Monday, May 14, 2018

Sparta High School Hosts Annual Blood Drive

Written by: Kanita Tariq 

Sparta High School students had the opportunity to donate blood through the New York Blood Center on Thursday, May 3. The blood drive took place all throughout the school day in the annex gym, with student volunteers from the National Honor Society splitting morning and afternoon shifts. NHS President Quinn VanEs and Vice President Kaylynn Pierce worked on checking students in and out, while other members helped escort students to the canteen station after donating.

Quinn and Kaylynn

The canteen served as a station for students to recuperate for 15 minutes with food or drink before heading back to class.

Donors were required to sign up beforehand and were given appointments in advance for throughout the school day. Information was given to sophomores, juniors, and seniors in their gym class. 124 people registered, although some were turned away due to health reasons like low blood pressure. Of the 124 registered, 118 units of blood were collected - more than last year's donations.

Post blood-donation: Seniors Ali Rose, Sarah Haag, and Emily Irwin
Mrs. Kopp, National Honor Society advisor, emphasizes the importance of the annual blood drive in the Sparta High community - "The blood drive's been going on for years, and each year more and more kids are signing up. It's great because they're realizing how important of a cause it is and that they themselves are able to help. We're always so impressed by the students that come out every year to contribute."

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Teacher Appreciation Day!

Written by: Elise Kerim

Today, Tuesday May 8 2018, is known as Teacher Appreciation Day. In 1980, Congress declared the first Tuesday in March to be National Teacher Day until 1985, when the National Parent Teacher Association established the first full week of May to be known as Teacher Appreciation Day.

On Friday, the Sparta PTO will host a brunch for teachers and staff in the building.

It's vital that as students, we take a day to recognize our teachers. Education goes beyond books, lectures, and doing work after hours. It leads to success, and this is evident as college admissions roll in, acceptances to summer programs fall in our laps, Student of the Month nominees are released, and countless of other benefits are seen.

The teachers at Sparta High School are the backbone for our success, and yes, sometimes even the struggle. This is for a good reason - they want to see growth in you, the student. All of the teachers are happy to be here and are here because they want to. Our teachers at Sparta High teach us lessons, but often that lesson is something that a textbook could never touch the surface of. Rather, they teach us lessons about us as people, about morals, and establishing that "I can and I will" attitude.

Today, thank the teacher that goes above and beyond class. Smile at the teacher whose class you may be struggling in. Acknowledge the fact that teachers are people, too.

Credit: WRAL Website

Monday, May 7, 2018

Spartans Secured...By The Best!

Written by: Elise Kerim

Like most students now, Sparta High School security guards Mr. Dan Zill and Mr. Scott Sullivan (widely known and appreciated in the building by their first names) were once just figuring things out. Dan went to the army straight after high school, whereas Scott went to college, but took a break in his second year to join the Police Academy. Eventually, he went back to earn both his Bachelors and Masters in Criminal Justice.

After he retired as a lieutenant from the Vernon Township Police Department after 28 years, Dan knew he would eventually need something to do, but was out of work and not planning to work. He soon received a phone call from his peer, Officer Drossel, about a security position at Sparta High School and decided to apply. Currently, Dan is in the building from 6:30 - 2:30 to monitor the activity in the morning with buses and in the cafeteria and his big thing, checking to ensure no doors are open.
Mr. Dan Zill, SHS Security

Scott is in the building to 8:30 - 4:30 everyday, staying an additional two hours with after school activities. Scott also retired as a lieutenant from the North Bergen Police Department - but before he applied, he made sure to ask his son, Steven, a senior at Sparta, if it would be alright with him if his dad worked in the same building where he went to school. "Sparta High School is a great school. [Steven] didn't feel it would be a problem."

As a parent in the Sparta School district, Scott already knew a large amount of the students, especially those in the senior class. He looked at me and laughed, "I bet you don't even remember that I was your chaperone for your 8th grade Washington, D.C trip!"

