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News and Articles for Phoenix Central School District.

Artist, storyteller provides multifaceted lesson at EJD

1.	Artist and storyteller Christopher Agostino and Emerson J. Dillon Middle School eighth-graders pose for a group photo following a StoryFaces presentation.Phoenix students recently received a multifaceted lesson as artist and storyteller Christopher Agostino brought his StoryFaces performance to Emerson J. Dillon Middle School.

With a full color palette in front of him, Agostino told several stories with Chinese and Japanese cultural roots. As he told each story, he used paint to transform students’ faces into the various scenes and characters. His stories ranged from comics to the supernatural, with some tales even based on Greek mythology.

“Some of these are 2000-year-old stories,” Agostino said. “But it’s these 2000-year-old stories that are still relevant in today’s world. These are stories of heroism. Be the hero in your own life.”

In addition to the tales of heroism, Agostino provided students with a comprehensive lesson, said art teacher Beth Pritchard.

“His sixth-grade performance was great and connected perfectly to the mask-making unit that we teach in our art curriculum! He talked about the importance of colors and icons as a way to represent symbols and meaning in art,” Pritchard said. “His stories ranged from a variety of different cultures from around the world and really made that historical connection that we talk about in class while researching for our own mask-making projects. This was a great way to incorporate everything into one presentation.”

Phoenix students get a lesson in drumming, culture

Music was in the air at Emerson J. Dillon Middle School recently as performer Biboti Ouikahilo presented an African drumming workshop.

The multitalented artist showed off his skills and taught seventh- and eighth-graders his trade. Wearing clothes representative of his native culture in the Ivory Coast, Ouikahilo introduced students to African drumming and dance. Armed with dozens of drums made of animal skins, Ouikahilo provided students with a hands-on music lesson, as he played a set and the students followed suit, staying true to the beat and rhythm.

In addition to the drumming demonstration, Ouikahilo showed off his dancing skills. Groups of students and teachers joined in the routine as well.

2.	Two Emerson J. Dillon Middle School students follow Biboti Ouikahilo’s lead on the drums.The arts-in-education offering was held in conjunction with Wacheva Cultural Arts, which creates unique learning opportunities for students.

“Our purpose as a multicultural arts organization is to create programs involving different cultures where the community is able to experience an expansive understanding of many cultures and ethnic artistic traditions,” according to Wacheva Cultural Arts. “Witnessing teachers sharing their knowledge with students is like watering the garden for its survival. It’s a way to immortalize these cultures because humanity can cease to exist, but the traditions remain alive through the voice of others.”

MAM students compete in building book battle

Ten teams studied 10 books at Michael A. Maroun Elementary in hopes of being named the school’s Battle of the Books champion.

Ultimately, “The Lighting Lazers” members, coached by Rebecca Coffin, were victorious after they answered 14 of the 16 questions correctly and earned 112 points. Each team was awarded eight points when they provided the correct title and author. Five points were awarded for having the title only.

The winning fourth-graders: Michael Farnham, John Sculco and Michael Goudy, cheered in excitement with each correct response. All questions centered on intricate details of the required book list, including the book that had tops of pine trees that had been snapped, a character that was given a secret formula, a character that used the force and a rat came first.

For Farnham, the choice to join MAM’s 2018 Battle of the Books was easy.

“I just love books,” he said.

While “The Lightning Lazers” have advanced to the March 15 Oswego County Battle of the Books at John C. Birdlebough High School, “The 3 Tigers” team members stole the show with their amazing show of sportsmanship as they visited each team at the conclusion of the battle to shake hands and offer congratulatory wishes.

Each of the 30 participants received medals, purchased by the school’s parent-faculty organization. “The Lightning Lazers” also received a Battle of the Books pins, first-place trophies and PFO-paid T-shirts to wear to the county battle.

MAM Library Media Specialist Steven Terchowitz, who emceed the MAM building battle, offered gratitude on behalf of team members for all of the Battle of the Books coaches who helped keep each team on track.

MAM Battle of the Books 2018 champions, from left, are: Michael Goudy, John Sculco and Michael Farnham, are joined by coach Rebecca Coffin.

MAM Battle of the Books 2018 champions, from left, are: Michael Goudy,
John Sculco and Michael Farnham, are joined by coach Rebecca Coffin,
following their first-place finish.

Musumeci earns national scholarship

With a wealth of leadership experience, community service and academic excellence, John C. Birdlebough High School senior Catherine Musumeci recently climbed her way to the top of the applicant pool and earned a Coca-Cola scholarship.

