Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Willkommen (and) Joie de Vivre! MARDI GRAS CELEBRATIONS

Written by: Elise Kerim 

In honor of the Mardi Gras festivities taking place in their focus countries, the French and German Clubs planned parties that mirrored the events taking place back home. The event took place on Tuesday, February 13, the day of Mardi Gras.

In Monsieur Wessels' room, the French club members celebrated Carnaval by listening to Zouk, a fast style of dance music which originated in Martinique while socializing and indulging in Belgian waffles, Madeline cookies, sweet and savory croissants, and cinnamon rolls.

Nuriel Rosenberg, Natalie Strouse, Melissa

Natalie Strouse & Mr. Wessels enjoying
treats made by French club members.

In the party next door at Frau Wessels' class, German club members watched the Karneval parade that was currently taking place while discussing the differences in culture from different German-speaking cultures. When asked about the celebration of Karneval in Germany, Frau explains that, "[the] Thursday before Carnival starts, girls take control over their cities (especially in cities like Cologne). The mayor of each city officially gives the key to their Carnival  princess, who cut off the ties of the mayor's in return for a kiss on the cheek." After describing the tradition that takes place in most major cities, Frau emphasizes that, "Carnival  is a week-long event. There are huge parades, everyone is partying... it's a happy occasion that lasts until Ash Wednesday. When it's over, they begin planning for Carnival in the next year!"

Whether it's in Nice, Rhineland, or New Orleans, people will sure be celebrating with les collier de perles (bead necklace), eine Parade beobachten (watching a parade), and eating festive foods!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Small Ways To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Written by: Fiona Sipple

Global warming is a true issue that faces society today, even in our own community. By counteracting some of your carbon emissions, you can diminish your carbon footprint and be the change that Mother Earth so desperately needs. There are many aspects in your life where you can cut back, such as the food you eat, home energy, and travel.

If you find yourself needing to be somewhere close to home, walking or biking is the better option not only for our planet, but for your health. Carpooling as well as taking public transportation can be another way to distribute carbon emissions among more people. Even small things, like running all of your errands in one trip on one day can cut down on CO2!

Reducing Home Energy
When you are not in a certain room or not using any light in that room, you can turn it off. The next time a light needs to be changed, suggest trying LED lights. Sometimes, just turning off the air conditioning and opening up a few windows can be more efficient. Investing in solar panels is another way to reduce carbon emissions, while they may be costly in the end, you get free energy from the sun which pays itself off.

Reducing Your Carbon Footprint from Food  
By eating locally grown or organic food, you are helping to cut down on CO2 from production and food transportation. Cutting down on your beef and dairy intake is another great way to help the environment, as cows take up the largest amount of farming land in the United States. Due to their diets, cows burp out small amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas that deteriorates the Earth's atmosphere.

Other Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
Simple things such as recycling paper and plastic bottles can not only lessen your carbon footprint, but also cut back on the amount of litter. Approximately 29% of greenhouse gas emissions is from the provision of goods and the transportation of goods. By recycling, the need to extract resources from the Earth decreases.

It’s Up to You
There is always something that can be done to protect the environment. By taking steps to reduce your carbon emissions, it makes you aware of the effect that every single person has on the planet and helps you be more conscious when making every day decisions.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Bravo For Broadway Night!

Written by: Lauren Groff

   Last Tuesday night, the Sparta High School Auditorium was filled with the sounds of clapping, dancing, and show tunes. For the second consecutive year in a row, the Sparta High School Choir hosted "Broadway Night", hosted by choir director Laura Lopez. Given its name, members of the SHS Woman's Choir, Concert Choir, and Honors Choir each performed a choreographed number to a well-known Broadway song.
   Students were given the option to prepare their own solos, duets, trios, or small ensemble groups separate from the larger choir numbers choreographed in class. Some of these students include Junior Taylor Brady, Junior Lomaani Ranasinghe, Senior Nina Strowe, and Senior Erin Vreeland in their performance of "Mama, I'm A Big Girl Now" from Hairspray the Musical. "We would rehearse every day at lunch and we had to go buy the costumes and decide who had the right voice to sing each part," Brady notes of the experience. "It was really fun to be on stage and perform. It was scary, but I'm so glad I did it!"
   Tickets were sold for eight dollars per person, and all of the funds were allocated towards the choirs' highly anticipated trip to Disney World in Orlando, Florida. In addition to Broadway Night, Lopez and her students have organized other benefit events and fundraisers throughout the year in an effort to help aid the cost of the trip including a Holiday Spectacular event as well as Yankee Candle and Ashley Farms sales this past December. With another benefit concert behind them, the Sparta Choirs have their sights set on their next endeavor: lugging seventy-five Spartans on a plane from New Jersey to Florida on a new and exciting learning experience!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Students of Sparta: Mallory Collins

