Monday, October 24, 2016

Students of Sparta: Humberto Cuadrado and Rounak Jilla

       I sat down with two new students to our community, Humberto Cuadrado and Rounak (better known as "Ron") Jilla. Humberto comes from Florida and Ron moved to Sparta from upstate New York. Being in at least two different school districts, the juniors and I discussed the foundation of what makes a school enjoyable and successful. Text in blue comes from Humberto. Text in green 
comes from Ron. 

    "Man, governing school is quite the task. To be real with you, I feel like it is infallibly made for me. First things first, I would have to teach of all individual students that don't take life seriously a lesson of sorts. They're all youngins who don't know know how the real life works! Take no disrespect! You have to school these kids so they're good people in the world! 
     How are you gonna run a prestigious public school if you don't represent the school? I think that teachers are supposed to be enthusiastic and outgoing. They gotta be able to make sure the kids understand the content, but also make it fun. They gotta be cool. Same thing goes for a principal - he or she gotta be cool. I don't like when no one knows the principal, it's better when everyone knows that person. Like the principal should be cool and approachable but at the same time, you know, it's still the principal. You gotta have a level of respect. It's great when they're cool with you and understand what you're saying.  
    And as far as conflict between students goes, if it was me personally, I would listen to both people but utilize the equipment we have in Sparta- like the cameras. You gotta catch every detail, read lips, do what you have to do to get to the bottom of it. Body language is also a huge part! My dad is a retired detective - he taught me how to find a story in a tough situation. Everyone, Humberto's about to pull out his magnifying glass over here. Watch your backs."

Thursday, October 20, 2016

September Students of the Month

Congratulations to all our Students of the Month! 

The artist of the month is Jeanne Earl. Mrs.Cutillo describes Jeanne as a creative, conscientious student who puts in 100% effort at planning her work. She challenges her art skills with fresh ideas, manages her time appropriately, takes pride in her work and seeks input from her peers and teachers for improvement.

Tiernan Doyle is the recipient for TCCS. Known as the peppy Sparta Scoop anchor, Mr.Krauland condemns Tiernan for his creativity, enthusiasm and passion and describes him as a pleasure to have in class. A senior who always seeks to lend a hand to his peers, Tiernan is hoping to major in broadcast journalism in college.

Representing the English department is Jamie Corter, enrolled in AP Literature & Composition and From the Page to the Stage and elective Musical Theater. A excellent classroom trait of Jamie's is that she fully participates in discussions for her own benefit rather than for the grade. The senior is a pleasure to have in class as she is diligent and committed to learning.

Elise Kerim was awarded the award for the Math department. Mrs.Shatzel says she feels lucky to have the junior as her student for the second consecutive year. Elise is an exceptional student who is always prepared for class, consistently going above and beyond. She is a group leader who graciously helps her peers without being asked to help them. Additionally, Elise does an amazing job creating study guides for summatives which she shares with her peers.

Mr.Hood nominates freshman Shahed Al-Aydi. She has a fine talent for languages, is pleasantly disposed and is very diligent.

Receiving the award for the Music department is Blaze Dalio, a senior well rounded in music. He is a drum major in the SHS marching band, enrolled in AP Music Theory, a member of instrumental and musical groups (ex. Honors Choir and Mens Choir) and is a teachers assistant for concert choir. Blaze is going into music education and clearly proves every interest in learning to prepare himself for the next chapter of his life in college. Beyond his accomplishment, Blaze is overall a great kid with a wonderful work ethic and attitude. The entire music department is impressed by his drive.

Freshman Gerard Deleu received the award for the Science department.

Junior Cole Patten is the PE student of the month. In their football unit, Cole serves as captain and is driving his team to an overall victory. Cole plays as the quarterback and makes long, accurate throws while also making catches to score touchdowns when his team relies on him to score points. At all times Cole shows his classmates respect and exhibits great sportsmanship which "makes" the class.

David Rubin was recognized as the History student of the month who has so far done an outstanding job in Honors World History. Aside from showing a great deal of respect to his peers and Mr.Decrescenzi, David is always eager to participate in class and has shown a genuine sense of inquiry on what is being taught.

Our spotlight athlete of the month is senior Emily Lake, the varsity floor captain in volleyball. A floor caption is chosen by the coach to represent the team and is someone who is above all the other players in terms of respect. Emily invited any players to her house before tryouts in the summer to practice their skills- many girls that were nervous would go with Emily for advice on improvement and Emily spent the time to help them. After each game the team debriefs as to how they can improve, where Emily always steps in and speaks to the girls to remember how much they love the sport and to give it all they got during every game. Emily leads by example and always is honest and plays by the rules.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Wanna Chat? (In 13 Languages?)

  I've always been intrigued by different cultures. It's a goal of mine to travel the world one day and interact with amazing people in foreign countries. I love different languages, perhaps triggered by my family speaking so many languages-my paternal grandfather alone is fluent in nine languages! How is that even possible?
   Yes, English has basically become an international language, but I believe it's important when traveling to any country to at least know some basic terms in their respectful language. In case your family is traveling abroad in the future or you're and etymology nerd like myself, here's a few key terms in various languages.