Catherine MusumeciThe Phoenix student is no stranger to accolades, as she has earned numerous awards throughout her academic career, including the title of valedictorian of the Class of 2018. However, the Coca-Cola scholarship came as a surprise, she said, because there were so many students across the nation who applied. Of the 90,000 applicants, Musumeci was one of the 150 students selected for the prestigious scholarship.

“The application process was pretty extensive,” Musumeci said. “The initial application was basic, but the semifinalist application was more in-depth and asked for a statement of impact, two letters of recommendation and things along those lines. Then there was the regional application, which was an interview in New York City.”

For Musumeci, the extensive application process paid off in the form of a $20,000 scholarship, which she will use to pursue a biomedical engineering degree in college next year. Although she is still narrowing down her college choices – Rochester Institute of Technology, Boston University or Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute – she has already mapped out her career path.

“I’m really interested in artificial organ research,” she said. “My sister is a Type 1 diabetic, so the artificial pancreas and the bionic pancreas project that are going on are really interesting to me. I would love to be a part of those projects.”

With an eye toward the future, Musumeci is looking forward to the remainder of her high school career and continued service to the Phoenix community. She is class president, a member of the National Honor Society, serves on the Principal’s Cabinet, and participates in tennis and track.

“The leadership skills I have developed coming from a small school and a small community have been very individualized,” she said. “That will benefit me going into a big university or the world in general. Phoenix has given me so many opportunities to be successful.”

Musumeci will be honored along with the other scholarship winners in Atlanta from April 19-22, where the recipients will also participate in the Leadership Development Institute.

Second Quarter Gold and Silver Star EJD Students Revealed

Gold and Silver Star recognitions for the second academic quarter were recently announced for students of Emerson J. Dillon Middle school.

Students are awarded a Gold Star for achieving a quarterly report card average of 90 or higher.  A Silver Star is awarded for a quarterly report card average of 85 to 89.99. 

In addition to a certificate of achievement, the students will be invited to a special activity as a reward for their excellent work.

Gold Star recipients in grade five: Trinity Applegate, Briana Ard, Hailey Ashby, Cole Bailer, To'Kye Barnes, Drew Britton, Hannah Brooker, Julian Burns, Matthew Caltabiano, Finnegan Coons, Ashley Dean, Cameron Dryer,Olivia Edwards, Miley Esposito, Gabrielle Ezman, Abigail Felix, Nathan Fortman, Jayden Grant,Logan Greenough, Eden Grethel, Landon Guertin, David Halko, Zackary Henderson,  Alainna Henderson-Nelepovitz, Hailey Hook, Emma Huntley, Edward Kelly, Genevieve Kimball,  Conner Klock,RowanKuropatwinski, Kevin Kurzinski, Taisia Marasco, HaileyMason, Kaylee Mason,Brandon McCarthy, Riley McFall, Jianna Metot, Anastasia Moore, Alexander Nicita, Zachary Nicita, Eliana Occhino, Brooklyn Olschewske,  Joshua Poorman, Relehonna Pope, Tallen Prior, Berkleigh Schneider, Grace-Rose Shue, Alivia Smith, Cecelia  Smith, Leon Smith, Remi Smith, Emily St. Laurent,Emily Stellingwerf, Brookelynn Stewart, Ryan Szyikowski, Grayson Trinca, Ryleigh Williams,  Aleah Worden and Jadelynn Zaryski.

Silver Star recipients in grade five: Jonathan Banks, Reid Bartholomew, Cameron Besaw, Chloe Borrow, Clarence Bullis, Nellie Butler, Dante Cacciola, Jordan Cook, Isabella Crain, Madalynn Emlaw, Emma Fox, Juan Gonzalez,Evan Hansen, Everest Harris, Jonathan Hayes, Taylor Hull, Chase Huntley, Douglas Jacques, Danielle Johnson, Sarah Johnson, Jacob Lindsley,  Gabriel Lyle, Cameron McDowell, Kaiden McNabb, Alexander Miranda-Tapia, Cadence Morrison, Kyra Mosher, Liam Murphy, Kaylee Newman, Julius Spaights, Rachel Stellingwerf, Mason Stott, Danielle Sussey, Aiden Thatcher, Kolson Turner and Kerrigan Walpole.

