Monday, February 27, 2017

Addams Family Musical Set to Take the Stage

It's been months of practice, but now it's ready to take to the stage!

On March 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, the actors of S.H.S. will come together to perform “The Addams Family Musical.” They have been practicing and preparing for months and are more than ready to show what they got in this hilarious musical. Having been part of this experience, I have to say that it's been a blast working with many students who have very gifted talents, who I feel will probably grow up to become award winning actors.

The musical itself is full of humor and music, and all around fun for the whole family.Tickets are on sale at the door for $12 each, and also online at Be sure to get your tickets soon, as it is very likely that they will be sold out in little time!

Things You Didn't Know About Sparta!

Written by: Lauren Groff

  1. Lake Mohawk was originally designed as a resort community
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Believe it or not, Sparta was primarily a vacation spot where most residents only lived in the summer. The homes were later winterized in the 1940s. As in the picture depicted above, much of the land surrounding the country club was undeveloped, and cars would park on the grass where the Lake Mohawk Tennis Club is today and walk across to the lake.

2.  The Wisconsin Glacier was responsible for creating all natural rivers and streams
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Remember, not all bodies of water in Sparta were formed from this glacier, only the *naturally occurring* ones.

3. Krough's was originally known as The Sagamore Restaurant
Mind-blowing, isn't it? Our favorite restaurant without its iconic name! Shortly after it was opened, The Sagamore Restaurant was known as the Sagamore Inn

4. White Deer Plaza was named after Princess White Deer and her tribe.
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An actual photo of Princess White Deer (circa 1891-1992) in the Lake Mohawk Country Club. Princess White Deer was a Native American dancer and singer of the Mohawk tribe who toured Europe, the United States and South Africa as apart of The Family Deer Brothers, a family stage act.

5. Delivery trucks used to drive across the lake to transport goods

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In the 1950s, few residents lived on the lake year-round. When the lake froze over and the hills became too treacherous for delivery trucks to maneuver, they drove across the frozen lake to make quick deliveries to the residents.

6. The first official building in Sparta was the Presbyterian Church

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It was incorporated into the town in 1786 by Robert Ogden, who is buried there along with with his wife.

7. Mohawk Avenue School still has a bomb shelter
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Interestingly enough, the Mohawk Avenue School still has a bomb shelter from the Cold War. However, students are not permitted access, and many are not aware of it to begin with.

8. There is a sunken plane in the bottom of Lake Mohawk
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This may be the most chilling of all facts… In the 1930s, a Lake Mohawk architect and his family were living on a seaplane on the lake. The lake sunk after a fire, and the family was able to escape by boat and out of the burning plane. In the 1990s, an Italian team was called to uncover the plane, but reported that the wreck was too deteriorated to be properly recovered.

9.  “Winona Parkway” is not just a street name

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Today, we think of the entrance to the lake when we hear “Winona Parkway” mentioned in conversation. However, Winona Parkway was originally the name of the movie theatre that resided there in the 1950s. Today, the Sparta Movie Theatre is above the parkway on top of the hill, underground below Panera Bread.

10.  SHS was originally a cow pasture!
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Quoted directly from the SHS website under “History of SHS”, “there were cows on the athletic fields. In fact it was the job of two history teachers, Dick Cassels and Herb Orel, to chase them off the field every third period.” Could you imagine?

Hopefully you learned something new about our town!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Spread A Message With Ted-Ed

          Sparta High School is brewing up something big with a new and exciting extracurricular. The Ted-Ed Club is an emerging club that held their first interest meeting on Friday and will officially begin on Thursday, March 2 during lunch in room 419. The program will run for thirteen weeks where students will explore issues important to them. The advisors are English teacher Mrs. Mauriello and Mr. Johnson, a student teacher for Mrs.Kopp. With official board certification, the Ted-Ed Club is more than a bright idea; it's the real deal. The Ted-Ed Club allows students to create their very own TED Talk on anything that is important to them either off or on the camera. The advisors stressed the club is student-led and their role is to give you the step-by-step guide you need, very much for students, by students. It's a wonderful way for high school students to explore themselves a little bit deeper by figuring out what they really think about the issues and which of those issues really touch you the most.
       The club originally began at Sparta Middle School with English teacher Ms.Sofen, with Sparta High's club being a subset. When asked about its progress thus far, Ms.Sofen shared that the students are passionate about their topics and hopes when they transition to high school, they are still involved in Ted-Ed and anticipates growing the club so big that Sparta's students make an impact in a broader spectrum. Through our e-mail conversation, Ms.Sofen told me the great thing about joining this club is, "Whether its potential employers, college admissions directors, or other community-related resume-builders, having a TED Talk out in the world would be an impressive accomplishment for high school students looking to differentiate themselves from the crowd."
       For any student that wants to make an impact and finally wants to let out their inner thoughts, the Ted-Ed Club is for you. Don't have cold feet - positions are available not only for creating and speaking in your very own TED Talk, other positions include: a photographer, writer, Social Media Expert, and Video Production Coordinator. Come next Thursday and be a part of what Ms.Mauriello called a "respective, collaborative space to produce brilliant work."
      Upset you couldn't make the meeting? See Mrs.Mauriello for a permission slip and join the Google Classroom and Remind (see below for information). The excitement amongst the advisors is inspiring and the environment is beyond welcoming. If anyone can make a difference talking about things they enjoy, it's Spartans! Personally, I believe the Ted Ed Club is absolutely going to explode to make change right before our eyes. As an activist myself, I am eager to watch it explode.

