Friday, December 23, 2016

Sparta Basketball Has A Rough Start This Year...

Sparta boys basketball has a really rough schedule this year. Opening up against the number one team in Morris County, home against Randolph and then playing the number two team Morristown is a very challenging way to start a season. 
After losing a tight game to Randolph at home and then suffering another loss at Morristown, Sparta is not off to a perfect start. However the players and coaches involved are all very resilient and want to win. Coach Brennan has high hopes going into the holiday tournament hosted by Roxbury. 
Despite a tough start, the Spartans are determined to come out strong and continue to give maximum effort all the time.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Make Sure To Try The Spinach, Not Just Plain Old Kidney Beans! DECEMBER 9-16 HAPPENINGS!

Article By: Will Nichols

On Friday December 9, we had an assortment of such going on at Sparta High School. Juniors in gym soccer took experience to the next level. Here at Sparta High School, we do a little bit of everything! Hours and minutes went by, classes and such, and then lunch took over.

10:45 AM: Drum roll please…………….
Snapple fact : The only bird that can see the color blue is the owl.

Everybody gobbled down their lunch, and skated to class.
In History we learned about the Great Depression, oh how greatly depressing that is!

Great history, because now I present to you this week in history.

December 7th 1941
Japan bombed Pearl harbor at 7:55 a.m.

December 9th 1922
1,800 United States Marines arrive in Mogadishu, Somalia, to spearhead a multinational force aimed at restoring order in the conflict-ridden country.

December 11th 1998
Our very own senior of Sparta High, Kristin Smith was born. Happiest of birthdays, Kristin!  

December 12
On this day in 1980, American oil tycoon Armand Hammer pays $5,126,000 at auction for a notebook containing writings by the legendary artist Leonardo da Vinci.

On Friday evening December 9th, we took a stroll down memory lane, to see the movie Home alone at Sparta High School.
It was a blast, and the student council did a great job!
It was not very well attended unfortunately, and not many juniors showed up. It was unique, and if something new happens from student council make sure to try the spinach, and don’t go back to your plain old kidney beans! We here like to explore the fun, danger, intelligence, and slimy encounters of this town of Sparta!

The moment we’ve all been waiting for! Teenagers love to light things on fire! It’s calming to us, but our parents would throw the 5 hour long speech on why we shouldn’t do that . I’m going to show you how we did that in Sparta High School, in our very own Biomedical Science Class, and you can throw it back at your parents!
Well below you see a pepsi can, that was filled with water. We had placed a temperature indicator in the pepsi can, which was attached to a computer programming box, which was plugged into the computer via USB port. We then placed Goldfish on a metal rod, under the pepsi can which was being held in place, and we lit the goldfish on fire.  This was to determine the amount of kilocalories, Joules, and energy in one goldfish based on the temperature in Celsius, but you  just like to skip all technical stuff, and look at the flaming photograph.


On Saturday December 17th 2016 , Henry Heimlich unfortunately went to the big cloud in the sky at 96 years old. Henry was a surgeon who invented the Heimlich Maneuver. It is still used today as a mechanism to reverse choking, and help cough it up. Lets all give Henry a round of applause.   


As we wrap the story up we see christmas lights Evergreen trees at our own Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church. Lets remember to give enormous joy on this Holiday season, and look forward to the upcoming break.  


Conducted and Written By: Lauren Groff 

With the holiday break drawing nearer and nearer, the students of Sparta High are starting to get antsy. Winter break, the most anticipated recess of the year aside from summer, is here. Here is a survey conducted this week to all students of Sparta High.

Of the students surveyed , 86% answered that they were staying in Sparta this break, and 14% recorded going away. Regardless of whether you're staying home or not over this next week, enjoy yourself and make sure to spend time with your friends and family. Happy holidays and New Year from everyone at the Oracle. Until next week!

Monday, December 19, 2016

S.H.S. Shark Tank Ready to Operate

The new shark tank gives off a bluish hue in the media center.

Recently, the science wing of Sparta High School has been able to fund a shark tank that is to be installed in the media center. It is a great way for biology students to understand the ecosystems in which sharks inhabit.

Mishka Mysh, a student who works with the tanks in the media center, told the Oracle that the tank was installed thanks to an Sparta Education Foundation grant.