Mr. Scott Sullivan, SHS Security 

The two are constantly on call and monitor building activity as they patrol the school and make sure everyone is safe. Scott said, "Something kids constantly get wrong about our job and should know about us, is that we aren't here to get students in trouble." He continued, "We see things kids are about to do, and we tell them to knock it off before they actually get in trouble with administration." Dan seemed to agree, stating that they've stopped many altercations between students before it gets worse so they aren't subject to administrative action. "You'd be surprised how many times we get students back to class before they get written up." If either of the security guards see students in the hallway for a prolonged period of time, then naturally, they will send the student back to class.

And the biggest issue in high school students today? You may have already guessed it, and they agree: vaping. Scott said, "Students have no idea, nor do doctors have the full idea yet, on what vaping is going to do to your health in the long run."
When finding students vape devices in school, Dan reported that back in September, he found one everyday for a streak of eight days. He isn't sure if students have cut back, or if they've just gotten more sneaky, but he did report that students who are caught vaping on school grounds will automatically will get drug tested.

It is evident that these two put the safety and well being of Sparta students first and foremost. When students were filing back into the building during a recent evacuation drill, Scott escorted students to cross the street. An older woman in a car asked him why "kids who think they are privileged" were allowed to cross the street and not letting her pass - "I told her that for the safety of the children, this was the most appropriate protocol and she would be able to go as soon as every single student had crossed the street." But, the woman was still furious when it came to the safety of the Sparta students. Scott continued with, "Other faculty members noticed me speaking to the woman and called over Mr.Stoner to see if he could talk some sense into her. She really was so upset about you guys crossing the street!"

Above all, the security guards, along with the rest of the staff at Sparta High School, want to make sure students are being safe and smart inside and outside of school. Scott wants students to, "just pay attention. Always be aware of your surroundings."
A big thing for DAN? "Don't open the doors. Even if you know who it is - you don't know what they may have just done."

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

AP CAPSTONE: To What Extent Are Seven AP Students at Sparta High School Done With Their AP Seminar Projects?

Written by: Elise Kerim

Ms. Amber Mauriello's inaugural AP Seminar class recently wrapped up their CollegeBoard Performance Tasks. AP Seminar is part of the AP Capstone Program, where students will earn an AP Capstone certificate for getting a score of a three or better on both the AP Seminar and AP Research exam, and an AP Capstone diploma if they pass three additional exams of their choosing. 

English Supervisor Ms. Mary Hassenplug states, "To be an informed citizen of this world, students need to be able to recognize that issues have multiple perspectives and levels of complexity. That understanding is the primary benefit of the AP Seminar course. Students learn to look at a topic from different points of view and through different lenses, ultimately coming to a more thorough understanding of the topic or issue."

Addressing the current class of seven students, two seniors and five juniors, in AP Seminar, Hassenplug continued with, "I am confident that this pilot group of AP Seminar students will be well-prepared for the rigors of college-level analysis and research, based on the focused work they put into this class. I'm proud of them for taking on the challenge of this new course and look forward to hearing great things about their futures." 

The AP score for the AP Seminar exam comes in three parts:
- A Team Multimedia Presentation plus an Individual Research Report, with each partner investigating a lens, on any topic of their choosing 
- An Individual Written Argument and Individual Multimedia Presentation based upon a common theme of stimulus materials
- The physical sit-down AP exam

Students are given various stimulus materials to read through, examine, and then come up with a theme that the stimuli has in common. From there, students formulate their own thorough research question and conduct research. However, students are not just reporting on credible findings, they are entering the conversation of a real world topic.

These are a few of the research questions students came up with based on the theme of perception:
 - To what extent is the media responsible for the level of distrust in the American federal government?
-  To what extent is police evidence in America used accurately when used in police misconduct cases between police officers and minorities?
- To what extent are technological advancements benefiting the human race?
-To what extent do the advancements of technology in the  media create racial stereotypes?
- How does conventional use of textbooks perpetuate bias regarding conflict based historical events?