Google Classroom: uepkm38
Remind 101: @shs2017ted

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Hidden Figures Review

Written by: Sean Hannon 

Hidden Figures tells the true story of three female African-American scientists working with NASA to get a man into space and back safely which is enjoyable to watch as you can feel tension between characters. This story is parallel to the story of the  scientists overcoming sexism and racism in their environments. Luckily the film barely focuses on the previous sub theme making the movie feel less preachy than expected. The three scientists all face similar adversity trying to climb the ladder at NASA and it is both interesting and tense for the viewer to watch it resolve.

The film opens with the three African-American women on the side of the road next to their broken down car. Katherine Goebel, arguably the smartest women of the group is staring into space in the car which shows her awkwardness, making her a target of empathy later in the film. Dorothy Vaughan is under the car working on the engine which shows her resourcefulness and learning attitude which becomes an object of contention later in the film. Finally, Mary Jackson is applying makeup and making sarcastic remarks which shows her rebellious and flirtatious attitude, also important later in the film. After some banter between the characters a policeman shows up. Being that the film is set in 1961 when segregation was in full swing the women prepare for the worst, but after showing the policeman their NASA ID’s he gives them a ride. This is one of the first in the motif of a black woman doing something impressive that surprises others. From there the three scientists live their life - trying to climb the NASA ladder, going to court, and finding love, all while simultaneously working on Freedom 7.

This movie has a surprising amount of plots and subplots and they're all handled pretty well, with one not completely taking over the other. As previously mentioned, the message does not feel preachy which is great to anyone interested in the main plot instead of the various subplots. No characters seem odd or out of place and nothing is unbelievable. The music chosen is all appropriate to the time period and catchy. Overall in this film there are no overarching problems that would ruin anyone's experience.
One negative is due to how many plots and subplots the film took on. In the end they tried to recognize the women effect on the project. They are successful with two of the women, but one of them is not included. They make a lackluster connect to connect them but it comes off bad to the viewer. There is also little to no change in most characters attitudes towards the end (It seems that the other scientists would have a more obvious change of heart towards women and African Americans in this movie) which I personally don't find that a problem, but some may.

From the plot to the characters this movie is very well done. I could not recommend it more. Being that this is still a drama you may like this movie due to the science and work put in by the scientists.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017


Written by: Kanita Tariq 

“You’ll need to work with a group for this,” your teacher says. Half the class cheers, half the class groans. No matter how you feel about group projects, they can be quite cumbersome. Here are some of the most important steps to follow in order to work successfully with a group.

  1. CHOOSE YOUR PARTNERS WISELY. You may desperately want to work with your best friend, but if you know they’re not the most cooperative, you may want to reconsider. Work with a group you know you’ll be able to do well with.
  2. BE PREPARED TO COMPROMISE. In a group full of a bunch of different perspectives, there are bound to be some clashes of thought. Sometimes, it’s better to agree on an idea that works for everyone.
  3. Compromise is important, but if you feel you don’t have a say in your group, DON’T BE AFRAID TO VOICE YOUR CONCERN. It’s important to work together, but your opinion is valued just as much as everyone else’s! If that means you have to step up and take the reigns, so be it.
  4. PUT A LITTLE BIT OF EFFORT IN EVERYDAY. Many people are guilty of leaving things to the last minute, but it’s always better to plan your time. Not everyone can be available at once, so it’s important to be in a good place before the deadline.
  5. BE CONSIDERATE. When a group member’s in a tough spot, volunteer to help them out. It’s helping you too, and it feels good doing a good deed.
  6. MAKE SURE EVERYONE IS DOING THEIR FAIR SHARE. The purpose of group projects are to incorporate each individual’s input into one assignment. Don’t let anyone feel left out. Their opinion is valuable too.
  7. AVOID DRAMA AS MUCH AS YOU CAN. Arguments are no fun. Try to solve a conflict as soon as you can, so it doesn’t hold back your progress.
  8. COMMUNICATE. Make sure everyone’s on the same page, or things can go horribly wrong. Don't risk a good grade over what can be avoided - just clarify who would follow the characterization of Siobhan as the novel progresses. Make a group chat. Do what you must.
  9. BE CRITICAL. You want to do the best you can, and it’s important to understand your weaknesses so you can fix them.
  10. HAVE FUN! Working in a group can be one of the most rewarding experiences, as long as you have an open-mind.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Sparta DECA hosts Finance Your Future