Mishka also told us that the sharks will be delivered to the school in two weeks, meaning that just after winter break, S.H.S. is going to have some new aquatic residents. No names have been given to the sharks yet, but I for one am hoping for a name like, “Jaws.”

Sunday, December 18, 2016

S.H.S. Honors Choir Sings Around Sparta

A few weeks ago, the Honor’s Choir here at S.H.S had the opportunity to sing at the annual meeting of the Sparta Township Women's Club, to sing a sample of what they will perform at their Winter Concert later in the month. The show lasted half an hour, but it was enough time for the choir to show off the expertise and professionalism within their music.

Mrs. Lopez, director of the Honor’s Choir, had this to say on the event, “It feels good to do something for the community and see them enjoy us and enjoying music, and I think we made their day.”

The next stop was WSUS, where they performed one again, but this time to the entire tri state area, and truly showed off the pinnacle of their talent.

If you want to see just how amazing the Honors Choir is at singing, the Choir Concert is this wednesday at 7:00.

Thursday, December 15, 2016



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 *pictured- Will McKenna, Jamie Rennie, Bayleigh Takacs, Liam Armstrong and Andrew Lopuch. 

Sparta High School's Student Council sponsored a school-wide toy drive to support Project Self Sufficiency's Season of Hope. The officers worked hard to raise $800.00 to shop for the drive. Executive Board Officers, Brendan Puzcz, Will McKenna, Liam Armstrong and Kristin Smith shared the responsibility of shopping; but, all grade level officers collected funds. The team worked together to provide 176 toys to help local families in need this holiday season.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Meet A Department Supervisor: Mr.Lauricella

Mr.Lauricella is Sparta’s new social studies, world language and ESL supervisor. Mr.Lauricella stressed that the door is always open for students to come in. His office is right across from the culinary room. The staff at The Oracle warmly welcomes him to Sparta.

Q: How did you decide to become a supervisor?
A: I thought that I could make a bigger impact in a supervisor role. In a classroom, you can only make an affect on your set of students, 130 or however many students you may have. So as a  supervisor you sort of have a little more reach and can make a little more change on a bigger scale.

Q: You’re only human. What are your hobbies outside of school?
A: I’m a big sports person, I like skiing, I spent a lot of time this summer on the beach...I just got married in October, there’s a lot going on. I’m more than happy to engage with the students at any given time.

Q: What’s the most interesting social studies class? Why is it intriguing to you?
A: My favorite one to teach was always US II. I always liked US II because of the content area, the setup of the United States and power I always found very interesting. (Editor’s Note: Mr.Lauricella took Spanish in high school! Relatable to students, he doesn’t remember a ton of Spanish. He believes world language is still a critical component as language and culture is very important, especially with the world becoming so globalized.)

Q: What advice would you have for ESL students that face some difficulties?
A: Continue trying to immerse yourself in the language. It can be very uncomfortable when you’re first trying to immerse yourself in a language, especially English as it is incredibly difficult. Keep on being persistent, cause it’s not easy!

Q: Where were you before you came to Sparta High School?
A:  I was a teacher at Passaic High School, an inner-city high school, I taught all high school grades, 9,10,11, and 12. I taught 8th grade in Ridgewood and then I transferred here.

Q: What attracted you to SHS?
A: Sparta is a top district in the state of New Jersey so that’s very attractive. Coming from Ridgewood I didn’t want to take a step down in terms of quality of school district and I definitely did not.

Q: Are there any political or social issues you’re passionate about?
A: I’m relatively involved in the political process. I think it’s important for us to be involved and informed as citizens so that’s a passion of mine for everyone. With our new presidential administration coming in there’s a lot going on, so it’s important to be involved and know what’s going on. I have a big passion for international travel and meeting other people from different cultures - I think that’s important as citizens of the U.S to experience things outside the U.S.

Q: What’s the freshest approach you’re bringing to Sparta High?
A: I care about the students. A student-centered approach is important, I wanna also maximize the strengths of my teachers - the things that my teachers do well I want them to continue doing, and I wanna improve in the areas where they may need some improvement. I want to increase administrative-student relationships; as a teacher I built very strong relationships with students, some of who I am still in touch with today, it’s hard in this position where i am not seeing students on a day-to-day basis to build that relationship. Students can stop on by to chat.