You know Mallory, even if you don't really know Mallory. She's the senior that is always wearing an amazing outfit - making you look down at yourself and second guessing your outfit -  we want to know how putting them together comes so naturally to her! For Mallory, clothes are a way of self-expression. The past two years, Mallory has taken pre-college courses at the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC and made life-long friends while pursuing something she is passionate about. That's her niche - once everyone finds theirs, high school becomes a little more easy.

Many students find themselves in a different friend group every year. Sometimes it can be exciting, but other times it can be upsetting - it all depends on the circumstances. But people change through the years, obviously, I have! We all have changed so much since we were pre-teens to now, young adults; change is good, it's essential as we're growing. Personally, I was really shy during freshman year but over time, I became more outgoing and confident - you can see it in my clothes! My experience at FIT was really when I lost my fear of change. At this "safe place" everyone had the same interest, everyone supported each other...there were no cliques, and we always hung out after class. It's what gets me excited for college, because people may group based on their common interests, but there are no "groups", you know? It's very different. High school students should be mixing more, but there can't be much blame; often, they don't realize they are in a clique and no one is out to get anyone else - there's not a lot of bullying at SHS, it's just more clique-based, that's all. They care about social quotas. When you find yourself and your people, you have one goal: to improve yourself and work on your skills.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

How To Be A Morning Person

Written by: Sarah Dioneda

Morning is an important time of day, because how you spend your morning can often tell you what kind of day you are going to have.” -Lemony Snicket

We all know that school starts too early, especially for high schoolers. It’s even scientifically proven; as the internal clock for teenagers shifts, the harder it is for them to get up. Although we can’t change the time school starts, we can give you some tips on how to enjoy mornings a little bit more, or at least not completely hate it.

  1. Do what you can at night.
A huge problem that many students encounter in the mornings is the fact that we are always rushing. Between remembering to grab gym clothes, your History project, that essay that was printed last night, etc... by doing this, you end up having no time for breakfast, to make your bed, and as you are already halfway to the school, the realization that you forgot to grab your sports uniform out of the dryer hits you. If this sounds remotely close to you, then obviously you’re not alone.
This habit is overwhelming and stressful, and that is no way to start a morning. Instead, try preparing everything at night. Put your gym clothes, uniform, essay, (or whatever you need for the next day) into your bag. Leave your project next to it so you can remember to grab it.
Also, if you can, do all of your homework at night. If you count on finishing that Bio project at five in the morning, you’re risking the fact you may or may not wake up on time. Mornings should be used as a tool to make your day good. Focus on the simple, calming things, like eating breakfast or making your bed.

  1. Try sleeping earlier.
I know; it’s easier said than done. Except, the only way you can truly start to become a morning person is if you get a full rest at night. If you’re overwhelmed and stressed with your work, prioritizing it and eliminating procrastination from your routine can really help you get to bed early. Click here to read an article that gives some tips on how to stop procrastinating

  1. Your alarm will make or break you.
Your alarm is what wakes you up every single school day. You don’t want loud, annoying beeps and siren sounds as the first thing you hear in the morning. Try changing your alarm to music you like, preferably something calmer so you’re not too tense first thing when you wake up.
Another helpful tip is to put your alarm far away from you across the room. That way, you’re eventually forced to get up to turn it  off. I put my alarms to classical music, and I let it play for a while, as I adjust and stretch before I get out of bed. It’s a calm and relaxing way to start the day in the morning.
Bonus tip: How to use your alarm to wake up earlier. If you’re used to waking up at 6:30, and need to start waking up at around 5:45, try to gradually make your alarm earlier each day (maybe each week if you need to) until it reaches 5:45. For example, on Monday, set your alarm for 6:15, then on Tuesday, 6:00, and then Wednesday, 5:45. You can make these intervals shorter and the periods of adjustment longer if need be.