      On January 12, 2017 three members of Sparta's DECA chapter hosted Finance Your Future, an interactive class to help students better understand the process of financial aid. Finance Your Future was a financial literacy promotion chapter project that was designed, initiated and executed by Christian Xenakis, Hannah Fagersten and Elise Kerim.

     The purpose of Finance Your Future was to solve the issue concerning the lack of knowledge on financial aid and scholarship opportunities. The three student leaders conducted primary research to verify the need for a financial aid information class, in which the results showed on a scale of 1-5 (1 being none, 5 being maximum) seniors rated their level of financial aid knowledge as a two and did not know what a 529 Plan was, nor did they know about the CSS Profile. The student leaders spent three months planning the class and working hard to educate themselves on financial aid, even meeting with Sparta High School's guidance department. 

     At the night of the event, as students entered the MRC, they joined the Finance Your Future Google Classroom and filled out a pre-survey. Once everyone had arrived, the student leaders presented a brief PowerPoint regarding the basics on all the tools to help pay for college. The class then broke into three equal groups and rotated throughout each station: one helped students get acquainted with the FAFSA, a second for scholarship opportunities, and the third station educated students on the CSS Profile. Although the class was run by the student leaders, two adult advisors assisted at Finance Your Future, Mrs. Sandy Chiappini and Mr. Christopher Sima. Chiappini is Sparta High School's DECA advisor; after working in the business world, she has taught law, finance and marketing. Sima is an AP history and economics teacher. Both adult advisors helped the class run in a smooth manner. 

          The FAFSA group went through a blown up version of the FAFSA application, emphasizing important terms and teaching helpful "life hack" type tips to the students while addressing common questions students typically have when filling out the FAFSA. The CSS Profile is another service to provide college students with financial aid that is provided by College Board, the organization that administers the SAT and AP exams. The CSS Profile group went through a similar blown up application and provided students with a pre-application worksheet, which helps guide the student in filling out the CSS Profile form in a more efficient manner. The scholarship group provided Sparta students scholarship search websites, one that builds a complete profile for the student based on their academic standing, interested major and personal interests. This group also explained the benefits of being enrolled in AP classes. Each student leader answered all questions the participants had with confidence and accuracy.

     After there was a full rotation of the groups, student participants filled out the post-survey. The post-survey proved an overwhelming amount of students learned useful information in a fun manner that they would otherwise not know and the student leaders did an exceptional job. The students learned more than they had anticipated to learn from their peers. The night ended with pizza, drinks and desserts for the student participants. The leaders encourage students to utilize the Finance Your Future Google Classroom at the time they fill out their financial aid. The Google Classroom has useful tools such as additional scholarship searches, a FAFSA estimation guide and the CSS Profile pre-application.

     Due to its success, Sparta DECA is extremely proud of the event and plans to host Finance Your Future next year as well. This year, Finance Your Future only allotted a maximum of ten students; as a result of its success, next year more students will be urged to sign-up. Finance Your Future was only intended to be used as Hannah, Elise and Christian's DECA project, but after analyzing the results from the post-survey and discussing with students, it was decided that the event would be hosted in years to come to benefit the student body in their future endeavors. The student leaders will present the event and their findings at the DECA state competition in Atlantic City, NJ on February 22. 

Why I'm Writing a Text Everyday for 365 Days

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    When I was in elementary school, the teachers would make their students play a game where the students had a bag or box of some sort filled with objects. The aim of the game was to find which object in the bag was the odd one out of the bunch, and if they guessed correctly, they won the game. It was years after I first learned of this game, in my sophomore and junior years of high school, that I began to feel that the object being considered the odd one out was myself.

