Sparta High School honors graduates serving in the military

| 30 Sep 2011 | 09:43

SPARTA — Memorial Day is all about remembering those that serve our country. One local mom, Patrica Kane, with assistance by Matthew Pait from the Kon Corporation, a local technology company, teamed up to pay tribute to Sparta’s military graduates by designing and displaying an Honor Wall in the cafeteria of the newly renovated Sparta High School. Kane is the mother of Frank (SHS Class of 2006), who entered the Marine Corps in May 2007, and Mike (SHS Class of 2011). Pat Kane originally conceived of the idea in the winter of 2008. While her son Michael began playing freshman basketball, she had an opportunity to visit the inside of other county high schools. She saw that most had a tribute to their military graduates. Kane inquired if Sparta had something and the answer was no. Right at the time renovations began at Sparta High, she decided it would be a good idea to develop an Honor Wall for Sparta graduates serving in the military. In the spring of 2008, Kane wrote a letter to the school superintendent, board of education members and then-SHS Principal Mr. Lio, asking if Sparta would allow a tribute to military graduates. She received overwhelming support from everyone. At the homecoming football game in the fall of 2008, Kane set up a table for graduates who had served in the military and began collecting names, branch of service and year of graduation. Following that game, an article appeared in The Sparta Independent with her e-mail address requesting names and information on military grads. The article was a success and she received many e-mails, but she knew there had to be many others. She later contacted Mimi Sharpe with the Sparta Education Foundation and placed a message on their alumni page requesting the names of additional graduates. As a result, 80 names were collected and placed on the Honor Wall at Sparta High School. Donna Wainio from Homer’s Restaurant also has a display for Sparta residents who have served in the military. Wainio and Kane worked together to determine which service members graduated from Sparta High. Design and production Kane contacted Matthew Pait, a graduate of Sparta High School and founder of the Kon Corporation ( for advice on the project. Pait, known as a guru in tech and production, suggested that his company take care of the design. “It was easy to go ahead with this project because over half of my people are ex-military or have worked with them,” he said. “There was a lot of excitement to be involved. The Kon Corporation is a pro-military shop.” The Kon Corporation is a New Jersey technology company that provides tech, productions and media services in projects across the country. The company’s target markets are educational, financial, legal and the military. In September 2010, with Principal Dennis Tobin’s final approval, a permanent Wall of Honor was installed in Sparta High School dedicated to “the unselfish men and women of Sparta High School who have heroically given years of service to our country.” Call to action If you are a Sparta High School Alumni who has served in the military and your name is not on this list of current honorees, contact with your name, branch of service, and the year graduated to be added to the Honor Wall.