Sparta High school ends the year on a high note

| 30 Sep 2011 | 09:44

    From academics to art, students earned numerous awards and titles, By Fran Hardy Sparta — Sparta High School Principal Dennis Tobin presented a lengthy list of awards earned by high school students this year at the board of education meeting Monday night. These included academic, athletic, artistic, and charitable achievements. The Academic Bowl students, under the leadership of Ryan Lollgen, won the Sussex County competition for the second straight year, while the Debate Team, under the direction of Ari Reinstein, were 2011 Debate Champions. The World Language Honor Society inducted 80 new members and the National Honor Society inducted 67 new members. The Russian Olympiad students, under the direction of Eric Hood and William Brennan, earned 56 gold medals, 33 silver medals, and 7 bronze medals. The Future Business Leaders of America Club, under the direction of Sharon Richmond, participated in the Northern Regional Competition and received a first place in Personal Finance. Sparta’s Distributive Education Clubs of America chapter, under the direction of Donna Smith and Sandra Chiappini, had several finalists and national qualifiers at its national competition this year. The group also had first, second, and third place winners in Sparta’s Youth Business Competition. The Jazz Band, Blues Inc!, under the direction of Deborah Gianuzzi, was ranked fifth in the state. The 'Blues Sanction’ Jazz Band, under the direction of Andrew Lopez, won a gold rating and outstanding rhythm section. The Marching Band ranked in the state’s top five for the second straight year. Several athletic teams won sectional and division championships and several coaches were named coach of the year. (See box for list of awards.) 2011 class Valedictorian Erika Veidis was presented the Distinguished Student Award by Councilman Gil Gibbs at the board meeting on behalf the Sparta Township Council. Veidis has distinguished herself in academics and in field and track at the high school and will attend Harvard University in the fall. Sparta students won the Champions for Charity contest for the second year, collecting 11,604 pounds of food through their “Stuff the Bus” program. County Freeholder Jeff Parrot presented the students with a trophy at the board meeting. Tobin said, “I am extremely proud of the accomplishments and contributions of our staff and students this year both in the classroom and outside the classroom. The academic success in the classroom speaks highly of the efforts of our teachers and students. In addition, I have always been most proud of our entire Sparta school community for their volunteer community service efforts such as our “Stuff the Bus” County food drive contributions.” Successful prom The first-ever combination junior-senior prom went off without a hitch last Friday night at the Parsippany Sheraton Hotel. Tobin said, “It was nice to see over 400 hundred of our high school students have a nice time at the Prom and conduct themselves in such an exemplary manner.” Curriculum changes Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum Development, Dr. Kathleen Monks discussed the district’s curriculum renewal plan and new courses that will be implemented to meet changing state core content standards. Financial Literacy will now be a graduation requirement and sophomores will begin taking the course this fall. Geophysical science will now be replaced by Environmental Science as a graduation requirement. A new math program titled “enVision Math” by Scott Forseman will be implemented for K - third graders. The high school Latin program is being phased out and Algebra II will no longer be a graduation requirement. A full report on all the changes is available in the Curriculum Committee minutes on the district’s Web site at

    Athletic Awards
    Basketball: Brian Brennan, Coach of the Year
    Bowling: (Jerry Carter, coach) Sectional Champions
    Ice Hockey: (Mike Young, coach) Division Champions
    Lacrosse: (Chris Bivonna and Kate Brennan, coaches) Boys and Girls teams won Divisional Championships
    Boys’ Soccer: Andrew Lowery, Coach of the Year
    Softball: (Rick Poots, coach) NJAC American Division Champions, North I Group III State Sectional Champions, NJ State Baseball/Softball Umpires Association Harry Nowick Award for professionalism, sportsmanship, and great overall year
    Girls’ Tennis: (Jeff Hughes, coach) NJAC champions
    Boys’ Tennis: (Joe Fennel, coach) Hunterdon/Warren/Sussex Boys’ Tennis Tournament, 1st and 2nd Singles Champions
    Girls’ Spring Track: (Rich Heckman, coach) North I Group III Sectional Champions
    Volleyball: Kate Brennan, Coach of the Year, NJAC Champions and Sportsmanship Award
    Wrestling: (Frank Ciaburri, coach) Sportsmanship Award