Phoenix School District Honors Cathy Lee with First-Ever ‘Making a Difference Award’

PHOENIX – When the Phoenix Central School District put out the call for nominations for its first-ever “Making a Difference” Award, one name resonated loud and clear: Cathy Lee.

Longtime Phoenix Central School District volunteer Cathy Lee accepts the “Making a Difference” Award from board of education president Earl Rudy.

For nearly three decades, Phoenix resident Cathy Lee has served the district as a volunteer and community liaison.

She has spearheaded many of the student leadership and community service efforts.

She instituted the Leadership Council and Presidential Youth Service awards, she oversees homecoming traditions and connects students to elderly residents with shopping trips and dances.

“She brings students to feed the homeless in Syracuse, she spearheads all of our community-based food drives which go to the local Phoenix food pantry, and she oversees the students when they create a ‘Shanty Town’ to truly understand what it’s like to be homeless and live in the elements,” said English teacher Lisa Spereno, who nominated Lee for the award.

Superintendent Christopher Byrne, board of education vice president Diana Cook, award recipient Cathy Lee and BOE president Earl Rudy gather for a photo for the first-ever Making a Difference Award.

“I do not know of anyone else who has touched so many lives over the entirety of her existence. I would say thousands of Phoenix residents are better people, more giving people, truly wonderful people because of the direct influence of Cathy,” Spereno said.

That sentiment was echoed by others and felt by the selection committee as they presented Lee with a certificate and an award during a recent board of education meeting.

Superintendent Christopher Byrne lauded Lee for her contributions and noted that her actions have left an indelible mark on the entire community.

“If anyone embodies the ‘Making A Difference’ Award and deserves recognition — as much as she dislikes being in the spotlight — it is the face, the spirit and the love of Phoenix: Cathy Lee,” Spereno said.

For more information about the award or to access the nomination form, please visit phoenixcsd.org/differencemaker.