Q: What advice would you give to students who may be struggling in class?
A: It’s based on a case-by-case scenario. I can’t give a straight blank answer to that, but I’m more than happy to listen to the concerns of the students and I encourage them to come down to meet the needs of the student and balance things out. The door may not always physically be open, but the door is always open to the students if they need to discuss.  

A Superintendent With Sincerity: An Interview With Dr.Rossi

Stepping in as Sparta’s new district supervisor, Dr.Rossi is just as excited to be in Sparta as we are to have him. With his infectious laugh, excitement to see student success, and a strong drive in work ethic, Sparta schools have a bright future ahead. The Oracle excitedly welcomes Dr.Rossi to the Spartan family.

Q: Tell us a little about your career path.
A: I’ve been in education for 29 years. I began teaching middle school in Massachusetts, while I taught during the day, I coached basketball at Tufts University for four years. I returned to New Jersey (native-born) and taught in the Randolph district while coaching their basketball program as well. After my time in Randolph, I was a professor at Centenary College as an professor of education, teaching courses to teachers on how to teach! I worked at Roxbury as a principal and then a superintendent. During all this, I was in school myself earning my PhD in education! (Editor’s Note: Dr. Rossi mostly taught social sciences and history when he served as an educator in the middle and high school levels.)

Q: Many of our teachers are currently attending graduate school! It truly shows dedication. What would you say to teachers who are earning the next step in their degrees?
A: Take it one day at a time. You’re a student again, but you’re still a teacher. It can get overwhelming to look at a large timeline. It can be challenging for sure, but it’s all about finding a perfect balance.

Q:What made you choose to get into education?
A: My father and sister were teachers and my brothers were coaches. Some of my best mentors in life were my teachers and coaches! You learn from them and then you make your own position - it’s really a position of leadership.

Q: What is your favorite part of your profession?
A: Meeting all the people - teachers, parents, students. I love supporting the fundraisers and I am big on attendance; attending all the games I can and seeing the musicals. I like to see student involvement (inside and outside of the classroom) in the community. By being present in the school and at school events, you discover new things. You can see a student in elementary school and then watch them graduate from high school - it’s wonderful.

Q: What aspirations do you have for Sparta’s district?
A: For the rest of this year I want to focus on getting to know people - members of the Booster Club, parents in the town, the students...I want to be invested within our community. Furthermore I would like to take a step with technology - get every student their own Chromebook which they can use at school and take home. Overall I want to update and stay up to date with the facilities and promote culture and climate. There are pressures for teachers in having to be prepared and on the cutting edge of things. I want to ensure teachers have everything they will need - in terms of supplies, as much professional development as needed, anything.

Q: What is your best memory from your years in education?
A: In all, to experience a program as it unfolds with the students. To see something through the eyes of a student, to see all their hard really makes for an awesome vibe and pulse of the building.

Q: What is the hardest decision you’ve had to make?
A: It is really hard to deal with a financial struggle where we have to reduce our offerings and staffing. It’s never fun. It affects so many students. It’s a zero sum proposition.

Q: Tell us a story about a standout student.
A: I have many, many students in mind, but one at the top is Kelsey Bailey. It was in 2011 at my time in Roxbury, and we were struggling to get our budget passed. As a senior who would be leaving in a matter of months anyway, she spent five whole weekends putting together and handing out flyers, speaking to groups, getting her fellow students that were of age 18 to sign a petition, wrote letters to the editor - seriously, every time I saw Kelsey, her backpack was overflowing with flyers! I believe Kelsey is the reason why that year our budget was finally approved, for the first time in a long time.

Q: What would you say to teachers in handling all the national, state and local standards?
A: It will all fall into place. The magic is in the teacher, not in curriculum.  I never once worried about the standardized tests. It’s important to have good, caring teachers that make the content relevant. Teachers have to answer two common questions: “why do we need to know this?” and “when will we ever use this?”, if they can answer that, everything will come full circle. On my last day at Randolph, after the final exam I had a student tell me, “You know Mr.Rossi, you tricked us into learning all year.” By getting compliments, you know you have done what you need to fulfill as a teacher.