Gold Star recipients in grade six: Peyton Aller, Emma Bova, Avery Bowman, Myah Burnham, Dakoda  Capozzi, Owen Champion, Kai Clary, Zoey Coleman, Amelie Creighton, Gabriella Dates, Sophie Delahunt, Rylee Denslow, Marra DiGiovanni, Erika Dygert, Gianna Ende, Savannah Felix, Matthew Froio, Harleigh Greenleaf, Haley Hammond, Donald Hook, Lincoln Kersey, Ava Kuropatwinski, Kaylen Lamphere, Beth Landers, Emily LaPine, Brycen LaRobardiere, Lillian MacDonald, Lia McBurnie, Chase McElyea, Cayden McKay, Jordyn Meyers, Claire Minney, Hannah Morrison, Alyssa Murphy, Caedance Myer, Degan Parker, Macray Pelton, Ellie Peterson, Margo Pritting, Charles Quaco, Nathaniel Quaco, Jayden Rawson, Mason Renfrew, Ethan Reynolds, Nicholas Root, Sara Ruetsch, Arlin Russo, Lucas Stellingwerf,Alaina Sutter, Chloe Thomas and Luke Zellar.

Silver Star recipients in grade six: Lyla Barrow, Savannah Brown, Noah Bushnoe, Shane Byrne, Madalyn Carter, Alana Clough, Ty Corey, Charles Crandall, Landon Crandall, Tyler D'Arcy, Mark Davis Jr., Caitlin Dean, Anthony DeMarchi, Jaylynn Dwyer, Hunter Eldred, Abrielle Fayette, Nathan Gaylord, Joshua Gullen Jr., Cody Hager, Parker Hall, Sabrina Haynes, Julia Kazmark, Cameron Kreis, Zachary  Lindsley,  Sadiemae Maher, Austin Moore, Shareese Nelson, Ariana Palmer, Alexis Phoenix, Gaige Pitre, Hunter Potts,Madison Quaco, Landen Thatcher and Miranda Young.

Gold Star recipients in grade seven: Isaiah Bergman, Allenmichael Borasky, Elisabeth Caltabiano, Courtney Carter, JessicaCarter, Christopher Clarke II, Emily Dunn-Hulett, Matthew Durst, Hayley Dygert, Milani Eldred, Michael Farrar, Madison Fatcheric, Evan Fox, Lindsey Goudy, Mia Graham, Kenidee Grover,Mallory Hess, Blake Hoyt, Mattie Hunt, Evan Isabell, Olivia Isabella, Alan Jacques, Conor Jones, Alyssa Lantry, Morgan Lynch, Brooke McCann, Peyton Nichols, Tateum Patnode, Cody Perry, Logan Petrie,Lillianne Quinn, Hannah Reilley, Kayla Snow, Sheriden Southworth, Celia Tangorra, Alexander Whaley and Austin Wilder.

Silver Star recipients in grade seven: Joseph Abt, Garrett Audas, Chase Bacon, RyanBrockway, Grace Calkins, Victoria Cerullo Mackenzie Chetney,Meghan Clothier,Reghan Conley,Madison Coutchure,Robert Finch Jr., Shawn Froio, Zoe Gordon, Brandon Ingoldby,Dylan Jones, John McDonald, Jenna Moore, Thomas Rose III, Lillie Shaffer, Hope Smith and Ryan Thompson.

Gold Star recipients in grade eight: Sarah Andrews, Sarah Ashby, Mackenzee Backus, Virginia Bednarski, Alissa Bova, Adrianna Breckheimer, Jake Charleston, Jared Charleston, Kaitlyn Chesbro, Chloe Coughlin, Mary  Crandall, Johnathan Dion, Charity Frantz, Mariah Gilligan, Isaiah Gordon,  James Hagg II, Jonah Hawthorne,Bethany Hook, Alaina Hubbell, Tye Hughes Jr., Lee Ketaily, Grace Landis, Nevaeh Lando,Maggie LaPine, LarissaMacDonald,  Hannah McArthur, McKenna Neiss,  Jacob Neupert, Gabriella Payne, Katelyn Pyzdrowski, Kelsey Redhead, Ariana Richway, Kylie Russo, Daniel Stellingwerf, Sean Stevens and Ella Tangorra.

Silver Star recipients in grade eight: Noah Bartholomew, Stephen Beal, Mathew Bernard, Matthew Breton, Ian Burgett, Conner Calkins,Brendan Champion, Breannah Demo, Dominic Germain, Madison Grover, Nicholas Hanson, Jalyn Henry, Benjamin Hess, Alexandra Hopps, Hannah Huff, Daren Jackson, Willyam Jolly, Autumn Kelly, Karson Kimball, Grace McDonald, Cody McFall, MaxMorgan, Brady Munger, Weston Murphy, Carson Newvine, Carter Pinkley, Cole Rinaldi, Taylor Smith, Olivia Snyder and Gaven Sutter.

