher Aide, MAM
Astafan Teaching Assistant, EJD
Benjamin Physical Ed. Teacher, MAM
Bonnier 5th Grade Science Teacher, EJD
Cannella 2nd Grade Teacher, MAM
Demauro Music Teacher, EJD
Falise Teaching Assistant, EJD
Ford French Teacher, EJD
Halstead Head Custodian, EJD
Matlock 5th Grade ELA Teacher, EJD
McCaffrey 5th Grade ELA Teacher, EJD
Middleton Teaching Assistant, JCB
Mills Physical Ed. Teacher, JCB
Nelson Teacher Aide (MAM) / Bus Aide
North Teaching Assistant, MAM
Pitcher Math Teacher, JCB
Robertson Kindergarten Teacher, MAM
Sharkey Teaching Assistant, EJD
Sharp Science Teacher, JCB
Tommarello English Teacher, JCB
Walberger Math Teacher, EJD
Walberger Physical Ed. Teacher, EJD
Whorral Custodian, JCB
Food Svc. Helper, JCB
20 Years of
Allen Custodian, EJD
Alvarado Senior Food Svc. Helper, MAM
Bechard English Teacher, JCB
Bill Carvell Maintenance Worker
Clark Teaching Assistant, MAM
Dilorenzo Special Ed. Teacher, EJD
Gaudreau Guidance Counselor, JCB
Gerace Bus Drive, Transportation
Rudy Clerical, JCB Main Office
Germain Guidance Counselor, MAM
Lamanna Special Ed. Teacher, JCB
Martin Social Studies Teacher, JCB
McArthur Teaching Assistant, EJD
Miller Bus Driver
Ventura Social Studies Teacher, JCB
Patty Weber Clerical, MAM Main Office
25 Years of
Coleman Clerical, EJD Guidance
Giraudin Special Education Teacher, JCB
Hetko 5th Grade Math Teacher, EJD
Karkuff Bus Driver, Transportation
Grade Science Teacher, EJD
Sorrendino Teaching Assistant, MAM
30 Years of
Garrett 2nd Grade Teacher, MAM
Mercer Kindergarten Teacher, MAM
Woodard Clerical, JCB Guidance
35 Years of
40 Years of
Anderson Principal, EJD
J. Dillon Middle School welcomed the new fifth-grade class at an orientation
fifth-graders were greeted with a trail of colorful balloons that lead to the
cafeteria for a short presentation given by teachers and staff to assist with
the transition to middle school. Teachers kept a positive and encouraging tone
as they spoke about lockers, block scheduling, lunches, homework and more.
Counselor Katherine Barber said, “You have a phenomenal group of teachers this
year. They know what it’s like to be new. They are awesome; please call them or
me anytime you have a question.”
of the teachers and staff participated in the presentation of what to expect in
the fifth-grade and how to keep organized. They have implemented a binder
system that keeps students’ schedules clearly displayed on the front, homework
that is due in the front pocket and homework that is completed and graded in the
back pocket. Each student will be provided an agenda to use for the year that
also acts as a hall pass as well as a communication system between parents and
Matthew Westerlund and Guidance Counselor Andrew Quirk grilled hot dogs for the
roast that was offered to all families in attendance following the
Photo caption: Katie Alfano (left) and daughter
Ariana wait in line for a hot dog at Emerson J. Dillon fifth-grade orientation.