  1. The snooze button is your enemy.
You’ve probably heard this advice before. Pressing snooze is a bad habit, and it will just leave you craving more sleep. Think of it this way: by snoozing, you’re tricking your mind into thinking you’re going back to sleep, and that will just make you tired even more. Instead, try disabling the snooze button or ignoring it. It will be hard to adjust at first, but in the end, it’s going to help you.

  1. Breakfast is your friend, not a chore.
Eating in the morning gives you energy to start your day. Although that is a relatively known fact, many people don’t follow it. I know a lot of people who skip breakfast, solely because they have no time or they don’t like breakfast foods. If you have no time, see above. If you don’t like breakfast foods, then eat something you like. Your body doesn’t care that the food you put in your body is normally designated for dinner; your body needs fuel, so give it some. Breakfast, for me, is a great incentive to get out of bed. It’s something that I can look forward to and know I will enjoy. Start the day right, and eat your breakfast.

School is hard already as it is. Your mornings don’t have to be, too.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Sparta Launches Online Scheduling Procedure

Written by: Kanita Tariq 

It’s that time of year again! The scheduling procedure for the 2018-2019 school year has begun, a process most Sparta students have become routinely familiar with.

Selecting the right classes is more important than one may think. When choosing courses, it is vital to remember to keep track of graduation requirements, experiment with electives to uncover future career interests, and prepare for college - a reality that is approaching quicker than can be realized.

For incoming sophomores, it is time to start thinking about the Financial Literacy requirement, by either selecting the semester course or completing it online through the Money University program. Electives wise, it is best to immediately fulfill the 21st Century Skills and Visual/Performing Arts requirements so in your junior and senior years, you can take classes you really want. Now that you have experienced freshman courses, as tenth-graders you can either choose to take more intro classes or advanced levels in appealing subjects. On top of that, sophomores are fortunate enough to learn the ins and outs of driving during their scheduled health marking period. There is much to look forward to!

Calling all juniors! Not only do you have an increasing variety of English, science, and history electives to choose from, the door of APs is now open. Dive into the AP world and prepare to study for courses you’ve heard horror stories about. Time is ticking! Maybe add an SAT prep course to get ready for the big jump.

Senior year is one of tying up loose ends, as fulfilling graduation requirements is a necessity. Beware! If the Finance Lit. credits are not earned by the end of junior year, the class is automatically scheduled for senior students. CP English is now a realm of electives, and you have an even wider variety of APs to choose from. Got all your grad requirements down? You can sneak in a study hall in your schedule, guilt-free. It’s your last year of high school, and you should make it count - socially and academically.

This year, SHS has began an online scheduling process on Parent Portal. The scheduling tab is open until February 16, after which meetings with counselors will be arranged. The self-selection process is meant to be for electives, as the core classes have been “pre-selected” based on teacher recommendations. Students can refer to the course catalog for class descriptions and are encouraged to also select alternative electives, prioritizing classes on a scale of 1-5. When finished, students should submit their selections, and await their meeting with counselors to review them.

The new online procedure is meant to be an effective, speedy, and convenient tactic to schedule classes for the upcoming year and gets rid of the sheets of papers previously used to select courses. As we struggle with making decisions that can potentially affect our entire academic careers, scheduling remains an exciting prospect for all.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Waste? So Last Season.

Written by: Chloe Maher 

Why throw out your old clothes when you can upcycle, reuse, or even donate? This article is just chock full of ways to repurpose those old things you have lying around!

DONATE. With so many people in need, why not give them away? There’s a donation bin at Our Lady of the Lake. Youths in need would likely much appreciate something you have no use for. We are the change - your fashion can bring a smile and sense of confidence to a teen less fortunate than you.

MAKE EXTRA CASH. Plato’s Closet is a thrift/consignment store located in Ledgewood. They purchase brands such as American Eagle, Hollister, and Abercrombie and then resell them to other teens. Get your parents to drop off old clothes there and see if they’d like to purchase them. It's the perfect way to make some extra money!

UPCYCLE. There are so many ways you can repurpose old clothes, even if you’re not particularly adept at sewing, here are just a few: