JCB’s Russo wins valedictorian honor | Education

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PHOENIX — Although the past few years have been far from normal amid a global pandemic, John C. Birdlebough High School (JCB) valedictorian Kylie Russo has found her sense of normalcy and comfort through 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’d 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 an 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.”

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