PHOENIX, NY – John C. Birdlebough High School announced its Class of 2022 valedictorian and salutatorian as Kylie Russo and Larissa MacDonald respectively.
Although the past few years have been far from normal amid a global pandemic, John C. Birdlebough High School valedictorian Kylie Russo has found her sense of normalcy and comfort through the ‘art.
Her passion for art has kept her grounded in uncertain times and has resulted in award-winning artwork along the way. She hopes to take her passion to the next level at Rochester Institute of Technology where she will pursue a major in illustration.
“I think majoring in illustration will be beneficial for what I want to do for my future,” Russo said. “Eventually, I would like to be a character designer for entertainment and draw and write my own series of graphic novels.”
During her high school career, Russo’s works were selected for numerous honors and exhibitions. She even accomplished a feat at JCB that no other student had before as she won the National Gold Medal for Scholastic Art and Writing which provided her with her most memorable high school moment.
Besides being a talented artist, Russo has been actively involved in community service projects. She rang the bell during the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign and also participated in Earth Day cleanups around the village of Phoenix.
For Russo, the daughter of Miki Cromie and James Russo, juggling multiple academic and community responsibilities has not been without its challenges. However, she always persevered and worked hard to achieve her goals.
“I attribute my success to my drive to secure a stable future and pursue my dreams,” Russo said. “I would encourage my classmates to work towards the dreams they personally want to achieve, not what others think they are better off pursuing.”
Fueled by a competitive spirit, John C. Birdlebough High School Salutatorian Larissa MacDonald hopes her hard work will translate into continued success at the college level.
MacDonald will attend the University of Albany in the fall. She plans to major in chemistry to become a cosmetic chemist after graduating.
While enthusiastic and forward-looking, she also took time to reflect on her time as a Phoenix student. MacDonald took the opportunity to participate in various clubs, teams and organizations during his four years with JCB. She was a member of the competitive dance team, softball team, National Honor Society, Leadership and Student Council. She also participated in community service activities, held a part-time job, and was a math tutor.
“My most memorable high school moment was participating in different school activities with my friends,” MacDonald said. “The school district has helped shape me as a student and a person by giving me multiple opportunities to improve myself and my community.”
As MacDonald prepares for the next step, she was quick to thank her parents, Kristin and William MacDonald, and JCB staff members for her success in the classroom and beyond.
“I attribute my success to my parents and my teachers who always gave me work and supported me,” she said, noting that she hopes her classmates will remember her as being thorough, helpful and friendly.