Phoenix Students Advocate for Youth Programming in Albany

Five Youth Advisory Council (YAC) students from the Phoenix Central School District visited Albany on February 5 and 6 to represent Oswego County and meet with New York State senators and assemblymen at a Youth Leadership Forum sponsored by the Association of New York State Youth Bureaus.

The Youth Leadership Forum is a two-day event at the Capital, where students from all over New York State meet with Youth Bureaus and elected officials to talk about youth development and advocate for programming.

The students were able to ask questions and present the needs of their community to people like NYS Senator Patty Ritchie, NYS Assemblyman William A. Barclay and Lieutenant Governor of New York Kathy Hochul. They also participate in workshops and have the opportunity to listen to a variety of keynote speakers.

“It is a great opportunity to learn how government works and be a voice to our legislators,” said Oswego County Youth Bureau Executive Director Brian Chetney. “The students are expected to go back to their community and continue the work.”

The Phoenix Central School District students who participated in this experience were Tina Li, Olivia Lamphere, Savannah Neupert, Noah Gordon and Darren Fischel.

Five Phoenix students visit Albany to advocate for youth programming.

JCB students shine at Scholastic Art Show

John C. Birdlebough High School students had a stellar showing at the recent Scholastic Art Show.

Eight students now have their artwork displayed through March 2 at the Whitney Applied Technology Center at Onondaga Community College, Syracuse, to show Central New York residents how hard they worked on their pieces. The competition’s highest honor of a gold key was awarded to JCB junior Emily Forget for her photograph titled “Sunset over Troubled Waters.” She and her Phoenix Central School District peers were among the young artists in grades 7-12 whose 1,300 pieces of art were honored.

A silvery key award was presented to Nicole Henry for her photograph of “Strategy.” Honorable mention awards were presented to Chloe Calkins for her “Repousse” painting, Kearra Backus for her “Melting Pot” designs, Emilie Hilliard for her “Light Through the Forest” work, Gabrielle Crandell for her “Under a Spotted Sun” watercolor, Marian Sheirer for her “A Midnights Bloom” work and Vanessa Rivera for her “Flower” entry.

JCB art and photography teacher Chris Barrett commended the students for their efforts, and encouraged PCSD supporters and other CNY residents to attend the free exhibit.

student emily forget kneels with her photograph which won an award

JCB student Emily Forget proudly kneels alongside her winning entry “Sunset over Troubled Water,” which is
at the Whitney Applied Technology Center at Onondaga Community College, Syracuse, as part of the
annual Scholastic Art Show.



Phoenix students’ artwork in the spotlight

Michael A. Maroun Elementary Liam Considine, Caitlyn D’Arcy, Andrea Davis, Abigail Oeinck and Emma Dates proudly display their work that was recently on exhibit during the annual New York State Art Teachers’ Association conference in Binghamton.

Art students from Michael A. Maroun Elementary School recently had their work featured in a statewide exhibit in Binghamton.

The exhibit was on display during the annual New York State Art Teachers’ Association conference and showcased student artwork across a variety of mediums. The Phoenix Central School District was well represented, as 14 students were selected to have their work featured.

“I am very proud of the student work that was shown, and I received lots of good comments on their pieces,” said art teacher Kim Kittleson.

The students whose work was on exhibit included Olivia Eastman, Liam Considine, Keegan Webster, Abigail Oeinck, Andrea Davis, Kaylynn Butler, Caitlyn D’Arcy, Ava Perfetto, Mason Morris, Cheyenne Perryman, Jackson Collier, Sadie Grethel, Jack Kocher and Emma Dates.

Polar Express rolls into Phoenix middle school

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.

EJD student Trey Barker gets a hand labeling and wrapping the gifts he picked out for his family members as part of Polar Express. Phoenix community members, teachers and administrators helped wrap gifts for the students’ families.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.

Rotary Club Donates Dictionaries to Phoenix Third-Graders

A decade-long partnership between the Fulton Sunrise Rotary Club and the Phoenix Central School District continued this year with the annual dictionary giveaway.

Rotarians visited with third-graders to discuss the service organization and teach students how to get the most out of the dictionaries they received.

Ellen Nowyj, Fulton Sunrise Rotary Club president, thumbed through the reference material as she identified resources such as maps, the periodic table and punctuation guides. She noted it was rewarding to be able to provide dictionaries to all 141 third-grade students.

“This is likely their first reference book that they own,” Nowyj said. “They can take it home and learn so many things.”