Hello/Hi/Hey in Spanish....
Hola (oh-la) / Eh/ Oye (oh-ye) 
  Noted as the second unofficial language of the United States, there's a reason learning Spanish is so beneficial. In America, Spanish "pockets" are heavily populated in New Mexico, Texas, Miami, San Antonio and New York. A Spanish speaker can travel to fourteen countries without having to learn fourteen different languages - score!

How are you? in Russian...
как дела? (kak de-lah) 
  Props to those taking Russian! Not only are they learning a new language, but they have to fully comprehend the Cyrillic alphabet. The Cyrillic alphabet was developed in the 9th century by missionaries (in the Old Church Slavonic) to translate the Bible and other religious works. Other Slavic languages still using the Cyrillic alphabet include: Macedonian, Bulgarian, Mongolian, Ukranian, Serbian and Tajik.

Good/Bad in Polish...
Dobrze (doe-b-dje)/Źle (dj-leh)
    Polish is a Western Slavic language that is easier to know if you already know one of its related language. The countries name comes rom the tribe "Polanie", which means "people living in open fields".
Where is the bathroom? in Albanian...
Ku është banjoja? (koo esht ban-yo-ya)
    Part of the Balkan peninsula, Albania has a population of just 2.74 million, but 7-10 million Albanians are around the world. As a result of speedboat use for human and drug trafficking from Albania to Italian and Greek shores, speedboats are now banned.
(Burek, essentially flaky dough known as "yufka" has many variations - can be stuffed with meat, cheese, spinach etc. It is essentially the pizza of Ottoman cuisine)

Excuse Me in Portugese...
Com licença (co lee-sen-sah)
    The Portuguese are very tuned in on appearance and style, especially when just walking around in the cities. They believe style indicates social standing and success - dress to impress!

Sorry in Latin...
Me paenitet (me pie-nie-te)
     Although a dead language, there are people still actively studying the ancient Rome language. It is only actively used in scholarship and administration.

Thank you in Hebrew...
Toda! (toe-dah)
  Along with Arabic, Hebrew is the official language of Israel. Modern Hebrew became the official language in Israel in 1948, and in 1921 it became an official language in Palestine.

You're Welcome in Turkish...
Rica ederim (ree-ja ed-air-eem)
    With major city Istanbul (not Constantinople!) gaining more attention, Turkey is becoming one of the most acclaimed must see wonders of the world. Turkish culture is modernized while still including typical traditions through dance, cuisine, architecture and family life.
(Ayran is a cold yogurt beverage mixed with salt, typically eaten with burek. It is the unofficial drink of Turkey, but it is very different than milk- know the difference!)

Do you speak English? in Slovak...
Hovoríš po Anglicky? (hoe-vor-ish po an-glit-ski?) 
    While it may not come to mind when planning a trip, Slovakia is a delightful country with much to do . The 18,933 square mile country has over six thousand caves, the tallest castles, stunning mineral springs, and the highest wooden altar.

Yes/No in Japanese...
はい。(Hai, "hi") / いいえ(lie, "e-eh")
     Japan is not the tourist destination to relax! With 6,852 islands, Mount Fuji, and cities such as Tokyo, Osaka, and Sapporo that are sure to delight, you'll always be busy in Japan! はい。, pass me more sushi!

Could you please take our picture? in French...
Est-ce que vous pourriez prendre notre photo? (es-kuh voo pour-e-ay prendre note-ra photo)
    With all the amazing sights in France, this is a must know term!! A picture of you and the Eiffel Tower, Versailles, The Louvre, and shopping in Champs-Élysées is guaranteed to rack up all the Instagram likes, I promise. 

Is there WiFi? in Romanian...
Există Wi-Fi? 
   Ever heard of Transylvania? The Romanian region is known for its medieval towns and castles, specifically Bran Castle, known for the legend of Dracula. 

I love you : in Italian...
Ti amo 
  Italian is a romance language! You may use this term to those you are traveling with or perhaps toward an Italian - hey, you never know what can happen when in Rome...

Monday, October 17, 2016


Congratulations to the 2016 Sparta High School Homecoming Court
Class of 2017
Kada Cernek
Brooke Rossiter
Kelly Carolan
Julianna McGuire

Rex Anderson
Lenny Fontes
Sean McHugh
Matt Maute
Class of 2018
Makayla Angelucci
Jamie Rennie

Daniel Baker
Ben Davis
Class of 2019
Brianna Falco
Brooke Infurna

Tucker Hastings
Pat Miliken
Class of 2020
Corinne Groome
Megan McIntyre

Nick Butera
Tyler Szabo

Friday, October 7, 2016

Students of Sparta: Liam Armstrong

     Liam Armstrong, in a nutshell, is the George Clooney of the senior class. Not only are they both easy-going, well rounded and loved by many, they have the most charitable hearts. I have known Liam for a few years now, and from the second I met him not only did he strike me as an evidently popular peer but I was pleasantly stunned at the type of person he was, and of course, still is. Described by Vice Principal Mr.Fitzgerald, Liam is "a dedicated student, committed athlete and considerate citizen." Liam will lend a hand to any organization or any person, for big causes or simply just to have an uplifting chat. As he will be opening the next chapter in college, its only a matter of time until we see even bigger things from Liam.