Sunday, December 11, 2016


Article By: Sean Hannon 

Arrival is the critically acclaimed film by the director Denis Villeneuve, known for other pieces such as Sicario and Enemy. The film stars Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner as the two main characters. The movie is very plot oriented while nearly everything else takes a back seat to it. That may seem like a negative point, but the plot is interesting enough to hold its own.

Dr. Louise Banks, played by Amy Adams, is one of the world's top linguists with many books on the topic of language. She is teaching a class when news breaks of alien objects landing in 12 spots in the world. It is discovered that these are space ships. The government calls for Louise to try and translate their language to communicate. The plot becomes very complicated from there and I won't leak any spoilers!
The more I think about this film the more I like it. First of all the plot of Arrival is very interesting, I would not like say anything too specific about it to ruin your experience prior to tuning in! The characterization mainly focuses on Louise Banks as she is mostly the character that the plot surrounds. The entire process of translation is interesting and always keeps the viewer engaged. The viewer knows that something can go wrong, for example, many government officials don't trust the aliens and would prefer to take up military action against them. There is also an abundance of foreshadowing of events which makes the plot feel very odd up until the end(in the best way possible).

As previously stated, the movie is plot oriented so almost everything else takes a back seat. If you have come to this movie expecting the War of the Worlds you will be horribly disappointed. Most other characters are uncharacterised which can make them very uninteresting. Some of the cinematography is off, for example, some scenes are completly out of focus for no legitimate reason. For the first half of the movie, the plot seems very run of the mill but it speeds up at the end so keep in mind that the movie can be slow at first.

If you have come to this movie for anything but the plot you should not watch. But if you are somewhat interested in the plot, I cannot recommend the film more. It is a masterpiece in plot that will make you think about the movie for days on end.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Four T.V. Show Reboots You Have To Add To Your List On Netflix

Article By: Kanita Tariq 

2016 has been the year of television revivals that not only are hilariously cheesy, but also serve as great conversation starters with relatives - besides, of course, the occasional, “Who did you vote for?” and “Seriously, how much time do you spend on that phone?”. Here is a list of 5 spin-offs you can start enjoying or look forward to with family this holiday season:

  1. Fuller House: The beloved show Full House aired from 1987 to 1995 and quickly became a family favorite. It’s spin-off, taking place twenty-one years after the last episode. Fuller House focuses on widowed D.J. Tanner attempting to raise her three sons, in the same boat as her father almost three decades earlier (even in the same home!). After a well-received first season, a second season is underway and set to air this month on Netflix. The show is both family-friendly and nostalgic to lovers of the original, perfect for a holiday marathon.
  1. Gilmore Girls: A Year in The Life: The energetic and coffee-addicted single mom and daughter return to the small screen eight years later, giving fans an ending the show truly deserved. Reunited with the original cast, take a trip back to Stars Hollow with four 90-minute episodes for lots of tears, laughs, and love throughout the year, with hilarious current pop references and fast talking that you’ll have no trouble keeping up with.
  1. That’s So Raven: This reboot will have us all revisit our childhood starring everyone’s favorite psychic, Raven Baxter, as a divorced mother with two children both inheriting her visionary skills. There is little information out about the spin-off, but rest assured, a Raven reunion is definitely in your future!

  1. Girl Meets World: A major cringe for some, but for others it is an ode to the characters we all adore from the original sitcom, Boy Meets World. Starring a new and younger cast as well as returning characters in supporting roles, Girl Meets World brings back the moral compass that had been missing from our lives since 2000. This is probably one for the younger siblings, but if you watched the original show, it is perfect to reminisce.

All shows currently airing are available on Netflix, so sign into your account and wrap up in your holiday sweater to enjoy a number of shows with your family, ones that all ages can enjoy!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Sparta's Secret Spots

    Think Sparta High is made up of textbooks, teachers and torture? Think again. Let's discover some hidden places in our awesome community.

 Less of a surprise, the Sculpture Garden holds more secrets than it is a secret. An escape in itself, students retreat to the Sculpture Garden particularly during lunch (in the warm weather) either alone to zone out or with friends to unwind from a stressful day. The mini utopia was built in 2008 by Sparta High Students. This came along with the school's major reconstruction while we were merely just elementary school students! It allowed Sparta's art alumni to have a lasting impact on the school that held so many memories for them.