    All around me, I see students who want to be businessmen, doctors, and scientists, actors, really successful occupations, and all I want to be is a broadcast journalist. Everybody around me has friends who they can hang out with after school or over social media, while I'm left in the dust without anything as much as a Snapchat. I’ll admit it, I don't consider myself a very sociable person, and this is the biggest thing I want to change about myself in the future. I continuously ask myself, am I going to be successful in my future? Where do I see my education taking me? Why were my hobbies and likings different than everybody else's?

    These questions led to further alienation instead of any answers, and I decided that if I was to be the odd one out of the box, I would use this trait to my best advantage. Starting in early January, I wrote a story, a small one that focused on the idea of something being where it should not naturally be. I decided that for the next year, or 365 days, I will do my best to write a joke, a poem, a story, anything, purposely focusing on scenarios where something doesn't belong, like a burger joint on the surface of Mars, or sailboat at the top of a skyscraper. These silly strings of words allow me to reveal the power that could come from the idea of being different from others, and how much writing can come from being the unfitting piece of the puzzle. It makes me feel good about who I am, and by doing a project like this, I have become more accepting of myself and my traits and talents.

    I decided to call this project of mine, “The Tiernan Doyle Family Circus,” a name as out of place as the stories in which it beholds. At the time of this article, a total of 25 compositions have been written, less than a fourth of my goal of 365, but a start nonetheless. I have found it fun to write on the motif of being an outcast, with a plethora of objects that could be considered unnatural in an endless supply of environments and scenarios. It has helped me cope immensely on the idea of being different from others, and how this trait can create so much in its wake. It has even helped me become more sociable, with the idea of writing every day a great spark for conversation with anybody.

    It's a relieving feeling being able to use a once thought shortcoming as a way of further myself. By doing something small everyday for a year has already helped me reflect who I truly was, and what I see my role is within society. It has already brought me closer to discovering my artistic potential, and even closer to discovering the inner workings of myself.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Oh, What A (Broadway) Night!

Written by: Lauren Groff

On Tuesday, January 31st, Sparta High School presented “Broadway Night”. The acts of the night included one song from each of the daytime choirs (Treble, Honors, and Concert) as well as student-run small ensemble pieces,  solos, and duets. Tickets sold at eight dollars each to benefit the Mark Inga scholarship. Mark Inga, a former Sparta High School Student and dedicated member of the Sparta choirs, died tragically in a motorcycle accident. A song he had written was performed by Arianna Rodriguez with Raphael Krauss on guitar, and orchestra teacher Loni Bach on the cello. “I loved seeing all the students have fun together and step out of their comfort zone and I was very proud of everybody," commented choir director, Laura Lopez. As the third marking period commences, the high school choirs will be focusing their efforts on preparing for their annual Spring Concert, following the theme of water. “Many songs have water as the center of the theme and it goes in many different directions- there will be many different styles of music water as the subject . We need water to live , so it seems that it’s been written about a lot” adds Lopez. All in all, Broadway Night was a beautiful showcase of coming together and using teamwork to make a difference.” With a such a dedicated group of sinners lead by Lopez, the Sparta Choir program was successful as always. Until next week!


“Omigod You Guys” Legally Blonde Ensemble
(Lomaani Ranasinghe, Kaitlyn Verney, Julia Miller, Nina Strowe, Lauren Groff, Erin Vreeland, Claire Riley, Natalie Strouse, Blaze Dalio, Kayla Kappemeir, Stephanie Downes )
             “She’s in Love!” The Little Mermaid
Women’s Treble Choir

Friday, February 3, 2017


Written by: Brandon Drapeau 

After waiting 20 weeks, football has finally narrowed down the NFL championship to two remaining teams - the New England Patriots, and the Atlanta Falcons. The teams will battle it out on the field for a Super Bowl Ring. Along with the Titans, Eagles, Chargers, Vikings, Jaguars, Texans, Lions, Browns, Bengals, Panthers, Bills, and Cardinals, the Falcons have never won a Super Bowl. Meanwhile, the Patriots have four Super Bowl Victories, all in the last fifteen years, under the incredible performances of Tom Brady. The Falcons have won six games in a row, recently defeating the Packers in a slaughter. This was a shock to everyone, because the week before in the Divisional Championship the Packers defeated the seemingly unstoppable Cowboys. The Patriots have had a less bumpy ride, winning nine straight in effortless victories, the last two winning by at least two touchdowns. The Patriots all season have dominated teams, so it will be very interesting watching this Super Bowl play out. Both teams are very strong offensively and defensively, so it's going to come down the strategy and the way both intelligent coaches implement their game plans.
How will you be spending Super Bowl Sunday? With your family and friends? At Buffalo Wild Wings, munching on some wings? Either way, make sure you get a good view of the TV, because Super Bowl 51 is going to be a good one.