Junior Luke Kurian presenting his Individual Multimedia Report. 

Junior Taylor Muse said of the experience, "I feel insanely relieved that we are completely finished with four marking periods of hard work and dedication. Both of our Performance Tasks are done, and it all paid off - hopefully we do well! The research skills I learned in this helps me a lot in other classes, especially when doing other papers." Muse and the other juniors in the class will go on to take AP Research next year, where they will conduct a year-long research project on a topic they are passionate about, working closely with an expert in the related field. 

But, it is not done yet! The class will continue on strong to prepare for their AP exam in just a week, where they will analyze the arguments of various articles and then write their own argument about the topic.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

College Decision Day at SHS

Written by: Elise Kerim 

They've sent their deposits and the senior class at Sparta High School proudly displayed their college apparel today, known as National College Decision Day.

Although the long, stressful process of filling out applications, writing essays, and getting teacher recommendations is long past, it was difficult to pick what college the high school seniors will be attending in fall 2018. There were many factors to consider, but ultimately, seniors made the choice that best suits their needs.
Sofia Cook

Student Council Officers.

Shelby Kapp

Victoria Heim, Julia Galluccio, Delaney Sarafin

Right to left: Shelby Kapp, Taylor McConley, Kelli Vogel, Blake Aschenbach,
Serena Calafati, Hope Nafis, Danielle Francesuctto, Amanda Sandow, Kate Nash.

Seniors, don't let the senioritis hit you too hard - AP exams are just around the corner, and the class of 2018 is sure to excel.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Sparta High School Embraces Bring Your Child To Work Day

Written by: Elise Kerim

The halls of Sparta High School were open to the staff's offspring on Friday, April 27. Children traveled from classroom to classroom, working with their parents and experiencing a day at Sparta High School.

Credit: Mrs. Christy Graham,
Photography Teacher

The school's Media Resource Center was the hub of all the days activities. When it was time to recuperate and relax, the room held activities such as movies and crafts. Children also came to the MRC for a pizza lunch with various snacks.

The opposite of the MRC was the gymnasium, where gym students and the children played an annual game of dodgeball. Student athletes shined in the dodgeball game as they played with the young children, exemplifying true sportsmanship by inducing confidence in them and assisting with their skills.

Credit: Mrs. Christy Graham,
Photography Teacher
The science room conducted various science experiments, where staff of students were amazed by the reactions taking place. To further their creative side, the video production room allowed for the children to create their own version of Sparta High's morning announcements, The Sparta Scoop. The culinary arts room hosted cookie and cupcake decorating.

Over at the Sparta School Store, school store manager Jesse West and advisor Mrs.Chiappini gave away free ice pops to the children, in exchange for them working at the school store. The temporary new employees greeted customers, delivered orders, and learned how to use the cash register.

Each year, the traditions of Bring Your Child To Work Day come alive. The welcoming community of Sparta High School is a fantastic place to bring young children as the school puts together various fun events and high school students enjoy showing the children around.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Students of Sparta: Nadir Hassan

Nadir Hassan has only been a Spartan for a year, moving to Sparta in his junior year, but he is one that we all want to know. Nadir is honest and a genuine young man. After you talk to Nadir, you carry yourself a little better throughout the day as a result of his infectious kindness. 

I transitioned to a completely different community in 2016, and a community that is very different. In my hometown, there were a lot of mixed races which exposed students to different things and different ways of life. As a result, everyone got along because we were accustomed to accept different ideas and beliefs. I'm not sure why, but I've realized that it's different here. Personally, I know that the world doesn't just consist of me. There are other people with different lives. I wouldn't say I feel out of place in my new home, but I know other people who do and that is a tough feeling. I don't think Sparta is a negative community at all - but a lot of people are indifferent. Difference , diversity, and acceptance isn't something that is really a priority that they think about.