You gotta go when you gotta go, would you ever go in the link? Did you even know there were bathrooms there? It's likely you've passed right by them - students choose it as their last-resort bathroom. Especially girls, there are no mirrors in there! How will we ever adjust that huge sock bun?

Chances are, if you've been through the secondary entrance in the front of the school or went a little too far before turning to the music hallway, you've seen an estranged door all in a hallway by itself. No secret here - it's really just a back entrance/exit to the main office.

The silent rooms in the choir and orchestra rooms are silent in two respects: mainly, for musicians to practice their music all in their own comfort where no one can hear them, and the fact that they are physically "silent" - if you don't pay attention, you may never really notice them. They are placed just on the sides of the rooms.

Sometimes, students are in a strange level of wonder. Ever sat in class, reading a particularly uninteresting book, and wonder why you had to read this book? Couldn't the school just have exactly enough books for everyone but you? Where do all these books even come from? Have no fear, we have the answers! A door at the end of the English hall holds all the books you will ever read in English class, with extras, don't fret, and more.

While the English and Math departments have their distinct workrooms, (knock first!) so does history, though it differs. It's more of a walk in closet - the one everyone dreams of having - for printers, copiers, papers and more. Many of the history teachers coined the name "Narnia" for their workroom.

Ever heard of The Pit? Not your Pit - save that to yourselves! The Pit is where Sparta High's orchestra and band is typically housed during school musicals. An audience member may not even notice it! It is in front of the typical stage, yet somewhat below.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Students of Sparta: Jimmy Apostolico

   If you know him, you love him for his polite shyness and the rosy cheeks that accompany it. I sat down with Jimmy Apostolico to find out what the junior sees himself pursuing after school - when he is not playing golf. 

   "Reflecting on high school, the teachers here make science enjoyable. Specifically Mr.Brady, who made chemistry fun. It's one of the reasons I want to pursue a career as a doctor. Any kind of doctor, really - I'm not sure yet. I could either be like Ben Carson (because he separated conjoined twins) or my backup plan would be to become a lawyer because my mom is one. My dad is a financial planner, but it's not my thing. After all this, I'm just gonna work to become successful."

Friday, December 2, 2016

Night With The NJ Devils

Article By: Lauren Groff

As fall sports have come to an end and Thanksgiving has passed, the Sparta Education Foundation has just announced 2017’s Night With the NJ Devils ! The Devils will be taking the ice against the Columbus Blue Jackets on March 5th 2017 at the Prudential Center in Newark.Tickets cost $47 per person, a portion of each ticket will go towards benefiting SEF. The ticket includes:

  • A 200 level seat with the rest of the SEF group who purchased tickets
  • A NJ Devils group gift
  • The chance to take a shot on goal after the game is over!

For only $47, you will have a unique and fun night out that you can spend with friends and/or family! In addition to the unique experiences offered, this is a DISCOUNTED ticket price! Talk about bang for your buck! Tickets must be ordered by February 9th. So come out for a fun night of ice hockey, and help support the foundation that makes our school so great.

Order your tickets here :

Wednesday, November 30, 2016


    Sparta High School's 2016-107 Olympian Yearbook is available for order! Make it one-of-a-kind by adding your name and up to four icons to the cover. The personalization deadline is February  24, 2017.
   Yearbooks can only be purchased online - extra yearbooks will not be ordered for purchase at the end of the school year. Buy your yearbook before its too late at ! Direct any questions to Mrs.Sclafani in room 252 or via

Friday, November 25, 2016


Conducted and Written by: Lauren Groff 

   With the school year in full swing, one thing pretty much any Spartan can tell you is that they feel rushed to get to their busses after the dismissal bell. As a matter of fact, most students do not visit their lockers after their last period class, leading them to carry all of their books for not only the second half of the day, but their homework from their morning classes as well. Out of the students interviewed, 93% of students agreed that the time allotted between the last period of the day and bus departure should be increased.

When asked for her stance on the issue, freshman Camryn Gundry quoted, “I leave my coat in my locker and I have to run back to get it. The process is unnecessarily stressful.” Most likely, Camryn is not the only student who faces this issue… who wants to lug around extra books and coats for the entire second half of the day just to catch the bus in time? The statistics have proved themselves - Spartans should be given more time to get to their busses after dismissal. Until next week!