      "A factor driving our society is consumerism related to economics. In order to keep ones business running, they need to hire people, they need to properly function... and its all related, in this endless cycle. It's based upon the core fact in our society that people get a job in order to make money. There are those who can't prosper due to situations they were born in, definitely, that's a symptom.
       For me, I understand and accept the situation I was born into. I'm lucky where I am - to be born in Sparta, one parent able to not work - I understand and accept it. Of course, theres a certain responsibility. It's the idea of the social contract. It's not about me taking advantage of my situation by driving a fancy car or going to lavish places. I know in some districts in the inner city there are some schools where they actually have a system in which they send kids off to the Ivy Leagues, all run by an organization by a man whose name I cannot remember, but he is very wealthy and well off. One of the things significant figures in this world such as 'that man' and Andrew Carnegie in the 19th century definitely believed in was the gospel of wealth. It is the duty of those at the top, the most elite, to provide opportunity (and handouts) to those who are struggling at the bottom. People like this make this world a better place, aiding for those struggling in this society that is not easy for some as it is for others.
       There's also a heavier responsibility to those who don't have what I may be able to have access to. Those who, like women born in Afghanistan under the Taliban, born and unable to attend school. These poor kids in the inner city who are born and sometimes, the truth is they are stuck in that cycle of poverty that we never see. It can turn into sex and...violence and drugs. There isn't the best system in place to care for them and the unfortunate truth? There is nothing there for them sometimes except that vicious cycle that they are reliant upon. I feel an obligation, if anything, to give back to the best of my ability in any way possible. And there's no specific reason to it for me. I stay very committed to my beliefs, and religiously, code of conduct which has shaped who I am. My parents have been a support system, but they have never forced me into anything - the choices I make have been all my decision. I try as much as I can currently to just do good, you know? I try to do it through all I'm involved in. I try to do it through Wounded Warrior Project. I try to do it by making several contributions to a wide array of different organizations through our DECA chapter projects... and through Columbian Squires, a youth group that helps youth receive their diplomas through economically difficult times.
          There's always gonna be some crappy people out there. But those are the people who won't be remembered, those who won't matter, or the people that will go down as selfish and ungodly. It is those that built into the needy, those who handed over their fortunes several times in the name of philanthropy that are the ones who define and demonstrate what is needed to be a good person. In this 'envy situation' many in this town find themselves in, there's always the people to give back. I'm a co-leader for Antioch retreat this year. It is in that place and places similar that I find that's where my morals are."

Coffee Shop Opens to Raving Reviews

Last Friday, the choir room was transformed into a rather large coffee shop, where students could come and eat with their friends and perform songs. After arriving, I saw that it already seemed like a large success, with every seat being filled and with various entertainers playing as they pleased. It wasn’t long before I was able to find the choir teacher, Mrs. Lopez, in the back watching the performers, and I was able to get a few moments with her.

“Everybody’s in here playing and singing all the time anyway, so it’s really nice to get together and enjoy it.”

When asked about the School Store’s involvement in the project, selling the coffee to students at $1.50, she explained, “That was Mr. Stoner’s idea. He knew that the School Store would love to be involved. I’m happy to take care of the music and they’ll take care of the coffee!”

Performer Raphael Krause thinks of it as "a cool idea," and "a great place to hang out."

The coffee shop has begun with good reviews. Griffin Mendel, a visitor, had heard of the coffee shop through the high school choir’s instagram page, and thinks that it is like “Something you see in a movie.”

Holly Louis just happened to walk in and decided to join her friends. She thinks that the coffee shop idea is interesting and the performances ensured a good time.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016


Image result for sparta s

October 17-21 will be Spirit Week
Monday: ‘Merica Monday
Tuesday: Tropical
Wednesday: PJs for PSAT
Thursday: Gym Warrior
Friday: Sparta Spirit

October 21 Rally of the classes: Spartan Cup will be from 6:30-8:30 pm
$5 admission

October 22 is the Homecoming Dance from 7-10 pm

$12 admission


The Biology classes at Sparta High School are getting hands-on, authentic learning experiences. The 150 gallon fish tank in the library replaced the textbook for students during their units on the bio-geo-chemical cycles and food webs. What a great experience for the students to be able to see the information they have learned happening live and right in front of them. 

The classes discussed topics such as: why are coral reefs important? how do reefs get their food? and what function do reefs serve within their ecosystem?

Mr. Brown, Ms. Pollison, Mr. DiNunzio and Mr. Scognamiglio have brought their classes down to teach some very interesting lessons.

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Ms. Pollison's Class- 10/5/16